Stephen Harper is like the guy who loses a coin toss (i.e. upcoming by-elections) and then says: “let’s make it the best two out of three”.
How is this for Harper’s dysfunctional on again, off again democracy du jour:
Harper calls three federal byelections
By THE CANADIAN PRESS
July 25, 2008
Stephen Harper in a file photo. (CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)
OTTAWA - Canadians will get an early look at a general election writ small this fall after Prime Minister Stephen Harper called federal byelections in three ridings in Quebec and Ontario.
The results of the Sept. 8 vote will reflect the impact of the slowing economy on Harper's Conservative party fortunes. They'll also provide an early indicator of any bounce or bottoming out as a result of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's decision to make the environment the centrepiece of his summer stumping at a time when manufacturing jobs are disappearing in Canada's two most populous provinces.
The Conservatives are actively minimizing their chances in the by-elections, belying significant efforts they're making in at least two of the contests.
Harper calls a 4th federal byelection,
August 17, 2008 |
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called a fourth federal byelection for Sept. 22 in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West, setting the stage for a possible general election later this fall.
Voting in three other federal ridings for Sept. 8 was already announced last month by Harper. They include the Ontario riding of Guelph, and Saint-Lambert and Westmount-Ville-Marie in Quebec.
The Don Valley West riding had been held by long-serving Liberal John Godfrey, who signalled his intention to resign the seat some time ago but didn't make it official until Aug. 1.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 11:56 AM
Saturday, August 30, 2008
By Ralph Goodale, M.P.
From its first day in office, Stephen Harper’s government has been one of questionable legitimacy.
The Conservatives made two massive, vote-buying promises in the last campaign which they quickly dishonoured. One was never to tax Income Trusts. The other was to pay Saskatchewan $800 million more every year in Equalization.
Such bare-faced dishonesty obviously undermines Conservative legitimacy.
Their position is further eroded by the serious legal questions which have been raised by the Chief Electoral Officer about a Conservative election financing scam in the last campaign.
Respected, independent election officials are investigating whether campaign spending limits were violated at the national level, while illegitimate reimbursement claims were filed locally.
On top of that, the Conservatives benefited shamelessly from the extraordinary and inexplicable involvement of the RCMP in the last campaign. Every credible independent observer says this incident in the midst of the last election had a huge and totally improper impact.
Two and a half years later, Stephen Harper now wants a snap election – in violation of his promise of a fixed election date in October of 2009.
The illegitimate Conservative behaviour continues.
What has the Harper government so panicked that they are prepared to break their word to Canadians – yet again – and even break the spirit of the fixed-election-date law which they, themselves, enacted?
They’re spooked by at least three things on the horizon, which don’t look good for Mr. Harper.
First, the Conservatives will lose all four of the federal byelections called for September.
Secondly, the national economy is getting into deeper trouble, and the responsibility will rest squarely on Mr. Harper’s shoulders.
And third, the investigations into Conservative ethical lapses are exposing more and more illustrations of apparent Conservative corruption and incompetence
Posted by Fillibluster at 9:05 PM
“You have to either leave it alone or unfix it,” Mr. Flaherty shrugged Wednesday. “We were going to see the largest telecommunications company in the country not pay corporate taxes, lay off another 1,500 workers bringing the total to 4,000 and continue increasing text messaging fees and other service fees, while grossly under funding its capital investment program, given the $44 billion of junk bond debt caused by my income trust blunder of a policy. That's a clear and present danger to fairness and my re-election chances. I thought we had to act....”
The above mock quote is derived from the justification that Flaherty gave on November 1, 2006 for his broken income trust promise as reported in the Globe, which read:
“You have to either leave it alone or fix it,” Mr. Flaherty shrugged Wednesday. “We were going to see the two largest telecommunications companies in the country not pay corporate taxes. That's a clear and present danger to fairness in the Canadian tax system. I thought we had to act.”
PS: Who is the smaller man in the above photo? Flaherty? Harper?
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:12 AM
Friday, August 29, 2008
Harper’s reasoning for dissolving Parliament is simply beyond reasoning. His reasons, however are far more obvious. He doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of an Outremont-revisited, in which the Liberal’s leadership under Stephane Dion last year was being called into question. These four by-elections presently underway, were called at a time of maximum political convenience for Stephen Harper, or so he thought at the time. Now he is aborting them through his own manipulations of our Parliamentary system. As his empty rationale, he cites that Parliament is dysfunctional. How plausible is that , given that Parliament isn’t even in session?
No, Stephen Harper is engaged in a form of democratic censorship. Uncomfortable with the message that voters are likely to cast in these four by-elections, three of which are two thirds pregnant at this point.....Harper decides to terminate them in the hopes that he can mask the message that will be obvious to all in their results......which is that Harper has gone stale on the vine.
Let’s hope our Governor General is able to see through this ruse for what it is, and deny Harper his chance to truncate the democratic process that is now underway in Guelph, Westmount-Ville Marie, Saint Lambert and Don Valley West.
This is incumbent on her as the Queen’s representative in Canada.....to see these by-elections through to their final result, whatever that may be...and free of intervention at the highest levels of self interest.
Posted by Fillibluster at 4:59 PM
Please provide your feedback on the above billboard that we are preparing for the upcoming election.....assuming Harper decides to break yet another promise, in this case his faux fixed election promise.
Do you think Harper looks better in red or blue... or doesn't it matter?
Posted by Fillibluster at 12:58 PM
Jean Léopold Dominique (July 30, 1930 – April 3, 2000) was a noted Haïtian journalist who spoke out against successive dictatorships.
Harper is planning to usurp the by-elections and the proper functioning of a democracy. A by-election process he began, and now a by=election process he is whimsically terminating for reasons solely related to himself.
This is like robbing a bank....in broad daylight.
The GG should forbid this. This isn’t Haiti after all, the Governor Generals’ country of birth....and the scene of this despicable backwater form of democracy that Stephen “Haiti” Harper has a penchant for.
Over to you, Governor General. Do you wish to play a hand in replicating in Canada, the electoral abuses of the country you fled?
Launch of election campaign expected as early as next week, pre-empting three by-elections
TheStar.com - Canada - PM to meet Duceppe, Layton as vote looms
August 29, 2008
OTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be clear to launch a federal election as early as this weekend after he meets two of the three opposition party leaders, Conservative sources say.
A last-minute schedule change will allow Harper to sit down with Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe at 11 a.m. today at 24 Sussex Dr. for a highly anticipated discussion on whether the government's agenda for the fall should be supplanted by a campaign and mid-October vote. Harper meets NDP Leader Jack Layton tomorrow.
The meetings aren't likely to throw the election march off course.
Duceppe has vowed to introduce a motion of non-confidence in the government as soon as possible should Parliament actually return from its summer break on Sept. 15. Layton, who initially said the Prime Minister should not ask Governor-General Michaëlle Jean to dissolve Parliament, is also talking tough. He said he doesn't expect to find common ground with Harper and will do nothing to dissuade him from calling a vote.
"I'm going to tell him that if you want to quit your job, I'm going to apply for it," he told CBC-TV from Denver. "I think the fix is in. I think he's going through a charade here."
Harper has already written off a proposed Sept. 9 meeting with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, which would come one day after three scheduled by-elections, saying it's a delaying tactic that shows Liberals aren't serious about working with his government.
"All the signs indicate that this Parliament is at the end of its productiveness," Harper said at a cabinet meeting in Inuvik, N.W.T.
In the 308-seat House of Commons, the Conservatives hold 127 seats, the Liberals 95, the Bloc 48 and the NDP 30. There are four independent MPs and four vacant seats.
Still, the strategy behind the timing of the election call remains delicate and two Tory sources said the party hasn't decided exactly when it will launch the campaign.
A government source said yesterday that an election call as early as Sept. 2 "could happen," but it would be a surprise because word had not gone out as of yesterday for Conservative staffers to start clearing out their Parliament Hill desks.
"It'll be at least another week," the source predicted.
A source in the Conservative party added that an election call as early as Tuesday is "unrealistic" as there are still issues to be cleared up such as putting election machinery in place and nominating candidates.
"Everything is very volatile," the source said.
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:23 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Canadians must trust.
