moved for leave to introduce Bill C-222, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (Canada-Barbados Income Tax Agreement).
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce a bill to amend the Income Tax Act in order to close tax loopholes that exist in Barbados, which is Canada's tax haven. Companies that generate profits there can repatriate those funds to Canada tax-free, even though that is not what is set out in the tax treaty.
The GDP of Barbados is roughly the same as that of my hometown, Joliette. On paper, however, Canadian companies invest three times more in Barbados than in France. For years now, the government has been saying that we need to wait for all countries around the world to take action before we tackle the problem. It says that nothing can be done through legislation. This bill proves that it is possible to take action through legislation. It sends a powerful message.
Finding the loophole in the maze made up of the act, the regulations, and the treaties was not easy. I want to thank everyone who helped me, including the experts I consulted and the groups that are calling for an end to tax havens. I also want to thank the legal officers of the House, who did a huge amount of work in very little time to draft this bill in impeccable legal form.
I am not suggesting that this bill solves everything. White collar criminals are very creative. However, by closing the loophole that exists in Barbados, this bill makes an important contribution to our efforts to create a fairer tax system.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)