Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard refuses to condemn Quebec tennis player Eugenie Bouchard, who has moved to the tax haven of the Bahamas.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Considering Couillard himself has avoided taxes in this way. (More about that towards the end of the article.)
While Mr. Couillard’s rivals have come out against Bouchard’s move to the tax haven, Couillard has taken the opposite approach claiming that the Liberals are the “Party of Freedom”:
“When you are the leader of the Freedom Party, you let people decide what they want to do with their lives,” he declared.”I will not interfere with the private life of Celine Dion, Eugenie Bouchard, or whoever it is,”
While on the surface one could might be inclined with the part of Couillard’s claim relating to “freedom”, it is important to remember the personal and political contexts here. We aren’t talking about life and liberty. We are talking about taxes. Paying taxes is not removing freedom. No joke.
In reality, this “freedom” Couillard is alluding to ignores that not paying proper income taxes is a “freedom” only afforded to the rich, while the average Quebecer can nay afford to move to the Bahamas to avoid paying their share.
To rub salt into the wound, Bouchard was also supported in her tax avoidance scheme, Tennis Canada…. Tennis Canada is a government-funded organization… [Jesus Christ Almighty -Ed.] Imagine, the average Quebecer’s taxes paid for her training and supported her success, and the upshot is that she goes and avoids taxes by running off to a tax haven. Lovely.
Couillard’s defence of freedom is truly a shallow and myopic argument. The fact that it might be entirely legal, matters little to whether it is moral or ethical or even proper. He can cry “freedom!” all he wants until he sounds like William Wallace, but it doesn’t hide the fat that there is one rule for the rich and another for the poor, even if it was the poor who helped make the person rich in the first place.
Couillard even said that he can’t comment on something because it’s “legal” and would infringe on their liberty; This is so stupid that there are no words worth spending on denouncing it. The whole concept is against the Liberal Party ethos in the first place. Liberals have traditionally pushed for social responsibility instead of legal coercion.
“If that were not acceptable,” he mused, “I suppose there would be legislation that prevents people from moving outside Quebec when they have a certain income? Is not it?”
As we mentioned before, a closer look may reveal why the Premier takes this stance. Between 1992 and 2000 Couillard himself held money in a offshore tax haven, the Island of Jersey, money he made working as a surgeon in Saudi Arabia.
Couillard did not pay Canadian taxes on the money, which is perfectly legal as he had severed all ties with Canada at the time.
So with Couillard’s liberal use of offshore banking it’s no wonder he refuses to condemn the ethics of it, as doing so he would be condemning himself. He equation of “Legal = Ethical” is consistent, with well, him being an asshole.
Not that Moosepaper.com loves the CAQ, but at least CAQ Leader François Legault managed to criticize the tennis star without calling for any legislation.
Couillard’s refusal to do so and his quick defense of similar cases is certainly very telling.