Our country has been linked to Caribbean nations long before they became tax havens themselves. In the 1950s, an ex-governor of Canada’s central bank attempted to establish a low taxation regime in Jamaica. In the 1960s, the transformation of the Bahamas into a tax haven characterized by inpenetrable banking secrecy was shaped by a finance minister who sat on the Royal Bank of Canada’s board of directors. A Calgary lawyer and former Conservative Party heavyweight drew up the clauses that transformed the Cayman Islands into an opaque offshore jurisdiction.
For years, Canadian politicians have debated annexing tax havens such as the Turks and Caicos Islands, making them part of Canadian territory. Canada has signed a free-trade agreement with Panama and is currently seeking a wider agreement with countries in the Caribbean political community. Notably, Canada currently shares its seat at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund with a group of Caribbean tax havens.
Deneault says these exercises in fostering fiscal and banking leniency have predisposed Canada to become itself one of the most attractive tax havens to foreign interests. Not only do we offer a low corporate tax rate, but a number of loopholes encourage companies to relocate here as if it were Barbados or Bermuda. Alain Deaneault brings these assertions forward and explains their implications.
Alain Deneault is a researcher at the Réseau Justice Fiscale and a lecturer in Political Science at the Université de Montréal. Some of the books he wrote on tax havens and corporate criminality were translated into English, and include: Offshore: Tax Havens and the Rule of Global Crimes, Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal Haven of Choice for the World Mining Industries, and Paul Martin & Companies: Sixty Theses on the Alegal Nature of Tax Havens. His latest book is Canada A New Tax Haven: How the Country That Shaped Caribbean Tax Havens is Becoming One Itself.