That was the message delivered to me and probably a couple hundred thousand other Canadians who got sucker-punched by Stephen Harper on his income trust betrayal and who wrote to him in dismay. It took Harper three weeks to come up with that messaging. If you can believe it, Harper felt that his best argument after his blatant income trust betrayal, was to call upon Canadians’ trust. He must think we are as psycho as him.
Canadians must trust?
That doctrine has become increasingly more ragged since it was first spun back on November 23, 2006.
It is worth asking the question....how much trust has Stephen truly engendered in the hearts and minds of Canadians as a result of:
(1) Income trust betrayal?
(2) Firing of Linda Keen, Head of Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission?
(3) Bribery attempt of Chuck Cadman, as revealed in Harper’s self incriminating tape recorded admissions?
(4) Now you see it, now you don’t, in and out taxpayer fraud?
(5) Farming out of food inspection to industry?
(6) Harper’s pending broken trust with Canadians over his fixed election date commitment?
No doubt, there are those resolute souls out there who think Harper is worthy of their ongoing trust. The skill testing question for them, is simply: Why?
Perhaps it's time for a new cult.
Might I suggest, "Canadians need answers"....starting with items (1) through (6), above.
Posted by Fillibluster at 10:30 PM
Who in their right mind would elect a government that acts to limit one's choices?
Well, Stephen Harper is the head of such a government. For example, he believes in restricting what Canadians can do with their discretionary after tax earnings.
Income trusts were the first choice to be eliminated. He did this to support the sagging interest on the part of savvy investors in corporations like BCE who are very adept at squandering their earnings and loathe to pay dividends to their shareholders/owners.
Next on the list of choices to be eliminated will be home choices, specifically condos. Followed by vacation destinations. That's likely to mean a double whammy if you own a condo in Florida.
Harper is also contemplating a one child per family rule for anyone who votes Liberal or Green in the next election. These measures will be retroactive. Voters for the NDP or Bloc are exempted, as votes for the NDP or the Bloc are as good as a vote for the Conservatives.
Posted by Fillibluster at 9:12 PM
Think back a year ago. Talk was all about the Montebello SPP Summit and the self interests being advanced by the single gene pool known as the North American Competitiveness Council. (NACC). Single gene pool because the NACC is made up of 10 look alike CEO’s from Canada and an equal number from the US and Mexico. Evidently our political “leadership” thinks that total capitulation to the whims of corporate interests is the way to go. Yippee.
Emblematic of the Montebello summit was the infiltration or otherwise peaceful demonstrators with masked, rock toting members of the Quebec police.......and the Jelly Bean agenda advanced by Canada’s Jelly Bean Tycoon, David Ganong.
The jelly bean agenda philosophy would see Canadian government doing whatever is expedient or efficient for business. Apparently the Jelly bean Tycoon’s ability to compete was totally frustrated by the fact that he had to package his jelly beans in two different packages. One for the US. One for Canada. He wanted one type of package, oblivious to the fact that Canada is a bilingual country. So who better to go crying to than Stephen Harper and George Bush?
Both George Bush and Stephen Harper thought this idea was swell, and that business interests are paramount in our society. The same myopic thinking led to Harper reneging on his income trust promise after falling under the spell of a few of these NACC folk, like Paul Desmarais Jr. Dominic D’Allessandro and Michael Sabia.
Fast forward to today.
These listeriosis deaths of today, caused by the grossly lax inspections standards at Maple Leaf Foods are simply one manifestation of world governed by the Jelly Bean Agenda. The lunatic fringe was making these kind of predictions a year ago. Of course no one listened as the lunatic fringe is lunatic and concerned about public safety. The lunatic fringe also just happen to be right in terms of the cost to Canadians of totally capitulating to the whims and wishes of groups like the NACC....the SPP...or Stephen Harper.
The death toll is now 12, but the NACC will be happy to know that Maple Leaf Foods shares (TSX:MFI) rose more than four per cent Wednesday, rebounding after hitting a new low a day earlier amid a nationwide recall in response to a listeriosis outbreak.
Posted by Fillibluster at 2:26 PM
What kind of corporate culture does it instill, when your controlling shareholder is breaking its own rules?
Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is a major shareholder of Maple Leaf Foods, owning 33% of the company's equity.
As with Maple Leaf Foods, Ontario Teachers is breaking its own rules, by controlling more than 30% of the votes of BCE. Canadian legislators wisely did not want any one pension fund exerting too much influence over Canadian companies or constrain them artificially. Teacher’s does not have the financial capacity to own 50% of BCE. By over-reaching in its investment in BCE, Teachers’ had to resort to destroying the credit worthiness of the company at the cost of $1 billion to its present bond investors and at the cost of dramatically increasing the company’s cost of capital and in turn, BCE’s competitiveness. This financial incapacity on the part of Tecahers’ has resulted in the company reneging on its obligation to pay promised dividends to its shareholders of some $1 billion, the firing of 2,500 employees and the announcement of a capital-light investment plan that will do nothing to see Canada advance in the delivery of state of the art telecommunications.
Teachers’ also leaned on many groups to support its application before the CRTC. One such party was Maple Leaf Foods. It is interesting to read what Micahel McCain highlighted in his letter to the CRTC about what was of primary investment concern to Teachers’:
“Teachers’ recognizes our need to invest in marketing, advertising and community involvement.”
That statement is most insightful for what it doesn’t say, as Teachers’ seems to prefer fluff like marketing and advertising, over the real stuff like investments in product safety and world class facilities, not worthy of mention by Michael McCain to the CRTC.
Here is the full letter
January 18, 2008
Re: Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2007-19
Support for the application by BCE Inc. (BCE) to effect a change in ownership and control
As President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, I am pleased to submit our company’s support for the application of BCE for a change in ownership and control of the company to a group of investors that is lead (sic) by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Maple Leaf Foods is Canada’s leading food processor, supported by our flagship consumer brands – Maple Leaf, Schneiders and Dempster’s and a family of strong regional brands. We are market leaders across our businesses and intend to sustain strong profitable growth through meeting customer and consumer needs for the highest quality, most nutritious and innovative food products – from farm to fork.
A factor in our company’s success and leading position, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has been a major investor in Maple Leaf Foods for more than 12 years. Although Teachers’ initial investment was a private equity investment alongside the McCain family, their long term investment focus has been illustrated by the fact that they remain a significant investor in our company today, years after the initial public offering of our company.
Teachers’ focus has been one of supporting strong Canadian companies over the long term, rather than expecting a small quick result. Teachers’ supported our executive team and board of directors in our successful efforts to strengthen the business and improve its value, especially our growth strategy which includes strategic acquisitions. Their vision, long term value creation horizon, and keen respect for all our stakeholders has been foundational to Maple Leaf Foods.
Teachers’ recognizes our need to invest in marketing, advertising and community involvement. With 73 per cent of our $6 billion in annual sales generated in Canada, Maple Leaf Foods has a high profile and strong presence across the country, especially as a major Canadian media buyer. We donate one per cent of our pre –tax profits to worthy causes in the form of both cash and in-kind gifts.
We believe the Teachers’-led investment team will provide BCE with the resources it needs for continued and renewed success, as it has, and does, for Maple Leaf Foods.
Michael H. McCain
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:56 AM
By guest contributor: Kephalos
Let me do a brief "Current Events":
Four weeks ago, Harper called the by-elections for next week.
Two weeks ago, he called another by-election.
Dion's platform has been in the public news for two months now.
I read in the news that the nasty Dion has forced our PM into calling a general election.
But in the last week what changed?
What changed is that the Tory VoteStar has polled in the by-election ridings, and the probings found that the PCP has lost that winning feeling.
Stephen Harper is in a manic panic of reality denial.
He has the scent of a loser.
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:17 AM
The articles in the Globe and Mail, and in particular their titles, are deliberate “plants”, whose main purpose is to afford those whose bidding the Globe does, with “sound bites” to use in the broader public as a defense against arguments for which there would otherwise be no defense. People like Flaherty need to be able to point to articles that are supportive of his position on income trusts, especially in the days leading up to an election. This is why we have people like Derek DeCloet writing articles on July 29, 2008 that read “Jim Flaherty, trust investors' best friend. Seriously” and Rob Carrick writing articles on August 23, 2008 that read “Much-maligned income trusts: Down but not out”
The purpose of these articles is two fold. First, most of the Globe’s readers only scan the titles of the articles. Therefore these titles are intended to leave the casual reader with the false impression that the Globe deliberately intends to convey. These articles are also then often cited by politicians in debate and in letters as a form of third party independent verification of the real world. The Globe and Mail is the furthest thing possible from being an “independent third party verification of the real world”.....as I would expect is becoming abundantly obvious to all.
