Tag Archives: Canada

Weak Canadian dollar brings challenges for Barbados tourism industry

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Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It is already more than halfway through the year and this is a time perhaps that our tourism policy planners are focusing on what marketing strategies can be effectively put in place to build on the first quarter increase in visitor arrivals.

As always, it is almost impossible to accurately predict what is going to happen in our global marketplaces and how that could impact on numbers, average stay and spend.

Important issues include the fall in the value of the euro earlier this year and whether this will be further impacted with the eventual solution to the Greek crisis. What effect will the first Conservative British government budget since 1995 have on the disposable income of most Brits? And finally, there is increased speculation about an impending recession in Canada, just at a time we were experiencing improved arrivals and airlift.

Having lived in Canada for some time, I know there is a psychological threshold when the Canadian dollar falls below 80 cents compared to the United States dollar. Naturally, Canadians then start to question whether they are truly obtaining value for money at holiday destination choices. It becomes an imperative to clearly demonstrate that we can offer a competitive product by at least attempting to reinforce component parts of the tourism industry that are more affordable.

While we will never be able to compete with the mass tourism regional offerings like Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and alike, Barbados still has a myriad of more affordable accommodation choices. Of course lodging is only part of the equation, so personally I think there is room for a re-DISCOVER-like promotion specifically aimed at the Canadian market that helps minimise the currency value differential, which include not just restaurants, but attractions, activities, car rental and shopping.   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Canada, Economy

Canadian Court upholds Revenue Canada – disallows “Barbados Structure”, penalizes Canadian company’s use of offshore Barbados subsidiary.

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 Marzen Artistic Aluminum Ltd. v. The Queen (2014 TCC 194)

I’m don’t know much about this kind of thing, but it doesn’t sound good for Barbados. According to our Google Alerts, the tax sector is abuzz with this latest Canadian ruling that runs 80 pages. (download the ruling here – PDF)

Comments from the cheap seats?

In a lengthy set of reasons, the Tax Court upheld all but a fraction of the CRA’s reassessment of the taxpayer, such reassessments having disallowed the deduction of approximately $7.1M of fees paid by the Canadian taxpayer to its Barbados subsidiary. The Court also upheld the imposition of a penalty under subsection 247(3) of the Act…

… from Dentons Tax Litigation blog: Marzen: Artistic Barbados tax plan defeated

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Filed under Barbados, Canada, Offshore Investments

Canadian Parliament to re-examine Barbados ‘tax-haven’

Barbados has no Integrity Legislation, no Freedom of Information, no Conflicts of Interest Rules

We stumbled upon an article in yesterday’s Nation that proves all old can be new again. It must have been a slow day in the news room because the news article TAX ATTACK is based on a blog entry from last August and is marketed as new news.

We don’t doubt that much of the Canadian doubts about Barbados and other “Tax Havens” has to do with our lack of proper regulations and laws respecting Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information and Conflicts of Interest. How can the Canadian Government protect its citizens if offshore banking centres like Barbados do not have the same controls, rules and oversight as Canadian banks?

There is no secret why Canadian and other nation’s banks like Barbados: our “island time” slackness extends to the rules. The Canadian and European banks can get away with things in Barbados that they wouldn’t dare do ‘over ‘home. Canadian tax law permits money to flow through Barbados in many billions – but without any concommitant requirement for ITAL. (ITAL = Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation)

ITAL was promised five years ago by the newly elected DLP government – but they lied.

Here’s a quote from the real story at the original blog source and the link where you can read it for yourself. How does this impact Barbados? That’s easy: tourism is in trouble and if Canada makes offshore investing difficult for Canadians, you just watch how things go ’bout hey!

“A growing share of Canada’s investment overseas is being channeled by Canadian banks into tax havens.”

“The finance and insurance sector now accounts for over 51% of Canada’s total direct investment overseas, more than double its share from 1987, more evidence that a large share of this money is going overseas to avoid taxes.   The Harper government has lauded Canada’s growing investment overseas, claiming it shows looser foreign investment rules (which allowed numerous takeovers of Canadian industry) have been beneficial, but the actual figures show the reality is quite different.  A large and growing share of this money isn’t going into real capital investments that could ultimately benefit people overseas or in Canada; it’s going into tax avoidance that benefits a wealthy few at the expense of the large majority in Canada and around the world.”

