At C.A.G.E., we have chosen to speak up against and highlight examples of government "encroachment" into our private lives and autonomy by relatively small, incremental steps. The case of Irvin Leroux is not so much one of encroachment, but the result of an uncaring and overly powerful agency that is appallingly arrogant and uncaring in its treatment of the very people whom "the State" is expected to serve. This arrogance is the result of a politico-economic climate wherein very few people can afford to mount a significant challenge against the State, even when the challengers are manifestly in the right.
CRA targets taxpayer – CCF takes up the defence
Irvin Leroux claims compensation from CRA for destroying his business and livelihood Federal government applies to dismiss court action before it even comes to trial
Wednesday March 24 hearing in Prince George, in the Supreme Court of B.C.
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) today announced that it has taken on the case of Irvin Leroux, whose court action against Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) faces a dismissal application in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Wednesday March 24, 2010.
Irvin Leroux was a typical Canadian who expected his dealings with government to be handled conscientiously, with respect and fairness. Back in the 1990s, he was developing a small residential subdivision and running a successful RV park and campground in northern B.C.
In late 1996, Mr. Leroux gave the CRA complete access to his records, leaving them alone in his home to conduct their audit while he went off to work. CRA took all the documents, and then lost or shredded them, but still went on to assess Mr. Leroux for almost $1,000,000 in GST, income tax, penalties and interest. > > After years of fighting in tax court, Leroux was vindicated. The case was settled in 2005 with the CRA agreeing that he had actually overpaid his taxes, and providing a small refund.> > But meanwhile, even as the case wended its way through the labyrinth of tax court, the CRA had been turning the screws, taking enforcement proceedings to collect the money “owed” to them. At one point they withheld almost $38,000 in GST refund money due to him, even though they knew he didn’t owe it and that he was falling behind in mortgage payments as a result.
That “refund hold” was just the start of his problems. Lawyers and accountants had to be paid, too. Leroux’s cash flow was choked off irreparably. Lenders started foreclosing on mortgages. The real estate—appraised in 2002 for $3.4 million—was disposed of for only one-third of that value. The secured creditors got paid, but Leroux still owes some $300,000 to friends and family. While he once expected to retire comfortably, he is now impoverished, living on meager pension income. The years of stress have given him a hernia and still leave him tossing and turning every night, awaking in a sweat from recurrent nightmares in which he finds himself homeless and digging for food in trash cans.
Based on discussions held between his MP Dick Harris and the former National Revenue Minister Carol Skelton, Mr. Leroux commenced a court action against CRA in November of 2006, expecting the CRA would negotiate a fair settlement out of court. Mr. Leroux`s statement of claim seeks damages for public misfeasance and negligence, plus a declaration that the CRA has violated his constitutional right to security of the person.> > But the government’s lawyers have now brought a complicated motion to get the action dismissed before trial, undoubtedly aware that Leroux’s war chest for legal fees—raised by donations from sympathetic fellow taxpayers—must be approaching exhaustion.
The federal government’s motion to dismiss the action will be heard at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday March 24, in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, 250 George Street, in Prince George.
For more information on this case, read Irvin Leroux's Story.