CP tax dodge prompts move to amend Constitution

by The Canadian Press (CPSTF)

The federal Conservative caucus in Saskatchewan is urging Ottawa to amend the Constitution as it relates to the Saskatchewan Act.

Last week, Regina-Lewvan MP Warren Steinley introduced a motion in the House of Commons to repeal a clause that exempts Canadian Pacific Railway from paying taxes in the province.

CP is suing Saskatchewan to get back $341 million in taxes paid, citing the clause which first appeared in an 1880 contract between Canada and the railway company’s predecessor.

The Saskatchewan government has unanimously voted to amend the Constitution pertaining to the clause, but that needs to pass on the House of Commons and Senate floors before it could come into effect.

With one week left before Parliament breaks for the holidays, MPs from Saskatchewan hope the motion will pass in the next few days with no objections from any party.

Andrew Scheer, MP for Regina-Qu’Appelle, says there is no reason why the federal government should delay Saskatchewan’s request.

“The fact this court case was launched called into question whether this section of the Saskatchewan Act continues to apply,” Scheer said Monday in Regina.

“Getting this off the books and getting this exemption removed, whatever happens with the court case, at least on a going-forward basis, the province can have that certainty that it’s not going to be a significant amount of tax revenue.”