The other purpose to which these misleading articles are put to, is to provide what are called internet “trolls” who are ideologically aligned with (or paid by) the Conservative Party with material to go around and quell discontent on a given issue. Below is just such an example from the Conservative troll, known as wilson. Strange that he would make this point about income trusts’ value in an article about whether the Governor General should concede to Harper’s Variable Election Date request or not.
Sorry to say, but in my view, the inevitable demise of the print news media can’t happen soon enough. People like Derek DeCloet and Rob Carrick are working overtime to make that happen sooner rather than later.
wilson has left a new comment on your post "Note to Governor General: Just say no....ours is a country of laws
Much-maligned income trusts: Down but not outROB CARRICK August 23, 2008Trusts have actually performed quite well as a group in the past year or so, but this is in large part a result of the fact that energy trusts have benefited from the multiyear rise in oil and gas prices. Some other trusts have struggled lately, which is good news for income seekers. As a trust's price falls, the yield on its monthly or quarterly cash payout rises.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/GAM.20080823.STMAIN23/TPStory/TPComment
Posted by wilson to C A I T I - O N L I N E
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:03 AM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
How plausible is it for Stephen Harper to say that Parliament is dysfunctional, and for this to become His rationale for reneging on His fixed election date contract with voters? Parliament is not even in session. If Parliament’s dysfunction had been an issue, Harper should have informed Canadians about that reality back in June.
So why now? Well the reason is most obvious and most telling about Steve and His false bravado. Certain parts of Parliament have been at work this past summer, specifically the Ethics Committee and their investigation of Harper’s In and Out taxpayer scam. In this respect Parliament is working very well indeed. In fact too well for Harper’s personal liking. As such we are merely pawns in the Hands of Stephen. As always, he will do as He pleases.
Meanwhile the Cadman lawsuit has placed Steve’s self-incriminating bribery confession into legal limbo. Just where he wants it. As such, Steve has immunized Himself against hearing His words of self confession spread across the airwaves in an election of His own timing. How convenient.....for Him.
Remind me. Just what is it that we are supposed to like about this guy? The fact that he is arrogant, intellectually corrupt and incompetent?
Harper ups ante on election ultimatum
PM eyes triggering snap campaign unless Dion agrees to meet before Sept. 8; Justice Minister vows not to reopen abortion debate
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
August 26, 2008 at 3:51 AM EDT
OTTAWA — The rush for a snap election is quickening as senior Conservatives indicated that Prime Minister Stephen Harper might not wait to meet Stéphane Dion before calling a vote if the Liberal Leader does not agree to talks next week.
That could set the stage for a campaign triggered next week, with some Conservatives circling Sept. 5 as the most likely date.
Mr. Harper indicated last week he wanted crisis-atmosphere meetings with opposition leaders within a few weeks before deciding whether to call an election, but that has led to a cat-and-mouse game over the timing of the tête-à-têtes.
Posted by Fillibluster at 9:29 PM
Harper strongly suggests fall election coming, dismisses fixed election date
46 minutes ago
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has all but stated there will be a federal election this fall, saying his fixed-election-date law won't stop him from pulling the plug on his minority government.
Harper has been ratcheting up the pressure on the opposition parties - particularly Liberal Leader Stephane Dion - for the last month, saying it is time to fish or cut bait.
On Tuesday, the prime minister indicated he won't be waiting to consult all the opposition leaders before making his decision on an autumn vote.
"It's not a matter of polls. As you know, the polls aren't particularly wonderful," Harper said at an Ottawa announcement on funding for Arctic mapping.
"It's a matter of my responsibility as prime minister to make a decision on whether I think the fall session of Parliament can be productive ...
"Certainly spending weeks and weeks playing telephone tag with guys doesn't help me confirm that things are going to be very productive."
Harper said the three opposition parties can't be surprised because they oppose the Conservative government's agenda.
And now that Dion has introduced the Liberal party's carbon-tax proposal, Canadians are presented with dramatically opposed economic plans for the country that must be resolved.
"I think what has changed qualitatively as I have reflected on things over the past few weeks is that Mr. Dion, by laying down his program - his alternative, has now in fact made it impossible for himself and his party to work with the government or find any common ground with the government," said Harper.
As for the three federal byelections the prime minister has already called for Sept. 8, they may not take place.
"We'll have to judge whether it's appropriate to ask people to vote twice in a space of a few weeks," Harper told reporters when asked about the byelections - a powerful hint that the election call is imminent and a general vote will take place before the end of October.
Harper's fixed-election-date legislation that he brought in when he first gained power also appears expendable under the circumstances.
"You can only have certainty about a fixed election date in the context of a majority government," said Harper.
If the majority of MPs want the government to fall, he said, "then it behooves the government to provide some responsibility."
"The country must have a government that can function during a period of economic uncertainty. And if it's not this government or not this Parliament, the public will have an opportunity to decide whom."
Posted by Fillibluster at 1:03 PM
The Globe and Mail is never one to refute Harper’s faux crises. Rather the Globe is Harper’s main promulgator of faux crises:
Harper's Income Trust promise: Broken, based on the faux crisis called tax leakage from BCE/Telus......the Globe had a field day misreporting on that fantasy notion.....cost their readers $35 billion (former readers that is)....why did the Globe not report on the definitive work by Dennis Bruce.....just the numbers produced by the grossly conflicted Jack Mintz? Why did the Globe not report on the fact that neither BCE nor Telus were taxable at the time of the faux crisis.....or on the massive loss of taxes from BCE’s LBO relative to an income trust?
Why did the Globe not report on the Catalyst Proposal and thereby aided BCE’s breaking of disclosure rules for bid circulars? Could it be that the Globe’s owners, BCE and Teachers’ are the real news content editors at the Globe? Here’s an even tougher question. Is today Tuesday?
Harper's Fixed Election date promise: About to be broken, based on the faux crisis called dysfunctional parliament......has the Globe reported on the word by word content of Harper’s 200 page manual of how to obstruct Parliament that is in Don Martin’s possession, which would assist Canadians in understanding just who is responsible for making Parliament dysfunctional......since we already know who is making journalism dysfunctional in Canada;
Harper ups ante on election ultimatum
PM eyes triggering snap campaign unless Dion agrees to meet before Sept. 8; Justice Minister vows not to reopen abortion debate
With a report from The Canadian Press
August 26, 2008
OTTAWA -- The rush for a snap election is quickening as senior Conservatives indicated that Prime Minister Stephen Harper might not wait to meet Stéphane Dion before calling a vote if the Liberal Leader does not agree to talks next week.
That could set the stage for a campaign triggered next week, with some Conservatives circling Sept. 5 as the most likely date.
Mr. Harper indicated last week he wanted crisis-atmosphere meetings with opposition leaders within a few weeks before deciding whether to call an election, but that has led to a cat-and-mouse game over the timing of the tête-à-têtes.
Blah Blah Blah
Posted by Fillibluster at 9:19 AM
Monday, August 25, 2008
Press Release – Aug 25, 2008 – for immediate release
$50,000 offered in scholarships if Flaherty will debate income trust tax
An organization which is opposed to Jim Flaherty's decision to tax income trusts has offered $50,000 in scholarships to students in the Whitby-Oshawa riding as an inducement to Flaherty to publicly debate the issue.
”Given the economic turmoil in the Region's key auto sector and the need for higher education, the offer should be accepted,” says Doug Anderson the Green party candidate who is running against Flaherty in the next election.
Brent Fullard the president of the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors (CAITI) has challenged the Finance Minister to a public debate. CAITI contends that when the Conservative government broke its 2006 election promise to "never tax income trusts" it reduced the equity in existing trusts by $31.5 billion dollars. Much of this was held in personal retirement savings funds and many seniors found their life savings devastated.
The Ministry of Finance claimed that the government was losing too much revenue – that income trusts caused "tax leakage".
However, numerous financial managers such as BMO Capital Markets, Cannaccord Capital and RBC World Markets have crunched the numbers themselves and have found that the tax implications of income trusts were either neutral or even positive.
