On November 25, 2013, I had the privilege of travelling to Ottawa to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to discuss certain aspects of Bill C-4, the second implementation act for measures proposed in the 2013 federal budget, as well as other measures. Bill C-4 is at the second reading stage. The Committee’s work on Bill C-4 began earlier in the month with testimony from government officials. My task, from a practitioner’s point of view, was to address those provisions that close loopholes in the Income Tax Act.
I read my opening statement (each witness is limited to a five-minute opening) and answered a few questions. I fielded questions from two members of the Committee (Mark Adler of the Conservatives and Murray Rankin of the NDP who happens to be a fellow graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and an accomplished litigator). Both Mr. Adler and Mr. Rankin, along with the other members of the Committee, went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Much of the time was taken up by a spirited discussion of the proposal to phase out tax credits for investors in Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations (which appear to be predominantly located in the province of Quebec). The entire meeting was recorded and transcribed.
Around the dinner hour, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Jim Flaherty, appeared before the Committee to describe some of the more important provisions of Bill C-4 and to answer questions from members of the Committee. Hon. Scott Brison participated in a lively exchange with the Minister.
It was certainly a long day for members of the Committee and their staff. They prepared for the meeting in the morning and participated in the proceedings from 3:30 p.m. until after 8:30 p.m. – and this was only one of a number of intensive sessions devoted to the close study and consideration of Bill C-4. I look forward to tracking the progress of Bill C-4 through the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance as well as the Senate Committee on National Finance. If everything proceeds according to plan, Bill C-4 may very well become law before the end of the year.