The rich are not like you and me. They have numbered companies, offshore tax havens and pricey lawyers to help them hide their money – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of them are awfully close to the Prime Minister. Nothing wrong or new about that either. The coziness of plutocrats and politicians goes back for decades, even in high-minded, purer-than-the-Americans Canada.
But when you’ve styled yourself a champion of the little guy, as Justin Trudeau has done, these things can get awkward. It’s awkward when your chief bagman happens to be a guy named Bronfman, whose family, we now know, parks a big chunk of its fortune in balmy offshore tax havens. We know this because of the Paradise Papers, a giant trove of leaked documents that spills the beans on the financial secrets of everyone from Russian oligarchs and hedge-fund founders to the Queen and Bono.