Both the Green Party and the Liberals have challenged the income trust tax.
When asked to defend the trust tax, the Finance ministry released several pages on which all the relevant numbers were blacked out. The current line from Dan Miles who is Flaherty's Director of Communications is that the "tax decision is now law" and people should "move on".
Green party leader, Elizabeth May stated that “parliamentarians need objective fact based information on how well the Government raises its funds. The Harper government’s actions do not demonstrate the accountability or transparency necessary for the proper functioning of a modern democracy,”
“The public, and especially those seniors who lost their savings, have a right to some answers. It is clear that Flaherty would prefer to avoid this issue, and that’s why Fullard has offered of $50,000 in scholarships as an inducement,” said Anderson.
Flaherty will have to address the issue in the next election as CAITI and both the Liberal and Green parties have vowed that it won't go away.
Posted by Fillibluster at 3:41 PM
Despite the fact that Ottawa will lose more taxes from BCE as a Private LBO versus an income trust (i.e. $800 million per year), Jim Flaherty was supportive of the LBO, even though it also saw BCE’s debt reduced to junk bond status and its cost of capital go through the roof. Here’s what Flaherty said a year ago
“More important, though, he said that the new owners would likely be able to invest in upgraded technology - such as fibre optic wiring to households or the wireless network - that, in turn, will help increase Canadian productivity. Improved wiring to Canadian homes would allow Bell Canada to deliver faster Internet service to its customers, and allow it to keep pace with their cable company rivals.”
Jim: It looks like that ain’t happening.....why should we not be surprised?
Question for Jim Flaherty: exactly where is the upside in the LBO of BCE for Canadians?
BCE moves into the future – slowly
From Monday's Globe and Mail
August 25, 2008 at 3:34 AM EDT
How will BCE Inc. spend money on its business following privatization? Conservatively.
The country's largest communications carrier has chosen an investment plan for upgrading its residential broadband network.
Rather than a massive spending spree to roll out fibre optic cable to all its customers' homes, Bell Canada has opted instead for a more moderate approach that it says is sufficient to compete with cable companies.
Bell announced that it will run fibre-optic cable to condominium and apartment buildings under construction between Quebec City and Windsor.
All other homes on the Bell Canada network will continue to receive signals over existing copper wiring.
The decision is part of a rapid series of changes George Cope, the new chief executive officer, is implementing in his first 100 days at the helm.
Some industry experts consider the move a step backward, saying that previous management had committed five years ago to put fibre in all new developments.
With the latest decision, the company will only offer fibre to new buildings containing 100 or more residences each.
In addition, the fibre stops at the basement.
Bell will run traffic over copper wires from the basement into each new unit of the building.
Mr. Cope and his leadership team face a delicate balancing act. They need to invest aggressively enough to keep pace with cable companies' networks, and they need to cut costs to allow BCE's purchasers to manage payments on about $30-billion of debt incurred to complete their buyout.
"If you polled the average guy on the street who knew anything about buyouts, they'd say, 'Oh my gosh, Bell is going to stop investing.' The neat thing about this announcement is that that's absolutely not the case," said Kevin Crull, president of Bell residential services. "We're investing with discipline in growing markets and where we know we can win competitively."
Most Bell Canada customers will see broadband Internet speeds increase as the company deploys fibre optic cable to neighbourhoods and then relies on older infrastructure to complete the last kilometre. The company is in the middle of a $1.2-billion project to deploy fibre to neighbourhoods. That rollout began in 2005 and should be completed by 2011. By the end of this year, the company expects to have 2.4 million households covered by this method, Mr. Crull said.
The technology, however, does not give Bell Canada the speed of its cable competitors. Vidéotron Télécom Ltée, for example, offers download speeds of up to 50 megabytes per second for $80 a month. Bell's top service is just 16 Mbps and costs more.
Mr. Crull said rivals cannot guarantee those high speeds and their service deteriorates depending on traffic volume. Furthermore, he said, the majority of customers have no use for speeds above 10 Mbps.
Bell Canada has already deployed fibre into dozens of condominium buildings in Toronto and Montreal as part of a test program started more than five years ago. The company developed technology and trained crews for the job, which is just one of the reasons the newly outlined policy falls short, some analysts said.
"Given the dropping cost of fibre gear, Bell's decision is surprising," said Dave Burstein, editor of DSL Prime, a newsletter about broadband. "It may be an attempt to keep operations simple by holding back on new technology."
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:33 AM
You'd think if anyone would know if BCE was paying corporate taxes, it would be Canada’s Minister of Finance, wouldn’t you? Think again. Here’s what Flaherty told Parliament on November 9, 2006:
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis:
"While we're on the income trust issue, how much did department officials estimate the status quo on income trusts was going to cost the treasury?"
Hon. Jim Flaherty: "Were TELUS and BCE to convert to income trusts as they had announced they intended to do; and then the corporate income taxes that would not have been paid by those two companies, which they have spoken about publicly, in their own estimates, were together in excess of $1 billion next year."
$1 billion in taxes? BCE and Telus? Sorry Jim, the actual number is zero. How could you as Finance Minister not know that? As follows:
December 12, 2006- Bell announces 2007 business outlook ….Bell expects it will have no significant federal cash taxes through 2010, due to organizational simplification enabling accelerated use of Bell's R&D tax credits…
December 14, 2006 - TELUS sets 2007 financial and operating targets Based on a an updated review of the company's tax loss position, TELUS now expects minimal cash tax payments in 2007, a preliminary estimate of approximately $100 million in 2008 with the payment of significant cash taxes largely deferred to 2009, rather than 2008 as previously anticipated."
So what is Flaherty talking about when he said: “[BCE’s and Telus’ forecasted taxes] were together in excess of $1 billion next year.”? The Finance Minister is deliberately misleading Parliament on a pivotal issue of fact.
Meanwhile, you’d think if BCE had been serious about converting to an income trust, they’d have been devastated by Flaherty’s Halloween 2006 announcement that prevented BCE's conversion, wouldn’t you? Think again. Here’s what the Globe reported on November 2, 2006:
“At Telus headquarters in Vancouver, where it was still midafternoon, the reaction was disbelief. In Montreal, the mood was decidedly more upbeat..... and “there was dancing in hallways at Bell” after Ottawa's announcement.”
Dancing in the hallways?
Where did Flaherty ever get the notion that BCE was paying corporate taxes or was on the verge of paying taxes? Why did BCE's CEO not properly inform Flaherty of BCE’s true tax position during the many conversations that took place between the two of them in the days and weeks leading up to Halloween 2006? Was Flaherty misled by BCE? Was Flaherty misled by his advisors in Finance like Mark Carney?.....or did Flaherty know the truth and sought to knowingly mislead Canadians?
It would appear that Canada’s Minster of Finance does not know the difference between corporate deferred taxes and corporate cash taxes. BCE and Telus may have been expected to pay $1 billion in taxes in the upcoming year, however all of those taxes were deferred taxes and none of them were cash taxes.......SLIGHT DIFFERENCE! Flaherty is treating corporate deferred taxes like money in the bank, even though they are unlikely to ever be paid, as deferred corporate taxes are somewhat of an accounting artifice.
Meanwhile when it comes to personal taxes, Flaherty’s treatment of deferred taxes is the exact opposite. Flaherty assigns zero value to the deferred taxes on the 38% of income trusts held in RRSPs even though there is absolute certainty that these personal deferred taxes WILL be paid. As such, tax leakage is a manufacture argument, contrived by Mark Carney, exploited by Flaherty.
Perhaps this is why there was dancing in the hallways at BCE......Flaherty had been successfully misled about BCE’s tax status as corporation?
Meanwhile it’s Canadian taxpayers at large who are being snookered by these false claims of BCE’s lost corporate taxes by Canada's Finance Minister as his central justification for the reversal of Harper’s income trust promise.
Thereafter, BCE became the target of a private leveraged buyout.....the ultimate irony, since the LBO of BCE will cost taxpayers $800 million PER YEAR in lost taxes....relative to an income trust or the Catalyst Recap Proposal.....that BCE's CEO went to every length possible to scuttle via non-disclosure.
I guess, when it comes to Finance Ministers and its shareholders, BCE doesn't believe in full, true and plain disclosure. Ditto the Finance Minister himself.
