Yesterday (November 25, 2013), I had the privilege of
travelling to Ottawa to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance
to discuss certain aspects of Bill C-4, the second implementation act for
measures proposed in the 2013 federal budget, as well as other
measures. Bill C-4 is at the second reading stage. The
Committee's work on Bill C-4 began earlier in the month with testimony from government officials.
My task, from a practitioner's point of view, was
to address those provisions that close loopholes in
the Income Tax Act.
I read my opening statement (each witness is limited to
a five-minute opening) and answered a few
questions. I fielded questions from two
members of the Committee (Mark Adler of the Conservatives and Murray Rankin of the NDP who happens to be a fellow
graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and
an accomplished litigator). Both Mr. Adler and Mr. Rankin,
along with the other members of the Committee, went out of
their way to make me feel welcome. Much of the time was
taken up by a spirited discussion of the proposal to phase
out tax credits for investors in Labour Sponsored Venture
Capital Corporations (which appear to
be predominantly located in the province of Quebec).
Around the dinner hour, the Minister of Finance, Hon.
Jim Flaherty, appeared before
the Committee to describe some of the more important
provisions of Bill C-4 and to answer questions
from members of the Committee. Hon. Scott Brison participated in a lively exchange
with the Minister.
It was certainly a long day for members of the Committee and
their staff. They prepared for the meeting in the
morning and participated in the proceedings from 3:30
p.m. until after 8:30 p.m. - and this was only one
of a number of intensive sessions devoted
to the close study and consideration of Bill C-4. I
look forward to tracking the progress of Bill C-4 through the House
of Commons Standing Committee on Finance as well as the Senate Committee on National Finance. If
everything proceeds according to plan, Bill C-4 may very
well become law before the end of the year.
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