Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise here today to speak to this motion presented by the Liberal Party. We are talking about two issues here: interest deductibility on loans to finance foreign investments and the income trust issue. The Liberal motion addresses these two subjects, but it does not deal with tax havens, on the whole, which is unfortunate. I would point out that this is not all that surprising, considering the appalling Liberal record when it comes to tax havens. For years, they allowed companies—such as Canada Steamship Lines—to transfer back to Canada, exempt from taxation, profits earned in tax havens or quasi-tax havens such as Barbados.
As for interest deductibility on foreign investments, we in the Bloc Québécois believe it is a little early to condemn the government. Indeed, we have not yet seen the details of the measure in the form of a notice of ways and means, and we have not yet seen the minister's exact position on this. The government's attitude could be criticized, however, because, once again, it has taken an amateurish and poorly thought out approach. It has unleashed what was obviously a poorly thought out decision on the markets, without having analyzed the repercussions of that decision. This is not the first time this has happened. We have seen it in the past, and it is a shame to see how sloppy this government is. We see this in other files that do not necessarily all fall under the Minister of Finance. This is true of the summer career placement program, which is in a complete shambles. The organizations still do not know how much funding they will be receiving in the coming weeks, despite their urgent needs.
Just because the government acted quickly on this matter does not mean the opposition should do the same. We do not think it is wise to condemn this initiative before we know what is to come. The issue of interest deductibility concerns us. We feel it is important for Quebec and Canadian companies to be able to remain competitive and expand abroad. However, we are also extremely concerned about any issue involving possible tax evasion.
We know, just as well as the government and all officials do, that this provision on interest deductibility for foreign investments is used by companies to avoid paying taxes. This is commonly known as double-dipping, in other words, a company deducts the same interest in two, and sometimes more, different jurisdictions. It pays taxes on interest income in jurisdictions with extremely low or non-existent tax rates and deducts interest income in jurisdictions where tax rates are very high, or at least higher, which is the case in Canada, for example.
In the Standing Committee on Finance, we are currently discussing and analyzing this issue. We believe it would be appropriate to await these results, to have the bill, the government's notice of ways and means before making a definitive statement on this.
As for the second part of the Liberal Party motion on income trusts, I think the Liberal Party's record, as well as the Conservative Party's, is pathetic. Unfortunately, I understand that I will not have enough time to address this second matter immediately. I am sure I will have a chance to continue after question period.