Posted by Fillibluster at 7:57 AM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister of Broken Promises. He is also the Prime Minister of False Premises for broken promises.
Harper’s fixed election promise is causing him grief....so he manufactures a false argument to “justify” breaking his promise.....Parliament is dysfunctional.....of Harper’s own doing
This is exactly like Harper’s solemn promise not to double tax income trusts. Then he got lobbied by people like Paul Desmarai Jr and Gwyn Morgan.
So Harper manufactured the completely False Premise that income trusts cause tax leakage.....of Harper’s own doing.. Such an argument is totally false and fraudulent as it excludes 38% of the taxes paid by trust taxpayers.
Meanwhile, where’s is the PRESS? The Canadian press are not up to the task of investigating and reporting the truth. Making them 80% complicit in Harper’s $35 billion fraud.
Dion says he will meet with Harper to discuss a fall election
August 24, 2008
17 hours ago
MONTREAL — Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said he is ready to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Dion confirmed Saturday the two men will meet but that no date has yet been set.
The prime minister said in the past week that he wanted to meet with the three opposition parties to discuss whether Parliament would be able to function this fall.
The Liberal Leader said he will ask the prime minister why he wants to overrule his own fixed-date election law.
"What happened in the last few days that justifies calling a general election?" Dion asked during a news conference.
He was responding to the Tories' threat to call an election before fall session begins on Sept. 15.
"Parliament is doing its work," he said.
Dion also accused Harper of "manufacturing a parliamentary crisis that does not exist."
The Conservatives passed a law that set the next election for Oct, 2009, but the legislation contains a loophole that experts say effectively allows the prime minister to call an election whenever he wants.
The Liberal Leader campaigned in the Quebec riding of St. Lambert Saturday for two byelections that will be held in the Montreal-area on Sept. 8.
Posted by Fillibluster at 12:27 PM
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Top ten reasons why Harper wants an election now:
(1) Harper never knew a promise that he didn’t want to break, in this case his fixed election date promise
(2) The economy is tanking
(3) Harper’s Cadman bribery scandal delay tactic can only work for so long
(4) The economy is tanking
(5) Harper’s In and Out election scandal delay tactic can only work so long
(6) The economy is tanking
(7) Harper’s Mulroney Influence Peddling Inquiry is just around the corner
(8) The economy is tanking
(9) US election doesn’t bode well for George Bush-lite candidates, like Harper
(10) The economy is tanking
Bonus reason: Harper desperately needs to unveil his new list of election promises, in order to commence reneging on them ASAP......did I mention the economy is tanking? Afghanistan is going bad? The Artic’s sovereignty? Obama is still pissed off at Harper?
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:36 AM
It is a very wise political move on the part of Stephane Dion to elicit from Harper a clear position on where Harper stands on various issues like abortion.
But we already know the answer. Stephen Harper is pro-life. He is pro-Manulife.He is against investors' right to chose.
Stephen Harper believes in an interventionist form of government that takes away choice......and penalizes those who oppose his dogma, retroactively.
The fact that promised he would do the opposite during an election, doesn’t faze him one iota. Ditto on the fixed election date commitment
One minute he supports the right of investors to chose. The next minute he is pro Manulife. That cost Canadians a mere $35 billion, plus the inestimable cost arising from the loss of choice
Taking away choice, presupposes that the state knows best. The state is imposing restrictions on where you can invest YOUR money. Meanwhile these restrictions do not apply to pension funds.
That’s Harper’s idea of a Tax Fairness Plan:
Pro-OMERs and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
And against the right of investors to chose.
Posted by Fillibluster at 7:40 AM
Friday, August 22, 2008
August 21, 2008
The Hon. James M. Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Re: $50,000 Financial Literacy Scholarship Fund
You may have read in today’s Financial Post that I would like to establish a $50,000 scholarship to fund the university tuition costs of a number of worthy business students, in the name of promoting financial literacy.
I know that you have recently spoken out for the need for greater financial literacy in our country, and no doubt you acknowledge the need for greater access to higher learning for those individuals who might otherwise be constrained in their ability to finance the rising cost of a university education. As you probably know, business schools have some of the highest tuition fees of all undergraduate degrees.
I am therefore writing you to inform you that I am willing to establish a $50,000 university scholarship fund at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Students would be selected on the basis of an essay competition, focusing on the broad topic of financial literacy.
I am willing to proceed with the endowment of this scholarship on the basis that you would be willing to donate an hour and a half of your time to engage in a public debate with me on the topic of:
TFP: “Tax Fairness Plan” or “Tax Failure Plan”?
It is proposed that you would defend the “fairness” side of this debate and I would defend the “failure” side.
The debate would take place in downtown Toronto in a venue to be provided by me and at a time that is convenient to you. The public would be invited and encouraged to donate to the scholarship by way of tickets for the event. My guarantee will ensure that no less than $50,000 would be raised.
The impetus for such a debate came originally from one of your Ontario Member of Parliament colleagues who was quoted in the March 31, 2008 Hill Times as saying:
“I don’t think Jim’s losing any sleep over it. As a matter of fact, I’m sure of it. I’m sure he’d love to go a couple of rounds with these guys in a debate situation.”
“These guys” was in reference to the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors, of which I am the President & CEO and founder.
You may recall that the Hill Times printed a letter of mine to the Editor in the April 7, 2008 edition of the Hill Times, complete with head shots of both you and stating that:
“Well, if that is truly the case, then we would certainly welcome such a “debate situation” ourselves, and have three simple questions for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, namely: When? Where? And would you like to bring the 18 pages of blacked out documents of alleged tax leakage, or should we?”
That was the end of that.
The issue arose again in my mind when I learned that your counterpart, the Hon. John McCallum, the Liberal’s Finance critic has agreed to a public debate on September 10, 2008 in Toronto with Seymour Schulich on the topic of the Liberal’s Green Shift policy. A policy, which I understand your party refers to as the Green Shaft.
As intemperate as that language may be, the term Green Shaft is also an apt description, in the minds of many people, for your Tax Fairness Plan. However, those observations are best left for the debate itself.
I realize that you and I may not be the “draw” that John McCallum and Seymour Schulich are , so that is why I am proposing the debate be “underwritten” by me to the extent of guaranteeing a scholarship donation of at least $50,000. The proceeds from our debate would go to a very worthwhile cause, whereas the McCallum debate is a political fundraising activity, which no doubt you would consider a less worthwhile cause.
This is the broad outline of what I am proposing and expect that you would be as willing to debate the Tax Fairness Plan, a major policy platform of the Conservative Party, as John McCallum would the Green Shift, a major policy platform of the Liberal party, furthermore our debate would fund a very worthwhile cause, promoting Financial Literacy at the undergraduate university level.
I look forward to the prospect of your acceptance of this invitation and the debate itself, whereupon the $50,000 will be immediately placed in a trust account payable to the university upon fulfillment of the agreed upon debate.
Please contact me at your earliest opportunity with your decision or to deal with any questions you may have.
Please formally respond to this invitation by way of email at debate@JimHadHisChance.ca
Brent D. Fullard
President & CEO
Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors (Taxpayers)
Posted by Fillibluster at 2:36 PM
Evidently Jim Flaherty has turned down the debating opportunity that would fund a $50,000 scholarship at the Ivey School of Business for Financial Literacy, citing the fact that the Tax Failure Plan is now law. At least that’s what his spokesperson said. I will only believe it when I hear the rejection from Flaherty himself.
Obviously Flaherty needs this debate more than I thought. Perhaps he is unaware that the tax itself doesn’t kick in for another two years, making his “it’s the law” argument both facile and weak. That’s like saying you are willing to go barreling down a dead end highway oblivious to the fact the road ahead ends in cliff, but the law requires that you proceed recklessly ahead and imperil all the passengers in the car in some version of an economic death wish.
I wonder whether Jim Flaherty is even aware of the fact that the rapacious 31.5% tax doesn’t kick in for another two years?
Meanwhile, had Jim not become conscious of the litany of warning signs that line this highway to hell? Signs like CONSTRUCTION AHEAD: BCE LBO results in more lost taxes than an income trust could ever hope to. Or the sign that says ROAD ENDS: Retirees are substantially reducing their standard of living to fund the private equity takeouts of their grossly devalued trusts. The one sign that really irks me is the one that reads STOP: This Finance Minister is reckless.
