Conservative National Revenue Minister and acting minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea finds herself in the perfect position to provide fairness and equality to a group of more than 1,400 former ground-fishermen scattered throughout the Atlantic region.
These former fishers were a part of the Atlantic Groundfish Licence Retirement Program. This was a licence buyback program in which the fishers were given the wrong tax advice and paid far more than they should have. In all, 752 of them battled the Conservative government in the courts from 2006 to 2011 and won their case. After waiting until the very last minute, the Conservative government started issuing payments to this group.
However, that leaves another 1,400 people who were part of the same program and deserve fair and equal treatment. This group should not have to spend years in court battling the Conservatives to get what they rightfully deserve.
Some are struggling just to make ends meet and are owed tens of thousands of dollars. Many are battling health problems and some have even passed away. They and their families deserve justice.
The minister holds both the national revenue and the fisheries files. She has the power to make things right. She can very easily issue a remission order, which, according to Subsection 23(2) of Canada’s Financial Administration Act, authorizes the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the appropriate minister, to “remit any tax or penalty, including any interest paid or payable thereon, where the Governor in Council considers that the collection of the tax or the enforcement of the penalty is unreasonable or unjust or that it is otherwise in the public interest to remit the tax or penalty.”
The minister must do what’s right and immediately make this order. She knows it’s the right thing to do. Thousands of families are waiting for her answer.
fisheries and oceans critic
Liberal Party of Canada