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Flaherty Names Canada's Tax Competitiveness Panel

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

05 December 2007

Canadian Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty last week confirmed earlier speculation that a panel established to advise the government on tax competitiveness issues will be headed by the former Bank of Nova Scotia CEO, Peter Godsoe.

Godsoe was Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Nova Scotia from 1993 to 2003, and its Chairman from 1995 to 2004. He currently acts as director on the boards of many large Canadian corporations, including Barrick Gold Corporation, Onex Corporation and Rogers Communications Inc.

The panel, one of Flaherty's 2007 'Advantage Canada' initiatives announced in the last budget, has three main objectives: improving the fairness, economic efficiency and competitiveness of Canada’s system of international taxation; minimizing compliance costs for business and facilitating administration and enforcement by the Canada Revenue Agency; and developing "practical and readily-applicable changes," taking into account existing rules and tax treaties as well as fiscal implications.

“Government has an important role to play in creating the right conditions for Canadians and Canadian businesses to invest and thrive,” stated Flaherty. “To help us achieve our goal, we are creating a Canadian Tax Advantage by providing relief in every way the government collects taxes: personal taxes, consumption taxes, excise taxes and an historic reduction in business taxes. But lowering taxes is not enough. The tax system must also be fair, ensuring that tax considerations do not unduly influence business and investment decisions.”

Kevin Dancey will act as the Vice-Chair of the panel. Dancey is President and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, and former CEO and Canadian Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Dancey served as Assistant Deputy Minister, Tax Policy Branch of the Department of Finance, from 1993 to 1995.

The Panel will commence its work early this month.

“I thank the panel members for their time, commitment and valued input,” Minister Flaherty stated last week. “Their task will be challenging, but I believe it will lead to a tax system that is internationally competitive, encourages further investment and strengthens the economy.”

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