I wonder whether Jim Flaherty will be running for office in the next election, or simply running from office?
Here’s what Seymour Schulich had to say about Flaherty’s trip down a dead end highway:
Bait and Switch:
We hear a lot about “fish or cut bait” from the Conservatives.....how about this exercise in “bait and switch” :
Hill Times March 31, 2008:
"I don't think Jim's losing any sleep over it. As a matter of fact, I'm sure of it. I'm sure he'd love to go a couple of rounds with these [CAITI] guys in a debate situation."Unnamed Ontario Conservative MP
Financial Post August 22, 2008:
"The tax fairness plan is law. The Minister made his position clear before the finance committee and there is no need for further debate," Flaherty’s press spokesperson said.
Only one problem:
The tax was also the law on March 31, 2008 when the debate between Flaherty and CAITI was first proposed by the Conservatives.
I guess those were simply empty words. An exercise in bait and switch....or in this case debate and switch. These people can’t be taken seriously.
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:39 AM
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Liberals must convince voters the Green Shift is not the shaft
Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Green Shift carbon plan has so far failed to light the fire under the federal Liberals that the party had hoped for.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that leader Stephane Dion chose to launch his new idea in late June, just as Canadians were turning their attention to summer vacation plans. Few people were inclined to ponder Dion's policy on their camping or canoe trips.
While the Green Shift hasn't turned into a green shaft for the Grits, it clearly hasn't benefited them much.....blah blah blah
Meanwhile $35 billion dollars later and the opposite outcome of what was promised, namely tax leakage to replace no tax leakage????
Posted by Fillibluster at 5:05 PM
The proposed debate would be entitled “Tax Fairness Plan" or "Tax Failure Plan”?
Flaherty's $50,000 challenge
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Brent Fullard was an investment banker for about 20 years, a career that included stops at Merrill Lynch, First Marathon and BMO Capital Markets, before retiring in 2003 with a plan to pursue capital markets' ideas that were constrained by the conflicts inherent in a bank-owned dealer.
But retirement for Fullard has been anything but a fade into the sunset. Indeed, he has been busier than ever in pursuing investor advocacy and capital markets opportunities. "It has been remarkably fulfilling and I remain confident that success will be achieved," Fullard says.
The first opportunity occurred in Halloween, 2006, when the Conservative government brought down the hammer on income trusts by decreeing that from 2011, they would start paying taxes. The move, completely contrary to what the Tories said during the election campaign, spurred Fullard into action: He helped form the Canadian Association for Income Trust Investors (CAITI), which mounted a campaign to restore the security of choice for many Canadian investors, particularly seniors who liked the monthly flow of income.
But Fullard, along with CAITI, focused their attention on tax leakage, the ostensible reason for the government's decision. The two commissioned studies that broadly concluded that while there was minimal tax leakage, it was way, way lower relative to the $35-billion "cost" of the government's decision. And Fullard's mood was not improved when Ottawa produced its studies, which showed 18 redacted pages and exposed some fundamental flaws in its methodology.
"If they had shown that there was tax leakage, then a valid reason for their actions would have existed. But that wasn't supported by the facts," he said.
Then along came the BCE privatization. Through Catalyst Asset Management, Fullard met with BCE's directors and developed a proposal whereby BCE shares would be converted to a stapled security. What irked Fullard was not BCE's rejection, but rather that it chose not to make mention of it in all its public disclosures. In Fullard's view, that was a breach of BCE's bid circular disclosure requirements. Concerned that Catalyst's plan wasn't mentioned, Fullard took to the court, first in an appeal court in Quebec and later the Supreme Court.
Now comes word that Fullard is hoping to embark on his next challenge, a debate with Jim Flaherty, the federal Finance Minister, on supposed tax leakage associated with income trusts. In this way, Fullard is responding to a comment attributed to a Flaherty spokesperson in April, 2008, as quoted in the Hill Times: "I don't think Jim's losing any sleep over it. As a matter of fact, I'm sure of it. I'm sure he'd love to go a couple of rounds with these [CAITI] guys in a debate situation."
Fullard's challenge was also inspired by the upcoming debate between Seymour Schulich, one of the country's legendary owner investors and John McCallum, the federal Liberal finance critic, on the question of a carbon tax. Proceeds from the Sept. 10 event will go to McCallum's riding association.
But Fullard's challenge comes with a twist: He will put up $50,000, payable to Flaherty’s favourite charity. Given the Minister's "current crusade on financial literacy," Fullard believes a suitable charitable cause would be an Ontario scholarship for business education. "By doing this we could also help repair some of the damage caused by the Minister's statement that Ontario is the last place to invest."
Posted by Fillibluster at 9:22 AM
I mentioned that I gave Stephen Dion four documents last night at Garth Turner's event in Oakville.
Below is the fourth of those documents which presents my views on how the Liberals need to start messaging the income trust issue.....notice the date:
Garth billed the event as an “idea” session.....think of this is my contribution to the Liberal Party. No tax receipt required:
From: Brent Fullard
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 07:41:53 -0400
To: Herb Metcalf, Andrew Bevan John McCallum, Jim Peterson ,Garth Turner , Scott Brison , John McKay Senator Grafstein , Paul Szabo
Cc: Ralph Goodale
Subject: The Liberal's Messaging on Income Trusts
As a person who has spent an inordinate amount of time on this issue (pro bono) and someone who has been proven correct in his predictions (I wasn’t the only one) about the impact of this policy and its many far reaching effects, please allow me to provide you with some unsolicited advice:
In my opinion, your “messaging” on income trusts is in need of work, as evidenced by Dion’s speech in Edmonton yesterday (income trust excerpts below) . In my opinion this messaging is dated and stale and does not resonate with “the larger audience”. Believe me when I say “Who really cares about restoring two thirds of investors’ lost savings apart from the investors themselves?”.
That messaging of restoring two thirds of the lost value yours was great for February 13, 2007, the day you announced your policy position of a 10% tax. It is clearly not great today, as it ignores all the corroborating events that have occurred since that time all of which are god sends to our cause and in making our/your case . This current messaging will gain you as many voters as it lose voters, witness the editorials following the Calgary consultation a few weeks ago. You gave the press nothing new or substantive to ruminate over, apart from the fact that you were consulting with affected parties which was then cynically portrayed by the press in strictly political terms. You didn’t attack the core falsehoods of this policy or make the direct causal link to takeovers. You didn’t mention the blacked out documents released under ATI. The government’s tax leakage analysis is clearly wrong in that it leaves out 38% of the taxes paid on income trusts. It’s a proven and verifiable fact. You know that, I know that. This is a scandal that is being masked. Who benefits from that?
You have to elevate this issue to the level where all Canadians realize this is negative to them and their children's and grand children's’ futures. That’s easy: loss of sovereignty, loss of general tax revenue. The evidence is firmly in place. Use it. Connect the dots. We’re not making this stuff up or falsely portraying how our issue so readily morphs into vastly larger issues and themes like accountability, transparency, sovereignty, lost tax revenues, hollowing out, betrayal at the hands of government, hidden agenda, gross inequities (pension plan carve out), gross ineptitude (BCE, Prime West) etc.
Make the policy connection. People need to have their “entrenched” views, which have only been established by resonating “intuitive” rhetoric, challenged through the process of “cognitive dissonance” using known facts and subsequent events. Cognitive dissonance is the only way people will rethink their current view on something. People need to be challenged with an “outlier observation” which is inconsistent with their world view and you then offer them an alternative explanation for the entire ball of wax. There are a vast number of “outlier” observations in our quiver. For example, 7 of the 25 largest takeovers of the last 5 years have occurred in the mere 11 months that this policy has been in existence and as a direct consequence of this policy. Many other foreign takeovers will follow. The arguments against this policy are endless.
Which Canadian is unaware about what the reasons for Harper’s shut down of income trusts were?(BCE and Telus), and what ultimately happened in the short space of 8 months (private equity takeout of BCE and the LOSS of $793 million a year in taxes)? How many Canadians think selling our energy to the middle east is a good idea? Prime West is a trust......hmm? Cognitive dissonances takes the form of 18 pages of blacked out documents, BCE going private in face of denial to become a trust. Abu Dhabi purchase of Prime West, Prentice’s non announcement about foreign takeovers maybe yes maybe no solely designed to chill the takeovers without addressing the issue itself and designed simply to avoid further embarrassments from Abu Dhabi’s #2 through 250.
