June 6, 2016 1:13 pm
Updated: June 6, 2016 1:22 pm

Panama Papers: Canadians say there are two sets of rules – one for the rich, one for everyone else

A police car stands outside the Mossack Fonseca law firm while Organized crime prosecutors raid the offices, in Panama City, Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

(AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
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A new poll conducted in the wake of the international Panama Papers scandal found that an overwhelming majority of Canadians agree that if any Canadian politician were linked to tax evasion they should resign from their position immediately.

The poll of 25 countries around the world, conducted by Ipsos Global, found 87 per cent of Canadians agree that is a politician were proven to have done what is alleged in the Panama Papers they should resign.

READ MORE: Panama Papers: Why should Canadians care?


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In Canada, 88 per cent of Canadians agree (58 per cent strongly/30 per cent somewhat) that the Panama Papers reveal there are two sets of rules in the world – one for rich people, and one for everybody else.

The Panama Papers, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, include roughly 11.5 million documents that detail financial information for more than 200,000 offshore entities linked to the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

While it’s not illegal for a Canadian to set up an offshore account or business, they do have to comply with Canada’s tax laws and declare taxable income transferred outside of Canada.

Included in the release are some 625 Canadians whose names were listed in the leaked documents. A non-profit organization called Canadians For Tax Fairness suggests federal and provincial governments lose almost $8 billion in tax revenues a year because of money stored in offshore accounts.

READ MORE: Panama Papers database, including thousands of Canadian connections, now online

Following the leaks, Iceland’s prime minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson was forced to step down while U.K. PM David Cameron admitted to having profited from his father’s offshore company.

The Ipsos Global survey looked at the attitudes of the public in more than two dozen countries following the international scandal.

This was slightly higher than the global average of 80 per cent who believed the papers show a double standard when it comes to paying taxes.

Canadians took a harder stance than the global average which found 82 per cent of respondents agreed a politician should resign if they were implicated in the offshore banking leak.

READ MORE: Canada stepping up fight against tax evasion in wake of Panama Papers

The survey also showed that 22 per cent of Canadians agree (6% strongly/13% somewhat) that it’s “completely reasonable to avoid taxes however you can, including putting money in shell companies and offshore accounts.”

However, when it came to general awareness of the Panama Papers scandal just 26 per cent of Canadians said they “know a great deal” or “knew a little” about the offshore dealings.

Countries with the greatest level of awareness are Malta (78 per cent), India (59 per cent), Spain (57 per cent) and Peru (51 per cent).

The survey was conducted via Ipsos Online Panel of 25 countries around the world that included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. In the U.S. and Canada 18,058 adults aged 18-64 were surveyed. In all other countries  approximately 1,000 individuals were interviewed individuals participated on a country by basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with exception of Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, India, Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, India, Malta, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea,  Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+.

 

© 2016 Shaw Media

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