Ian Bush trial: Letters sent to 'Extortion Canada' over tax dispute
WARNING: This story contains strong language
"Extortion Canada, Shakedown Division." "Bureaucratic error." "BULL SHIT."
Those are some of the words contained in a series of snippy letters sent in the 1990s to Revenue Canada, as the Canada Revenue Agency was then known.
The letters are part of a raft of tax documents involving Ian Bush, who is on trial for the 2007 killings of Alban Garon, a retired chief justice for the Tax Court of Canada, Garon's wife Raymonde, and their friend and neighbour Marie-Claire Beniskos.
Bush, now 61, was charged in 2015 with three counts of first-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.
Income tax dispute
Central to the Crown's argument in the trial is that Bush hates taxes and thinks all forms of it are an abomination.
The documents presented in court Wednesday by tax court registrar and Crown witness Don MacNeil, dating from 1993 through to 2001, relate to Bush's taxes in 1992 and 1993.
The documents show that Bush claimed a business he had created — called Bush and Associates Consulting — suffered more than $30,000 in losses due to start-up costs and moving expenses.
He tried to have those losses deducted from his income in 1992 and 1993 but Revenue Canada refused, saying he had not filed sufficient documentation to prove it.
Bush filed an objection and Revenue Canada denied it, saying that Bush had failed to file it within the prescribed amount of time.
The denial letter from Revenue Canada to Bush said he could file for an extension, giving him more time to file an objection.
A response bearing Bush's address and social insurance number, sent to "Extortion Canada," reads "BULL SHIT" in large, bold type. A second response reads: "This drivel does not indicate how you are prejudiced by delay, if it occurred," and asks for a payment of $19,913.47.
An extension request was later submitted and denied, and Bush filed an appeal with the Tax Court of Canada in 1997.
The tax court granted the extension, and in 1999 Bush filed an appeal of his tax assessments for 1992 and 1993. A hearing was scheduled for October 2000 in Fredericton, N.B., where Bush was living at the time.
In September 2000, a lawyer for Bush notified the tax court that Bush had moved to Ottawa and was requesting a hearing in Ottawa instead. The change of venue was granted and a hearing date was scheduled for Jan. 16, 2001.
In November a letter again bearing Bush's SIN number and address was sent to the tax court, saying the appellant was unavailable "due to business reasons" and that a date change was required.
The tax court wrote Bush to ask why, and a fax from Bush and Associates Consulting replied that business reasons included "meetings with clients," "project work for clients," and "travel out of town."
The request for another hearing date was denied.
No one shows up, appeals dismissed
Neither Bush nor a representative for him showed up to the hearing on Jan. 16, 2001, court records show, and so the appeals of Bush's 1992 and 1993 tax assessments were dismissed by Judge Terrence O'Connor and the file was closed.
Then, on July 31, 2001, the tax court received a fax from Bush and Associates Consulting, with the heading "High Court of Humanitarian Justice" and an image of scales of justice at the top.
The fax was addressed to Alban Garon, then the chief justice of the Tax Court of Canada, and referenced the denial of the adjournment.
"Notice of review," it reads.
"Take notice that a review of this decision has been scheduled to be heard on the 7th day of August 2001 at 9:30 a.m. at 1995 Boake Street, Orléans, Ontario.
"Take notice that if you fail to appear at the time and place set for this review, the decision and its related decisions will be nullified for failure to appear. Signed at Orléans, Ontario, this 30th day of July, 2001."
The signature is made by an "A.P. Day," with the fax number for Bush and Associates Consulting listed below it.
A.P. Day not a real person, son testifies
Bush's son Brock Bush testified later Thursday that A.P. Day, also listed as an employee on Bush's website, was not a real person.
He said he remembers his father opening mail addressed to A.P. Day, which would arrive at the Bush family home.
During cross examination of tax court registrar Don MacNeil, defence lawyer Geraldine Castle-Trudel asked whether any of Bush's tax litigation documents showed that homicide victim Alban Garon was involved in the matter.
MacNeil replied that no, Garon did not appear to be involved.
The trial continues Thursday.