Thursday, February 18, 2010 12:44 PM
Although I agree with many of the policies of the current minority government, after 3 years I’m still annoyed about the handling of the income trust issue. I received a call from the Conservative Party headquarters asking for me to renew my membership in the party. Since that ruling cost me personally more than $250,000 in investment losses I declined the invitation. I made that clear on the phone but you probably don’t hear that back in Parliament. The heavy handed approach, that cost taxpayers so much in retirement savings (where trusts distributions normally end up) and also resulted in less taxable revenue the government, was, bluntly, dumb.
Even at this late time there are measures (like the Marshall Savings Plan) that would better serve taxpayers and the government. I believe it would be helpful for you to speak up at caucus on this point. It controls my vote and my support of the party. I’d say your riding, in which I have lived for the last 20 years, is full of people like me. So good luck on this point.
Wed, 17 Feb 2010 20:05:56 –0700
Dear Rob Anders:
When will you start listening to the will of the majority of Canadians and stop listening to only the paid lobbyists with special access to decision makers?
Some 80 per cent of Canadians support the Marshall Savings Plan for inclusion in Budget 2010.
An Environics poll conducted between Feb. 5-10 found that 79.6 per cent of Canadians support the inclusion of the Marshall Savings Plan (MSP) in Budget 2010 to "Stop the income trust bleeding"
Here are 10 more reasons why it is incumbent on all party leaders and MPs to push for inclusion of the MSP in the March 4 federal budget -
(1) The premise on which the double taxation of retirement income in RRSPs (but not pension funds) was based, namely tax leakage, is false. It arbitrarily ignores all of the taxes paid by the 38% of Income trusts held in RRSPs. The MSP turns these "tomorrow taxes" into today taxes, negating that false argument along with the need for the 31.5% tax.
(2) If Michael Ignatieff does not vigorously push for inclusion of the MSP in Budget 2010, he will be viewed as a hypocrite after making speeches decrying Harper’s income trust tax as an act of "vandalism" based on "fallacious" arguments. Ditto for Jack Layton after positioning himself as the champion of upholding transparency, opposing foreign takeovers and protecting Canadians' pensions.
(3) Any leader who fails to champion the inclusion of the MSP will be denounced along with Stephen Harper, insofar as any future tax draining takeovers of trusts by foreigners and pension plans is concerned. Such leaders will have to explain to Canadians how they are better off by losing major tax revenue for the privilege of having future deals akin to the $5 billion takeover of Prime West Energy Trust by state-owned Abu Dhabi Energy, and how it is fair for Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System to acquire its next Teranet-like Income Fund from average Canadians who are forced to pay the 31.5% double tax in their RRSP, when neither of these acquirers pays that tax.
(4) Failure to adopt the MSP will continue to make Canadians saving for retirement more captive to the next failed piece of financial engineering emanating from Bay Street, like ABCP or variable rate annuities. [Synthetic products like 'Income Plus' that almost created a “too big to fail” catastrophe of Manulife, whose management recklessly decided to not hedge the inherent risks embedded in that scheme]. Our association presciently warned all party leaders about those risks three years ago and we repeat those systemic warnings again today.
(5) Some 51 takeovers of trusts to date have caused the loss of $1.5 billion in real annual tax revenue, which is three times the government’s alleged tax leakage, that never existed in the first place.
(6) The remaining 169 trusts are at risk, and so too is the $6 billion in annual tax revenue they pay to Ottawa that can only be protected if the MSP is adopted.
(7) Fully taxable profit sharing income trusts are essential to the retirement savings and income needs of the 75% of Canadians without pensions.
(8) The MSP re-establishes a level playing field between RRSPs and pension funds in a manner consistent with how RRSPs were conceived of in the first place in 1957.
(9) Preserving income trusts via the MSP is like preserving 2.5 million full and part time jobs for the 2.5 million Canadians who rely on this essential form of income for their retirement needs.(10) The MSP is a litmus test for all party leaders: Whose interest will be served –the 79.6% of Canadians who support the MSP according to the poll, or the lobbyists who foisted this litany of unmitigated nonsense on Canadians in the first place?
Canadians will be watching very closely during the first week of Parliament looking for signs of real leadership in support of Canadians’ real interests, the MSP.
Ned xxxx Calgary AB
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 6:59 PM
Dear Mike Wallace -With the 2010 upcoming budget The Conservatives have one last chance to minimize some of the huge losses from the 2006 Income Trust Fiasco
I know that you held an open House today with tax people present on Pensions , taxes and current programs.
I am sorry that I was not able to attend because after 61 years of saving, I am still working to try to offset the HUGE losses that my family suffered when Fhlarety accepted 18 pages of "blacked out support for his action", rather than run the finance department properly.