The Liberal party simply needs to appeal to the enormous base of support that is latent in the minds of Canadians. Latent yet visceral concerns about issues like foreign takeovers (72% of Canadians concerned according to recent poll). Canadians innate oncerns about accountability and transparency of government as viscerally conjured up by 18 pages of blacked out documents (92% of Canadian think its wrong – Angus Reid poll).
Play to Harper’s weaknesses and attack his presumed strengths. Is there a hidden agenda with this man? (blacked out documents)! Is he a strong leader? ( Abu Dhabi yes/no!) Does he make good policy decisions? (BCE?) Can he be trusted ( income trust mother of all lies). These questions don’t even have to be explicitly asked. When faced with the evidence in the proper way and framed in the correct context, people will ask these questions of themselves. What is more powerful than that?
This issue is a gold mine that is not being mined properly, less so to make a point about the income issue per se, but for you to make the larger issues that resonate with every voter and not just a handful of voters. Our country. Our democracy.
Let me know if you disagree. I would like to help in any way I can, hence our desire to align our campaign spending with yours for maximum “Liberal” effect. We have a huge vested interest in seeing the Liberals form the next government. So too the entire population, they just need to know why. A lot of good food is going to waste.
President and CEO
Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors
647 505-2224 (cell)
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:52 AM
RE: Globe's ROB article of today: BFI learns a hard lesson other trusts may wish to avoid
The Globe and Mail has so many intersecting concepts that it conjures up at any given time to makes its “point du jour”. None of their arguments run in parallel or coherent lines.
Take for example the Glib’s reporting of the BCE situation. The Glib is owned by BCE. Endless amounts if ink were spilt by the Glib making the point about “the primacy of shareholders”. This was the guiding light argument as to why the BCE bondholders were being asked to take a $1 billion hit, despite representations by the company about the essential nature of preserving investment grade credit ratings.
As such, the Glib would have us believe that shareholders, as owners of BCE’s equity are sacrosanct
Now we have this statement in today’s ROB about the nosedive that BFO took:
“What's playing out at BFI is a classic tension between a management team and board that wants to plow cash back into the company and shareholders who want the cash their company generates to be handed over to its owners.”
Tension? What tension? If the owners want the cash, they are entitled to the cash. Much in the same way that BCE had no right to suspend dividends pending Teachers’ yard sale exercise in raising $34 billion in debt.
However in making the above observation the Glib has accidentally revealed what this whole Tax Failure Plan is about........a contrivance that allows Management to assert its “rights’ to determine how excess earnings are deployed as opposed to the Owners.
It only stands to reason that a company that follows the wishes of its Owners as opposed to the whims of its Management is WORTH MORE.
This “worth more” concept is what provided the impetus for companies to convert to trusts.
Conversion to a trust also imposes the legal and tax discipline on management that obligates them to adhere to a payout model of the trust. This is mandated under tax law. Some 95% of excess earnings must be pad out pronto.
MANAGERS like Dominc D’Allesandro loathed such a concept....... he and other CEO’s who were like minded.
They were faced with the inexorable pressure to convert to payout model companies to attain higher values (whilst maximizing tax collection to Ottawa)
They were the people who wanted to kill the trust model. They were only interested in the Primacy of Managers and not the Primacy of Shareholders,
So what did this cabal-at-large do with the help of Mark Carney and Jim Flaherty? They created the canard argument of tax leakage.
Canard: An unfounded rumour.
The other casualty of this cabal was honest insightful business news reporting in Canada....with a few limited exceptions......but no exceptions presently in the Globe and Mail since Steven Chase was reassigned.
The hard lesson for the ROB: The Globe and Mail has lost all credibility and reason on the topic of Flaherty’s Tax Failure Plan
Posted by Fillibluster at 7:41 AM
Garth Turner holding the mike. CAITI President Brent Fullard speaking
Last night I along with over 1,000 of my closest friends attended the Stephane Dion presentation in Oakville hosted by Liberal MP Garth Turner. (DUI was also there, but I have excluded her from the aforementioned total).
My question for Stephane Dion was a gift. By that I don’t mean that my question was a lay-up softball question, but rather that I presented Stephane with a gift as opposed to a question per se. The gift I provided to Stephane consisted of four documents:
(1) 18 pages of blacked out documents that allegedly are the “proof” of tax leakage
(2) A letter from the Department of Finance requesting the 18 pages of blacked out documents be returned immediately
(3) A Department of Finance memo dated October 31, 2006 stating, in effect, that the double taxation of income trusts will lead to leveraged buyouts of the vulnerable trusts by private equity, which will lead to a loss of tax revenue to Ottawa, as the memo acknowledges the tax advantages to leveraged buyouts
(4) A memo describing to the Liberal Party how they should message this income trust issue in terms of the broader issues involved: broken promise, false pretense for broken promise, complete lack of transparency, no consultation, no accountability, reverse outcome of what policy ostensibly was supposed to achieve, foreign takeovers, displacement of Canadian investors, two tiered pension system, special tax carve out for pension funds., major loss of tax revenue costing all tax payers Etc
These four documents constitute a how to guide for Stephane Dion to win the next election. In Garth’s portion of the presentation he made the point about the loss of jobs under Stephen Harper and used the layoffs at GM’s truck assembly plant in Oshawa as emblematic of job losses. I made the point to Stephane that the layoffs at GM are not something that can be laid exclusively at the feet of the Harper government, whereas the 2,500 layoffs at BCE are the sole cause of the LBO of BCE which was the sole outcome of the income trust double tax that precluded BCE from becoming an income trust. I said these job losses also came with the loss of $800 million a year in taxes to Ottawa from the LBO of BCE.
I encouraged the Liberals to use the income trust failed policy as the basis to point out the incompetence of the Harper government and reveal their deceitful practices concerning the manufactured concept known as tax leakage.
Stephane Dion responded by saying that Liberal Party is committed to its 10% Plan, for which the 10% tax is fully refundable to all Canadians, including RRSPs. As you may know, CAITI has not supported this plan since there it does not jive with the fact that there is no tax leakage and hence why disfavour foreign investors and since the Liberals have not been explicit on whether new trusts will be allowed and whether existing trusts will be constrained as to their growth. That said, the Liberals have taken this issue a long way towards the proper policy position.
Posted by Fillibluster at 12:57 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Lawrence Martin’s column of today couldn’t be further from the truth. “Bumbling Grits give Team Harper an economic free ride”
Yeah...on income trusts!!!
The Liberals have an income trust policy......hidden under a bushel. Meanwhile there are two by-elections in Montreal. Are the two Liberal candidates pointing to the direct cause and effect of the CONs/NDPs/Bloc’s support of the trust tax as being SOLELY responsible for the loss of 2500 jobs at Montreal headquartered BCE......let me guess....no.
Would the Liberals be making a huge issue of the 2500 lost jobs at the GM truck assembly plant in Oshawa if the by-election were in Oshawa...let me guess...yes. In doing so would they dostinguish themselves from the other parties? No.
Harper and Flaherty are only tangentially responsible for the lost jobs at GM and are SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for the lost jobs at BCE. Lost jobs and lost tax revenue were the very outcome we were predicting in the first week of November 2006..... via the private equity takeover of BCE/Telus and the 200 trusts.....and all the attendant and inevitable adverse consequences.
So why are the Grits giving Team Harper an “economic free ride”?
Bumbling Grits give Team Harper an economic free ride
August 20, 2008
When it was announced that the governing Tories had registered a fiscal deficit for the first two months of the year, Liberals were practically dancing in the streets. Manna from heaven, they told me. The Conservatives were supposed to be the party of economic rectitude. Yet, they'd gone from a surplus of $2.8-billion from the same period a year earlier to $500-million in the red.
It was good news for any opposition party. Except the Grits. They went missing in action. Nothing happened. The story disappeared in a day. Their blowing it caused some consternation within the ranks, complaints to Stéphane Dion's office, finger-pointing at finance critic John McCallum.
That passed, but then came another potential blessing for them. Unemployment numbers. Huge! Fifty-five thousand job losses in the month of July. Biggest drop in 17 years, stoking fears we're heading downstream with the ailing neighbour. But the same thing happened. The Liberals couldn't capitalize. The unemployment story was a one-day wonder. Caucus members were left to wonder: Where are we?
