LISTEN: PQ says Couillard should have paid Quebec taxes while in Saudi Arabia

The PQ's position today was that Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard should have paid taxes to the Quebec government while he was practicing medicine in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s.

The party weighed in on the debate over an offshore account Couillard had in the Channel Islands during his time abroad; he deposited over $600,000 to that account.

The PQ minister responsible for democratic institutions, Bernard Drainville, said it may not have been illegal, but it was morally and ethically wrong of Couillard to put his money in a jurisdiction known for being a tax haven, and just as wrong not to pay taxes to Quebec during that time. Drainville argued he paid taxes to Quebec when he worked abroad, though he couldn't remember which country he was in at the time (he was a correspondent for Radio-Canada in Mexico from 2001-2003).

"It would have been the right thing to do to pay taxes here in Quebec," Drainville told reporters.

"It is because it's Quebec taxpayers who paid for his training and I think it would have been the correct thing to do to give a little bit back to Quebec society during these four years where he made presumably a lot of money. He made a lot of money in Saudi Arabia. He could have taken a part of this money and give it back to the Quebec purse," Drainville said.

"Why did he make the decision not to pay taxes to Quebec? Why did he make a decision to put money into a tax haven?"

Drainville said he also wants to know how much money Couillard made at the time and how much tax he ended up avoiding. He said Couillard's actions regarding the tax haven show he's not worthy of being Premier and doesn't have the credibility to fight tax evasion, since he profited from it himself.

Earlier in the day, the CAQ and Québec Solidaire also condemned Couillard's actions. CAQ candidates said it showed a flagrant lack of ethics. Québec Solidaire spokespeople said, morally, it wasn't the right thing to do.

CJAD 800 consulted tax specialist Ernie Furt, partner at accounting firm Fuller Landau, who said that if Couillard declared himself a non-resident of Canada, there's no reason why he would have paid income taxes to his native province. Couillard did pay taxes on assets he brought back to Canada upon his return and a Liberal party spokesperson told CJAD 800 that "he had the status of non-resident" with Canadian tax authorities. 

"If he's a non-resident of Canada, there would be no red flag because the employment income was earned outside of Canada," Furt said. "Effectively, it would have been a charitable contribution to the coffers of Quebec. I don't think anybody has that high a moral ground in order to pay taxes in a jurisdiction they're not required to pay taxes in."

Peppered with questions from journalists, the PQ Charter of Values author ends his press conference (audio below) by saying, in frustration, "oh please, Lord!"

Listen to Drainville's unedited comments on Couillard:

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  1. Al posted on 03/27/2014 04:19 PM
    Who wants to pay Quebec taxes anyway? and i bet every single person would do the same thing. How about your own leader?
  2. Barcham posted on 03/27/2014 04:38 PM
    If he was out of the country for more than 6 months, not only was he not obligated to pay Canadian or Quebec income taxes, but the government had no legal right to tax him on those earnings. Any suggestion otherwise is foolish and shows an extreme lack of knowledge regarding how our taxation system actually functions. People with such lack of knowledge have no business running the government.

    I wonder how much taxes Celine Dion pays on the millions she earns in Las Vegas?
  3. Angie posted on 03/27/2014 06:01 PM
    So, let me get this right: If I am educated here in Quebec, and decide to move away to practice the trade I was educated for, earn a decent income and plop my hard earned cash in the bank account of my choice, I am expected to pay taxes to Quebec because I was educated here???
    Well, I guess the Quebec government has a lot of relocated graduated students it can chase for taxes because they're making a whole truckload of cash somewhere else on that Quebec education (which they worked hard to obtain). Sheesh. Just makes you not want to move away to get a better paying job, eh? oh, and don't even think of moving back here if you do - they'll catch you for taxes if you do.
    Or did I misunderstand this story?
    1. joeN posted on 03/28/2014 11:33 AM
      @Angie The sad part is that the 3rd of voters that swing with the wind will be swayed by this fiction like the story of the fat english lady at eatons that seems to have encountered the majority of the PQ party members and inspired them to enact a language law to erase any trace anywhere.
  4. maria posted on 03/27/2014 07:02 PM
    Further to "drainville" (the one who drains us) - Were is he getting his numbers from , were did he get 800,000 to train a brain surgeon -especially 25 years ago - he is just pulling numbers out of a hat - he really needs help - shame on him - and he says it with such a serious face that some poor citizens will believe him - I know that is his objective but can not someone on the liberal side come forward and speak up !!! - second of all I know perfectly well what it is to be a "med student" and a "medical resident " - let me tell you the "BLOOD - SWEAT AND TEARS" THAT THESE STUDENTS AND RESIDENTS have to
    put up with - at the end, the Quebec Government OWES them money - "drainville" (the one who drains us) has no clue . he is talking through his BU--!!! He has no right to speak about doctors, not with what they have to go through here in Quebec - I KNOW - Like I said Quebec owes them money - Shame Shame double Shame -
  5. markR posted on 03/27/2014 07:27 PM
    This genius should ask Pauline if her and husband meet the criteria he's expecting Couillard to respect.
  6. G.Cannizzaro posted on 03/27/2014 11:35 PM
    I'm quite sure that Drainville himself or better yet Pauline Marois would have paid income taxes while working outside of Quebec for four years!!!!! Their reasoning is so distorted that it makes me wonder what they are doing as representatives of this province. Not even the POPE would have paid income taxes in this case. They are inevitably trying their best to convince the population that voting for the Liberal party would be an outrage. All I know is that when the PQ comes up with this nonsense my decision is more clear now than ever before.
  7. yerallnuts posted on 03/28/2014 04:25 AM
    What a load of convoluted garbage from the PQ.

    Their logic suggests that he should pay taxes to the province even though he wasn't living here because he was educated there? Are they completely nuts? (don't answer that because it is obvious that they are).

    How did we ever get to this point? These guys are certifiably nuts.
  8. LMAO posted on 03/28/2014 06:35 AM
    "It would have been the right thing to do to pay taxes here in Quebec," Drainville told reporters.

    Not only is it not right to have too its not even a requirement to!!! Also it seems strange that Drainville could not remember his own tax filings while being out of the country. This shows how desperate his party has become.
  9. Terry posted on 03/28/2014 10:34 AM
    The PQ should get real. So many Quebecois working under the table and avoiding paying taxes. And the government unable or unwilling to do anything about this problem. But all this stupid talk about the Liberal leader doing what is legal.
  10. Meatplow posted on 03/28/2014 01:57 PM
    Drainville is a hypocrite..Jean Lapierre said yesterday that just like Lisee, Drainville worked out of country at one point for an extended period of time and when he was asked about paying taxes just like he expected Couillard to do, he couldn't provide a clear please....
  11. reebo posted on 03/28/2014 09:16 PM
    Be careful here, the precedent is being set. the new country of quebec will require taxes be paid according to citizenship, not residence (much like the united states). But unlike the united states, quebec has one of the higher tax rates in the industrialized world, so no matter where you live, you'll be on the hook for a large tax bill for the privilege of being a quebec citizen. This sort of thing won't bother most uniligual pq voters, as they would never dream of leaving the motherland. Look for quebec citizenship to be required in order to collect from the quebec pension plan as well.
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