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Pallister’s Hatchet Man for Civil Service Has Family Business in “Paradise Papers”

Manitoba Liberals say the Pallister PCs should be looking harder to collect revenue from people and businesses who hide money offshore instead of demanding cuts and layoffs from the civil service.

The irony is that the Minister for Central Services and Brandon West MLA, Reg Helwer, has a family business that appears in a database of offshore companies called "the Paradise Papers".

Business registry records show that Reg Helwer owns and runs multiple businesses with his father, Reinhold "Ron" Helwer.

Ron is the President of "Shur-Gro Farm Services Ltd." and Reg is listed as Vice-President, even though it is omitted from his conflict of interest declarations as MLA.

Shur-Gro is one of a number of companies the Helwers own and operate together, including 3042651 Manitoba Ltd. The companies are all located at the same address at 932 Douglas Avenue in Brandon, Manitoba.

That's the same address that appears on a company called R & D Holdings Ltd., registered to Reinhold Frederick Helwer in a corporate registry in Malta. That registry came to light as part of the "Paradise Papers," a leak of banking information from a Bermuda Law firm, Appleby.

Malta has been described as the "Panama of Europe" and a "pirate base for tax avoidance" because it allows foreign businesses to pay much lower taxes. According to a report of the European Parliament, "Malta helped multinationals avoid paying €14bn in taxes between 2012 and 2015". That is the equivalent of $22-billion Canadian dollars.

"Pallister's hatchet man for the civil service, Reg Helwer, is pleading poverty on behalf of the province while his family business has set up a company in a tax haven," said Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont. "This is shameful hypocrisy. Every Manitoban should reject these cuts and demand that the PCs go after tax avoidance instead, starting with the cabinet."


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