Québec Solidaire on Saturday asked Pierre Karl Péladeau, the Parti Québécois candidate for Saint-Jérôme, to confirm or deny the registration of more than 60 Quebecor affiliates in Delaware, a state considered by many to be a popular tax haven.
Amir Khadir, Québec Solidaire's candidate in the Montreal riding of Mercier, described Delaware as a known tax haven for limited liability companies and pointed to the fact the state has more registered companies than actual residents.
Khadir said an examination of a state-run database of corporations registered in Delaware shows more than 60 companies with the same names as Quebecor affiliates, including Vidéotron, Archambault, SunMedia and the Toronto Sun.
Khadir listed companies registered in Delaware by the names of Videotron U.S. Inc., Archambault Investment LLC and SunMedia LLC.
“We would like to ask Mr. Péladeau, ‘are these your companies or not’,” Mr. Khadir said. “If they are, do they have business in Delaware? Does the Toronto Sun have business in Delaware? Does Archambault Investment have business in Delaware? Does Videotron have operations in the state of Delaware?”
Khadir said an answer is essential if Mr. Péladeau hopes to assume important economic functions in the event of a PQ election win on April 7.
“It would be incomprehensible to taxpayers if a jewel of the province’s economy is not paying all of its taxes here in Quebec,” Khadir said.
“If these are companies linked to his fortune here, how does Mr. Péladeau explain their presence in Delaware given the state’s status as a major tax haven,” Khadir asked, citing its classification as such by Forbes magazine.
Khadir said the PQ’s insistence that Liberal leader Philippe Couillard come clean about his finances should be accompanied by its own commitment to full transparency and ethical conduct.
Quebecor and the PQ reply
Quebecor replied Saturday afternoon with a press release saying its affiliates registered in Delaware serve legitimate business purposes and denying Khadir's suggestion that they were set-up to avoid taxes in Quebec.
"The claim that registering our companies in the United States is done to avoid paying tax does not hold up and suggests a profound misunderstanding of business management," the statement said.
The PQ also replied quickly to Québec Solidaire's questions, denying that Delaware is a tax haven but rather a sensible place to set up affiliates given the sheer concentration of companies established there.
Prior to Québec Solidaire’s press conference, Pauline Marois was asked her opinion on the possibility of PQ candidates having money in tax shelters.
“I would say it’s immoral and they should correct the situation, but I wouldn’t remove them from caucus,” she said.