Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced a nearly $30-billion deficit in order to pay for badly needed social programs and infrastructure -- and yet here we have Cameco refusing to pay $2.1 billion in back taxes.
Both the Canadian Revenue Agency and the American IRS have gone after Cameco for transferring billions in profits to offshore tax shelters in order to dodge tax on profits made in Canada. But Cameco is refusing to pay.
But there's far more at stake than just the back taxes: if Cameco gets away with this, countless other corporations will try the same thing. We were all disgusted when the CRA offered amnesty to super-rich clients of accounting firm KPMG after they benefitted from a tax avoidance sham. The last thing we want is another closed-door deal that lets those with power and influence off the hook.
Cameco made its profit using Canadian roads and infrastructure, Canadian labour and a stable Canadian business climate in my home province. In fact, Cameco's wealth comes from Northern Saskatchewan, one of the most marginalized areas in Canada that desperately needs better services and community investment.
$2.1 billion is a lot of money. To put it in perspective, providing clean drinking water to every Canadian community -- including the remote First Nations communities right next door to Cameco’s mines -- would cost $470 million. $2.1 billion is enough to start a national pharmacare plan and could give every university student in Canada a break on their tuition.
But Cameco doesn't want to pay its fair share of taxes to the country or people that helped it flourish. Thankfully, these damning business practices are now the subject of global attention. With outrage mounting worldwide on the abuse of tax havens, we have a real opportunity to hold Cameco accountable.
Campaign created by SumOfUs member Don Kossick