Harper's New Job: The Tax Haven Connection

The mega-law Canadian law firm that provided advice to KPMG clients about using tax schemes to hide assets during divorces has hired former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Dentons says Harper,who has no law training, will provide clients with advice on maximizing value in global markets.

“Under Harper, money flowing to tax havens jumped to $270Billion – it’s no secret he was a fan,” says Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness. “Now he will be paid big bucks, likely helping wealthy clients navigate the tax-dodging tax treaties that were signed under his watch.”

A self-described “elite” law firm, Dentons provided KPMG with a 17 page legal opinion that said clients could possibly “avoid provisions in the Canada Divorce Act and similar provincial legislation” if they bought in to the Isle of Man tax scheme which is now under investigation by the CRA. The Parliamentary Finance Committee heard that KPMG used the legal opinion letter in their sales pitch to clients.

“Tax haven use robs billions from Canada and the rest of us have to make up the difference,” says Howlett. “When former prime ministers benefit from the system, it is no wonder that repairing the damage is taking so long."

The law firm has on its roster former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien, former ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer, and James Moore, Harper's former industry minister.