… from the August 16, 2012 Progressive Economics blog by Toby Sanger: Canadian banks use of tax havens keeps growing

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Economy, Offshore Investments

Canadian store collapse brings memories of Barbados cave-in disaster

Where are the men?

Dear Barbados Free Press,

As a Bajan living in Canada I thought you would be interested in the following article from the Toronto Sun newspaper because it made me think about what happened in Bim at the Arch Cot collapse when the police, fire and military dithered for a whole day before venturing into the wreckage. Then they chopped down the apartment wreckage into the hole, without regards to anyone who still might have been alive.

This Toronto Sun article by Joe Warmington points out that people live for over a week in collapsed buildings. That didn’t matter in Barbados and it didn’t matter in Elliot Lake Canada where government prevented rescue teams from entering the building, saying it was “too dangerous”.

Where are the men? Where are those who devote their lives to rescuing others in these kinds of disasters? When the crunch time comes they always seem to fail us.

They always talk about “lessons learned” but never seem to apply those lessons on the next time. The lesson for each of us is that you cannot rely upon the government. You must be prepared to save yourself.

The death certificate for Donavere Codrington says he died two days after the collapse and that fact got short shift at the inquest.

The Sun article says that Elliot Lake will not forget. That’s a lie: yes, it will. Barbados did, Canada will too. Barbados forgot and nobody was held accountable for building on a known cave.

Justice Mottley and daughter Mia Mottley

Nobody was held responsible for removing the prohibition against building on the land. Mia Mottley and her family were involved. They owned the land at one time. Nothing more need be said.

sign me “Never Forget”

Further Reading

Please read the following article at the Toronto Sun: Warmington: Elliot Lake will not forget

Warmington: Elliot Lake will not forget

“It’s just not safe.” — HUSAR leader Bill Neadles.

Was Juno beach safe?

How about Vimy Ridge or Helmand Province?

When would such an emergency rescue mission, which would require bringing in the Heavy Urban Search And Rescue Team (HUSAR), ever have safe conditions?

Only in nanny-state Ontario could somebody decide the working conditions for rescue workers in a catastrophe were not safe enough to do what they are trained, and paid, to do. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Canada, Disaster

Bob Verdun “In deep trouble” – $650,000 judgment for defamation

“Canadian Jury found Verdun acted with malice”

We’re not 100% sure, but it looks like the Bob Verdun in this defamation lawsuit reported in Canadian newspapers is the same Bob Verdun who is a frequent visitor to Barbados and an investor in business and real estate on the island. The Bob Verdun we’ve covered in the past is a Canadian from the Kitchener area, and so is the Verdun in the Toronto Star defamation article. (Now we’re sure because we see Mr. Verdun’s photo on his blog: http://www.bobverdun.blogspot.com/)

“Verdun, who sold his paper to Torstar in 1999, represented himself at the trial.”

(What was that saying about representing yourself? Oh yes: It was  “an idiot for a lawyer and a fool for a client.”)

Could there be two persons from Kitchener named “Bob Verdun”? Sure there could, and we’re just as sure that one of our readers will have the answer! (ANSWERED: It’s the same Bob Verdun)

“One of the largest aggravated damages awards in Canadian history.”

“I expect this will work out but I can’t make any comment,” Verdun tells Law Times. “I am under an interim court order that prevents me from saying absolutely anything about him. I can say absolutely nothing. You can draw your own conclusions. I am muzzled.”

… from Law Times News article Landmark ruling in libel suit

Here’s what the Canadian papers are saying about Bob Verdun and then some links to a few of our past stories. The photo above is from our past story and we stole borrowed it from Ian Bourne at Bajan Reporter.

Somewhere in small town Ontario was a man who also thought he was holding a CEO to account. Except Bob Verdun isn’t a politician or a prosecutor. He’s a former publisher of the Elmira Independent and is now in very deep trouble.

Back in 2004, Verdun had a problem with the appointment of veteran insurance executive Robert Astley to the board of BMO Financial Services, alleging his involvement with the Clarica Life Insurance Company and its role in the development of a controversial Waterloo recreation complex made him unfit for the job.

After denouncing Astley at shareholders’ meetings and in emails to BMO executives — among other places — things turned about as bad as they could for Verdun, the recipient of a prestigious Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism in 1990.

Astley sued for defamation, alleging Verdun’s attacks painted him as unethical, selfish and greedy.