The economy, not the environment, is emerging as the No. 1 issue in the next election, which now seems certain to take place in the fall. The Conservatives keep serving up balls to bat out of the park. The income-trust flip-flop, the savaging of Ontario as a dismal place to invest, two of the biggest-spending budgets of all time, soaring energy prices, and now the deficit numbers and big unemployment tallies. But check the charts. On the question of which party is seen as the better manager of the economy, it's Stephen Harper's Conservatives out in front by a long shot.
"The economy should be a slam dunk for us," said Liberal MP Maurizio Bevilacqua. "But, as yet, it isn't happening." Speaking of the recent Tory deficit numbers, he said: "To me, it was clear you had to jump on those."
The Liberals enjoy some immunity from prosecution on the economy. On other issues such as the environment and ethics, the Conservatives can point, with some effectiveness, to past Liberal failings. Mr. Harper was up to that old trick yesterday in rather sophomoric fashion. He said Jean Chrétien's criticism of his not attending the Beijing Olympics was hypocritical because he had only attended one such Olympic opening himself. Of course, on China, Mr. Chrétien was making a point about the importance of building relations with the world's emerging economic giant. Missing Olympic openings in Seoul or Sydney was hardly a valid comparison.
On the economy, Mr. Harper can't resort to blaming the other side. Paul Martin and Mr. Chrétien erased a staggering $42-billion deficit and put in place economic fundamentals that saw the country go on a long happy fiscal roll. There was, of course, a considerable amount of luck involved, and their tenure coincided with fortuitous international conditions. But they deserve some credit.
"We've got a great story to tell on this," said Mr. Bevilacqua. "We have to refresh people's memories." The Liberals should have had their leader and others out stomping for a week, waving the Martin/Chrétien numbers against those of the Tories. Some party members say they've been making noises, but their noises haven't found the way into the media. That's always a problem. But the test for any political party is to have the moxie to attract media attention.
In the United States, Bill Clinton posted positive numbers just as the Liberals did here. Conservatives then came to power in Washington and have plunged the country into one of its worst deficit crises. It's more fodder for building the case that conservatives should no longer be considered prudent fiscal managers.
Being a willowy styled academic and an expert on things constitutional, the Liberal Leader doesn't carry much heft on the economy. Much of his own economic platform is buried in his Green Shift plan. And there are few big-bang measures with which the public can identify.
But, given the Tory vulnerabilities, that shouldn't stop the Liberals from being able to score points. One idea the party is mulling is to have the men with the economic clout - Mr. Martin and Mr. Chrétien - do some speaking out. Although former prime ministers shouldn't be heard from too often, there are times - Mr. Chrétien didn't do badly on China - they can be most effective. On the economy, with a few pointed reminders of their own record, they could end the free ride the Grits are giving Team Harper.
Posted by Fillibluster at 9:11 AM
New Glasgow: Leader of the Green Party Elizabeth May issued a
statement today accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of
"Mr. Harper has not shown himself to be overly bound to his own
promises, but one might imagine he would honour a law he insisted on
passing," noted Ms. May. "He broke his promises on the full range of
accountability measures, leaving his ministers' doors open to
lobbyists. He broke his promise to Income Trust investors to never
levy a tax on their retirement savings. He broke his promise to
Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia to honour contracts for
off-shore revenue sharing. And he has completely ignored laws he did
not like when passed by Opposition parties, such as the Kyoto
Implementation Act. With yesterday's comments about ignoring his own
promise enshrined in law to move to fixed election dates, Mr. Harper
has taken hypocrisy to dizzying heights."
"Mr. Harper is quoted as saying (by Canadian Press) that 'They (the
Opposition Parties) have no intention of respecting the fixed
election date.' Let's be clear. The only party whose actions are
constrained by Mr. Harper's law is his own party. The law has the
effect, which Mr. Harper crowed about at the time, of denying him, as
sitting Prime Minister, the option of bringing down his own
government before October 2009. The law contemplated that as a
Minority government, it could well fall sooner than Mr. Harper's
date. There are no constraints in the law on the action of the
Opposition. Thus, the charge that they have no intention of
respecting his law is absurd.
"For months it has been clear that Mr. Harper was chafing at the
limitations he imposed upon himself. His government has out-lasted
projections for its demise. He is running on empty -- no new ideas,
no vision, no plan -- or, rather, at least not one he could sell to
the Canadian public from a minority perch. As a Minority claiming
difficulty in pursuing an agenda, his record of devastating cuts to
key sectors, from Kyoto programmes to the arts, the savaging of
public institutions and assaults on the civil service, suggest a
rather effective exercise of minority power.
"Hoist with his own petard, he has been acting like a bully boy,
taunting the Official Opposition to bring him down. And, finally,
his true colours: He is not going to be constrained by a law he
passed intended to demonstrate his moral superiority over previous
Prime Ministers whom he lambasted for doing exactly what he now
contemplates. Bringing down his own government at a time of his choosing."
"The Green Party of Canada will welcome an election when it
comes. But in Mr. Harper's posturing about a dysfunctional
parliament, we will not allow voters to forget that it was his
combative and belligerent approach, his dictatorial style, his
300-page instruction book to Conservative MPs for how to disrupt
committee proceedings, that have led to this session of Parliament
being a shameful abuse of Canadian Parliamentary tradition." said Ms. May.
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:51 AM
Sunset over Lake Muskoka, August 19, 2008
I wanted to report that both OFW and I attended the family
memorial/wake for Rick on Saturday at Alliston, Ontario.
We both felt it was good that the trust contingent could be there at the
gathering attended by about 40 family and friends.
Both OFW and I talked at great length on a wide range of issues which are
"still alive" with many of us.
I've blind copied the rest of the trust investors for whom I have an address.
Rick was an honest investor who wanted to survive and to support his
family. He regularly attended all the meetings, both the Barrie 2ND Cup
coffee shop confabs and the full-blown gatherings which TOITS put together.
He will be missed.
Posted by Fillibluster at 7:33 AM
The results of yesterday’s poll are in. By a wide margin, Canadians feel that the Globe and Mail is best analogized as “prostitute” rather than as a “pimp”.
Here are the official polling results:
Even though this was not a random sampling of Canadians with statistically valid numbers of Canadians representative of all regions of the country, we are going to align ourselves with the Glib’s low scientific standards and present the results as if they actually did meet such standards, much in the way that the Mail and Globe accords the findings of Jim Flaherty’s non existent tax leakage analysis with full scientific and religious certitude.
Dogma can be contagious, as we all strive for the lowest common denominator.
That said, these results have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points 19 times in 20.
Here are some representative comments in favour of The Mail and Globe is a “prostitute”:
(1) Allow me to be the first one to boldly go...Harper's the Pimp. The Globe's the Prostitute.
(2) Prostitute , but the pimp could be in the running. ROTFLMAO
(3) Its got to be prostitute. To be the Pimp is to control what product is being sold top the common "man". In the case of the Globe & Mail, they are simply following the line put out by their pimps.
(4) Our Canadian values are rapidly being eroded to a commercialized consumer based society. You are also correct to state that in America the populations are so huge that their still remains a healthy number of people that do not tune in. In the case of pimp or prostitute, I would have to say prostitute, the same as Harper, both prostitutes for big business, the real pimps!
(5) The so called news media in this country, the Globe & Mail being the prime example, are nothing more than propaganda agents whose job is to build consensus for what ever screw job our elite want to impose on us. The Globe's reporting on Income Trusts being a good example. So Whore is the term I like. Just like Harper the Whore who peddled his ass out to the Israel Lobby before he was even elected, and after to Power Corp, Manulife and all those other peddlers of mutual funds.
Editor's Note: Personally I am surprised by these results, although I am willing to accept them due to my utmost respect for the democratic process. I would have thought the Globe and Mail was the pimp and not the prostitute, as they are trying to pawn off their unsubstantiated nonsense to us as readers in much the same way as pimps try to sell their wares....lots of lipstick, high heels..........and socially transmitted diseases....in this case real tax losses...foreign takeovers...excessive debt levels...domination by pension funds...lessened competitiveness...reduction in investment choice...decimated IPO market...I could go on forever.
Posted by Fillibluster at 6:47 AM