National Post

Canada confirms opposition to global bank tax
National Post

The Canadian government confirmed Friday it will officially oppose international efforts to get the world’s major economies to impose a global bank tax. This could potentially ignite a major divide among Group of 20 leaders at their summit meeting in Toronto this summer, and further thwart efforts to implement uniform financial regulations in the post-recession era.

Senior Canadian officials are in the midst of crafting a public response that will be delivered shortly, sources with knowledge of the plan said. An official, and public, declaration is required, they say, due to recent public musings from Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, that the G20 countries were close to a deal on a financial services tax — the so-called « Tobin » tax.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, want to use their influence as host of the next G20 meeting, in Toronto in June, to kill the proposal. The sources suggested the G20 would not agree to measures or policies unless all leaders sign on.

When he was at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Mr. Harper used the global stage to denounce « excessive » and « arbitrary » proposals from countries, such as Britain and France, to regulate the financial-services industry in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Mr. Brown proposed a global transaction tax at a G20 meeting he hosted in Scotland last November, only to draw stiff opposition — from, among others, Timothy Geithner, the U.S. Treasury Secretary. Despite Mr. Brown’s musings, the global community appears to be as divided as ever.