The Green Party of Canada is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to launch a public inquiry into Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s claim that income trusts result in a loss of tax revenue to Ottawa.

To date, no evidence has been provided by the Department of Finance to support the assumption that income trusts result in a loss of tax revenue, the party said in a news release.

“The only evidence provided by the government has been 18 pages of blacked out documents obtained by Access to Information.”

“The Harper government’s actions do not demonstrate the accountability or transparency necessary for the proper functioning of a modern democracy,” Green Party leader Elizabeth May said in the release.

The party cited a report issued today by accounting firm Deloitte, which indicates that the flurry of income trust buyouts that have occurred since the decision to tax income trusts, many by foreigners such as Abu Dhabi Energy and Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, has actually resulted in a loss of taxes.

“Buyers in the 40 announced deals were equally split between strategic and private equity, as well as between domestic and foreign. But in terms of tax revenue for the Canadian government, the news was not so balanced: 70% of purchasers are tax exempt pension/private equity funds or foreign buyers who pay little if any tax in this country,” said the Deloitte report.

Green Party finance critic Peter Graham said that the income trust tax announced on Halloween of 2006 has resulted in a loss to the value of the hard-earned savings of Canadians of $35 billion. “These Canadians have also lost significant retirement income,” said Graham.