In Canada: A New Tax Haven, Alain Deneault traces Canada’s relationship with Britain’s Caribbean colonies back through the last half of the twentieth century, arguing that the involvement of Canadian financiers in establishing and maintaining Caribbean tax havens has predisposed Canada to become a tax haven itself – a metamorphosis well under way.
Canada was linked to Caribbean nations long before they became tax havens. 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 impenetrable banking secrecy was shaped by a minister of finance 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 the countries of the Caribbean political community. And, notably, Canada currently shares its seat at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund with a group of Caribbean tax havens.
These exercises in fostering fiscal and banking leniency have predisposed Canada to become one of the most attractive tax havens to foreign interests. Not only does Canada offer one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, but a number of loopholes encourage companies to relocate to Canada as if it were Barbados or Bermuda. Canada: A New Tax Haven is an attempt to analyze the situation and address its implications for Canadians.
Canada: A New Tax Haven is an attempt to analyze the situation and address its implications for Canadians.
About the authors
Born in Indiana, Catherine Browne grew up in Montreal. She has a degree in history from the Université de Provence. A professional translator since the 1980s, for the past fifteen years she has conducted guided tours designed to provide Montrealers with new ways of thinking about their city’s past and present.
“Deneault shows that the tax-haven problem is not simply a problem of illegal tax evasion or money laundering by the underground economy or criminal gangs but a much larger issue of how the Canadian state has legalized the use of tax havens by large corporations so that they can evade paying their fair share of taxes.”
– Dennis Howlett, Canadians for Tax Fairness
“The book is grounded in a spirited defence of taxation’s role in funding the state and its programs, including social programs but also the economic policies and legal system that benefit corporations and wealthy individuals. This is in sharp contrast to most of the specialist tax literature, which revels in complexity, technicality and legal issues, obscuring the crucial political and social issues at stake. … a valuable contribution to a debate that merits serious attention. … Deneault is rightly outraged … the book highlights some critical issues. … Deneault is correct to highlight the need for greater pressure from citizens, which will require continued efforts to lift the shroud of secrecy that surrounds corporate taxation in Canada. … Canada: A New Tax Haven should help inspire concern and possibly even greater pressure from the Canadian public.”
– Literary Review of Canada
“An indispensable resource, providing a rich cultural, social, and historical context that is strongly needed for understanding how tax competition developed into the global phenomenon it is today.”
– Allison Christians, McGill University H. Heward Stikeman Chair in Tax Law
“Rigorously decrypts the mechanisms that have led Canada to adopt “laws of convenience” that are nothing more than criminogenic legal tools enabling their users to circumvent the obligations and rules that underpin the law states.”
– Chantal Cutajar, European College of Financial Investigations and Analysis of Financial Crimes CEIFAC
“Essential reading … Deneault illuminates the blowback effect of Caribbean tax havens becoming, in the hands of big banks and transnational business, a powerful lever for dismantling a century of social progress and democracy itself at home – in this case, in Canada.”
– Harold Crooks, director, The Price We Pay
“This meticulously researched history of Canadian involvement in the development of tax havens across the Western hemisphere reveals how, stealthily, tax lawyers, and business and political elites, have imported the tax haven model into Canada’s own laws and regulations … a wake-up call to everyone concerned about democracy and equity in Canada.”
– John Christensen, Tax Justice Network