This week, a Toronto jury found in Astley’s favour, awarding him $250,000 in general damages and $400,000 in aggravated damages.

The jury found Verdun acted with malice.

Astley, 65, currently chair of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, “is very pleased the litigation has come to a successful conclusion,” said Brian Radnoff, one of his lawyers.

… from the Toronto Star Newspaper article Bank director wins $650,000 in defamation suit against shareholder activist

Further Reading about Bob Verdun at BFP

July 9, 2010 – Bob Verdun: Racist? Well meaning but culturally naive? Just truthful?

June 27, 2010 – Canadian investor Bob Verdun accosted by Barbados Boscobel Toll Gang

June 24, 2010 – Bob Verdun lecture Friday, June 25 “15 ways to improve Barbados tourism without spending a penny!”

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Filed under Barbados, Canada, Crime & Law

Welcome to Barbados. Air Canada deliberately left your luggage at home.

British Columbia couple abused by Air Canada

We’re used to hearing stories of lost and delayed luggage concerning LIAT Airlines (Leave Island Any Time), but we’ve never heard anything like the current news about Air Canada.

A couple from Kelowana British Columbia on Canada’s Pacific Ocean coast flew all the way to Barbados only to discover that Air Canada DELIBERATELY didn’t load their luggage!!!

Their luggage was left off the flight because the aircraft couldn’t hold any more. No one told the couple when they switched aircraft in Toronto, and they wasted several hours looking for the bags before boarding their flight to Barbados. The bags were not overweight or unusually sized: Air Canada “regularly” does this to customers, according to a Canadian CBC article.

In this case the wife’s bag arrived two days later and the husband’s bag arrived four days later, probably just in time to head back from their week’s vacation in Barbados.

I guess there are two morals to the story:

1/ You should always pack your carry-on with the expectation that the main bag won’t ever arrive in Barbados.

and

2/ You’re nothing but cattle to Air Canada. Get used to it!

Further Reading

CBC News Canada: Air Canada leaves baggage behind intentionally

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Canada, Consumer Issues, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Canada probing Barbados Offshore Investment tax losses

Largest Canadian Labour Union calls Barbados “Tax Haven” a “problem”

An article at the Toronto Sun news agency says that a Canadian House of Commons committee recently began probing offshore accounts and tax evasion. Some Canadians are concerned that Canada’s government is “missing out on billions in potential revenue” because of low tax countries. The article names Barbados, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.

“I was really struck to the extent to which this trend seems to be increasing when we were assured it was less of a problem… This money is not going into investing in real activities and in growing the (Canadian) economy.”

…Toby Sanger, Canadian Union of Public Employees CUPE senior economist. CUPE has almost 600,000 members and is Canada’s largest workers’ union.

This is serious business for Barbados because our national economy and well being are highly dependent upon that offshore investment from Canada. Not only that, our tourism industry is also closely linked with the offshore banking and investment sector. Many Canadians and other tourists who head for Barbados in the winter are coming for their “annual shareholders meeting” that just happens to be scheduled every year in the middle of the coldest winter months.

And don’t kid yourself that it’s about all offshore jurisdictions: Barbados is a big big player in Canadians’ offshore tax strategies. I once heard it said that Barbados is the #1 Caribbean country for Canadian offshore banking and companies. I don’t know if that is still true, but Barbados is big enough that we are squarely in the sights of those who want to curtail the ability of Canadians to pay lower tax rates.

All Hands on Deck!

The Toronto Sun article seems to be a balanced piece that gives both sides of the Canadian debate. There is a side that says offshore banking and corporate centres like Barbados actually benefit the Canadian economy by allowing Canadian companies to be competitive in the world markets.

The danger for Barbados is that in bad times governments can get focused only upon revenues and lose sight of the big picture.

As we’ve seen occasionally in Barbados, governments can raise taxes too much and ‘kill the goose’. Some Canadians want their government to restrict access to offshore banking centres like Barbados, and don’t realize this would harm Canadian industry in the long run.

Let’s hope that our government acts decisively and swiftly to convince the Canadian Government, tax authorities and Canadians in general that both countries greatly benefit from our long standing relationship and the agreements that allow both Canada and Barbados to prosper in the world economy. We are both lesser without each other.

Further Reading

Please read the article at the Toronto Sun, but we’ll reprint it here because sometimes articles go missing in cyberspace and then we have nothing to support our fair commentary. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Canada, Economy, Offshore Investments