Please open both the Marshall plan details and the Ottawa Citizen report which are attached under seperate cover, I think that they offer a partial recovery solution and are a win-win for the tax revenue and taxpayer. Some day you can buy me a beer and let me understand what a Conservative promise really is
Wed, 17 Feb 2010 15:17:16 -0800
Dear Mr. Harper:
A Solution for Income Trust Investors
Jim Flaherty’s income trust policy was clearly designed at the outset to kill the income trust market place on behalf of the narrow self interests that benefit from such an outcome. Self interests like the life insurance industry whose inferior products such as life annuities and variable rate annuities did not capture the same investor preference as income trusts, would benefit from such a move and therefore lobbied hard for such a move. Also the self interested CEOs of corporations who were loathe to give up the freedoms of the corporate model and the compensation schemes like executive stock options for the more disciplined world of the income trust model, and they lobbied hard to remove income trusts from the investment landscape. The following quote from the Globe and Mail story of November 2, 2006, entitled “Income-trust crackdown: The inside story”, makes both of these connections very clear: “High-profile directors and CEOs, meanwhile, had approached Mr. Flaherty personally to express their concerns: Many felt they were being pressed into trusts because of their duty to maximize shareholder value, despite their misgivings about the structure. Paul Desmarais Jr., the well-connected chairman of Power Corp. of Canada, even railed against trusts in a conversation with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a trip to Mexico.” Power Corporation is the controlling shareholder of two large life insurance companies, Great West Life and London Life, both of whom would benefit by destroying income trusts as a competing investment product that was very popular with Canadians saving for retirement and in providing essential retirement income. Power Corporation would prefer a Canada in which Canadians are more captive to the products offered by Power Corporation. This is their idea of leveling the playing field, namely having the government removed the competing team (income trusts) from the field altogether. Meanwhile the conversion announcement of Telus followed shortly thereafter by BCE, provided the perfect fear mongering circumstances to kill income trusts. It was obviously an entirely staged event by BCE, as they simply were acting in a way that was designed to co-opt the government into killing income trusts as this Financial account reveals: "Income trusts didn't have much appeal. We weren't particularly interested in doing an income trust but we thought if we announced we were doing one, it would force the government into a decision," said the source close to the company who asked not to be named." Which probably explains why this reaction to Jim Flaherty’s Halloween Massacre income trust announcement occurred:“In Montreal, the mood was decidedly more upbeat. Sources said BCE's Mr. Sabia was a reluctant convert to the trust model, and 'there was dancing in hallways at Bell' after Ottawa's announcement.” Which is in stark contrast to this reaction contained in the same news article:“At Telus headquarters in Vancouver, where it was still midafternoon, the reaction was disbelief.” In short, all of Canada was “gamed” by those with a desire to kill income trusts.Gamed by those CEOs and directors who knew their shareholders wanted them to consider becoming trusts to maximize value and whose fiduciary obligation was to do that very thing, rather than do an end run around their shareholders by making a bee line to Ottawa and to have Ottawa sabotage that option by killing income trusts. Gamed by BCE, who were clearly attempting to raise the false specter of their conversion into a trust and the belief on the part of the public that tax revenues would be lost, which is a total falsehood since BCE was not even taxable at the time and Ottawa would have collected $553 million more in taxes from BCE as a trust than BCE as a corporation. See: Mythbusters.
The Effects of the Marshall Savings Plan on Income Trust Investors:The effect of the Marshall Savings Plan on investors is that it corrects that aspect of the income trust market that was directly targeted by Jim Flaherty’s trust tax measures, namely income trusts held in RRSPs. Because income trusts held inside RRSPs comprise such a large proportion of the overall market, namely 40%, and because these income trusts could not easily be moved out of RRSPs and into outside accounts where the effects of the new 31.5% tax was less, without incurring huge taxes upon withdrawal ( in cases where withdrawal is even permissible, this is where corrective measures needed to be taken. The Marshall Savings Plan is that corrective measure, as it allows income trusts held inside RRSPs ( as well as LIFs and RIFs etc. ) to be transferred without triggering a gain or disposition tax, into an MSP., and since the MSP requires the holder to recognize the income trust distributions received in that year as income and taxes as such, there is no longer any valid basis to claim tax leakage is occurring and hence no need for the 31.5% tax. As such, if the tax regime is defined on a basis that is consistent with the fact that there is no tax leakage and consistent with the need to have a truly level playing field between trusts held privately by pensions funds that pay no tax and income trusts held by MSPs this will revive the income trust market and the trading value of income trusts which will make them less susceptible to unwelcome takeover, while returning the market to its once vibrant self.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Posted by Fillibluster at 1:20 PM