Investissement Quebec finances a firm operating in a tax haven 'for the benefit of Quebecers'

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The Legault government is defending a $25-million investment by Investissement Québec (IQ) in a company that does business in a tax haven.

The firm White Star does business in Guernsey, an island known as a tax haven.

"Investissement Québec makes decisions for the benefit of Quebecers,'' argued the minister responsible for IQ, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Wednesday after the cabinet meeting, arguing that the investment was made in Quebec.

"It's an appropriate investment," Finance Minister Eric Girard said at a scrum in Parliament Wednesday, adding that all the checks had been done.

He was the one who defended the investment in question period, rather than Fitzgibbon, who is responsible for IQ.

"The Minister of the Economy does not stand up (to answer the question)," said Liberal MNA Marwah Rizqy, herself a tax expert. "Is it because he is embarrassed today? Because the last time I looked, the island of Guernsey is clearly a tax haven. (...) Quebecers pay their taxes. Do your friends?"

Liberal MNA Monsef Derraji tried to find out what the economy minister's involvement was in the decision to invest in the new fund.

Government House Leader Simon Jolin-Barrette believes that the Opposition is "trying to smear the minister of the economy, it doesn't make sense."

Fitzgibbon 'has not been involved,' retorted Girard, adding that 'we keep a healthy distance.'

He said it was necessary to invest in funds that help 'start-up' companies like White Star.

"The White Star fund is run by two dynamic Quebecers," he said.

"Investissement Québec has done all the checks and balances," he continued in a press scrum. IQ deals through a Canadian limited partnership and all tax obligations are met, he said.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 27, 2021.

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