MP Nathan Cullen spoke about the abandoned boats act, Phoenix payroll and CRA in his scrum on Nov. 22. (File photo)

Cullen: Abandoned vessel act is missing teeth

MP Nathan Cullen spoke about CRA’s poor tax advice, Phoenix payroll problems in Nov. 22 scrum

Nathan Cullen’s first scrum in two months covered a range of hot topics from Ottawa’s Parliament Hill.

Abandoned boats bill

Cullen said a secret ballot vote would occur in the House of Commons for two days, starting on Nov. 27, regarding the new abandoned boats bill. Cullen said the government tried to deem Minister Garneau’s Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act inadmissible, putting forward a Liberal proposal instead. But Cullen said the federal option doesn’t have any teeth or reinforcement, such as the Transport Minister’s act.

“Which is, of course, important for the northwest because we have all these abandoned vessels across the coast that have just been orphaned and are a huge legacy and cost for local communities,” Cullen said.

Cullen went on to say that the secret vote, where MPs will vote individually, doesn’t speak well of the federal government’s promise to have more open debates. He asks that mayors, councillors and residents in the coast communities write him to tell him about their stories of dealing with such vessels, and how important funds and rules would be.

READ MORE: PORT EDWARD HARBOUR AUTHORITY APPLIES FOR FUNDING TO REMOVE ABANDONED BOATS UNDER NEW BAN

CRA gives incorrect advice

The auditor-general’s report also included large-scale problems with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

In the scrum, Cullen called the situation a complete mess. “Fifty per cent of all the calls that are going into CRA right now are being blocked, not answered at all, being denied service entirely. So half of all Canadians calling aren’t able to make it through at all. Of those that are able to make it through, one-third of the advice that they’re getting from CRA is either wrong or bad advice on their taxes. Now keep in mind that if Canadians follow that bad advice, it’s not CRA that’s on the hook for whatever tax errors occur, it’s the Canadians who follow it.” There have been problems a number of years.

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