SASKATOON – A petition signed by more than 36,000 Canadians is calling on the mining company Cameco (TSX:CCO) to face the taxman.
The Saskatoon-based firm has been in a dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency for years.
The CRA contends that a Swiss subsidiary set up by Cameco in the late 1990s was effectively a shell company used to funnel profits offshore and dodge as much as $2.1 billion total in Canadian taxes over a 13-year period.
Cameco has maintained it has paid all the taxes it owed.
The petition was delivered Wednesday to the company’s Saskatoon headquarters and another copy was dropped off on Parliament Hill.
The petition is spearheaded by Sum of Us, an activist organization that says it wants to rein in corporations that don’t pay their taxes.
Spokeswoman Rona Kourie said the petition is meant to pressure the federal government not to settle before a Tax Court of Canada trial expected to begin in late September.
“We want to see this case come to court. We want to see Cameco pay all its back taxes, just to make sure there isn’t a sweetheart deal,” she said.
Cameco spokesman Rob Geraghty said the company maintains its position that the arrangement with its Swiss arm was legal.
He said there is a mediation process available in these types of disputes, but neither Cameco, nor the CRA have asked to use it.
Geraghty said the company is as eager as anyone to have the dispute come to an end.
“From our perspective, we’re heading to court at the end of September (or) early October. That’s basically the path that we’re on.”
Geraghty said a decision in the case would likely come about 18 months from the start of the court case.