Irv­ing’s slap on the wrist

The Daily Courier - - LETTERS -

Dear Ed­i­tor: Back in 2013, towns peo­ple in the com­mu­nity of Lac Ma­gan­tic, Que­bec, were peace­fully un­aware of a train con­tain­ing crude oil, owned by the Irv­ing Oil com­pany, rolling un­guarded into their town cen­tre.

The re­sult­ing ex­plo­sion killed 47 peo­ple.

Irv­ing Oil, a fam­ily busi­ness, has been fined nearly $4 mil­lion as a re­sult, with none of the money (as far as I un­der­stand) go­ing to the fam­i­lies of the de­ceased.

As late as 2015 the Irv­ings were worth an es­ti­mated $7.65 bil­lion, with a net in­crease of 2 per cent from the year be­fore ($153 mil­lion). The fine they re­ceived for neg­li­gently killing 47 peo­ple amounts to about 0.05 per cent (that’s 5/100ths of one per­cent) of their net worth, or, ac­cord­ing to my cal­cu­la­tions, about 2.6 per cent of the money they made in one year.

This same fam­ily is on a list of cor­po­ra­tions and com­pa­nies that have hid­den a goodly por­tion of their in­come in var­i­ous Caribbean is­lands to avoid taxes in Canada.

So far, the present Lib­eral gov­ern­ment in Ot­tawa has made lit­tle ef­fort to close the loop­holes of tax eva­sion by cor­po­ra­tions, but in­stead, is try­ing to in­crease taxes on “mid­dle class” Cana­di­ans. Frank Martens


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