Sunday, September 30, 2012

Flaherty's inane income trust rules direct investment out of Canada

New energy trust comes to Canada for IPO

Riding the wave of initial public offerings for energy trusts in Canada, Crius Energy Trust is trying its own luck.

As an “independent energy retailer,” the company is looking to raise about $136-million. To do so, Crius adopted the trust structure, which allows it to distribute most of its income to investors, much like the old income trusts. It can do so because its assets are U.S.-based – the firm markets and sells natural gas and electricity to both residential and small and medium-sized companies south of the border.

The last company to go public with such a structure was Argent Energy Trust, which raised $212-million to buy Texas assets. Argent initially hoped to raise $325-million, but ultimately scaled back its ambitions by forgoing the purchase of some assets it originally sought.

In the year leading up to June 30, Crius had total revenues of $367-million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $54-million. The company sells electricity in 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, and natural gas in four. Its expansion plans are predicated on marketing itself in states it already operates in, as well as in new regions.

Scotia Capital and RBC Dominion Securities are co-leading the IPO, and Bennett Jones and Torys is advising on legal matters.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My comment on Facebook page: Draft Mark Carney for Liberal Leader

As the Federal Liberal Candidate for the riding of Whitby-Oshawa in the 2008 election, let me remind you that Mark Carney was the point person in Finance for the income trust file and was responsible along with Jim Flaherty for  the Halloween disaster of 2006 that cost Canadians to lose $35 billion of their retirement savings and lose an essential income investment alternative. Mark Carney was the one who put forward the patently false arguments that income trusts cause tax leakage and that income trusts are bad for the Canadian economy, which (if he were competent) would have known to be false. Yes, these were patent lies. Do you think someone who is so adept at lying to the Canadian public would make a good leader of the Liberal party? And why would Mark have advanced those lies?  For the betterment of Canadians or the betterment of Bay Street CEOs and his cronies at Goldman Sachs? Obviously it's the latter. The only tax leakage that was caused by income trusts was the one CAUSED by Mark Carney, as the predictable wave of foreign takeovers of devalued trusts that followed Mark's failed income trust policy resulted in a massive loss of tax revenues, from takeovers like the $5 billion takeover of Prime West Energy Trust by Abu Dhabi Energy, to name but one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flaherty's corporate tax cuts were an exercise of pissing in the wind

With his recent admonishment of corporate CEOs, Flaherty's is finally acknowledging that his corporate tax cuts were nothing more than an exercise of pissing in the wind. An expensive one at that, costing billions in lost tax revenue and accomplishing nothing.

Flaherty's misguided belief that his indiscriminate across the board corporate tax cuts would spur the economy shows just how incompetent he truly is. As I said at the time, any reductions in corporate taxes should be directly tied to that activity the gov't sought to encourage, be it capital investment or job creation.

What a total incompetent this Flaherty guy is. His comments today confirm it, as it's just more pissing in the wind.

Meanwhile much of Flaherty's corporate tax cuts were funded directly by the HST, making Flaherty doubly stupid, since the only bottom line  effect of the HST was to reduce consumers' purchasing power and to increase the already massive underground economy.

Jim Flaherty urges Canadian companies to give economy a boost

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is once again urging Canadian companies to use the billions of dollars in cash they’re sitting on to invest more in the Canadian economy and create jobs.
Flaherty’s message to CEOs comes a month after Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney chided Canadian companies for sitting on “dead money” and not investing more of it in the Canadian economy or returning it to shareholders. The finance minister very much echoed Carney’s concerns at the time.
On Tuesday, in a speech to a Canadian Council of Chief Executives conference in Ottawa focused on Canada-Asia relations, Flaherty hammered home the message once more, urging companies to get off their wallets and spend some of the more than $500 billion they’ve got stashed away.
The minister said there are two main international risks to the global economy and Canada’s fiscal outlook: the sovereign debt and banking crisis in Europe and a U.S. economy that’s facing a “fiscal cliff” in the coming months due to political gridlock over tax hikes and spending reductions.
With that in mind, he noted the world is rebalancing towards Asia — especially China — and that “Canada must respond to this fundamental shift.”
The federal Conservative government has lowered taxes and opened trading markets in Asia to spur the Canadian economy, he said, and it’s now up to the private sector to act.
“Our country’s long-term prosperity is linked to reaching beyond our borders for economic opportunities that serve to grow Canada’s trade and investment,” Flaherty told several dozen CEOs gathered in Ottawa.
Flaherty cautioned that the global economic recovery is “extremely weak” in some sectors, although he’s hopeful it will improve with the help of the private sector.
“Our government cannot do this alone. Private-sector business investment must also help lay the foundation for a sustained, long-run expansion of Canada’s economy and job growth,” Flaherty said.
The government has lowered corporate and personal income taxes, encouraged purchases of new technologies and equipment with capital cost write-offs and sliced bureaucratic red tape for businesses, he said.
“But ultimately, it is up to you in the private sector to take advantage of all of these strengths and to invest, to create jobs and to grow our economy,” the minister added.
Non-financial Canadian companies have seen the total amount of cash they hold grow to $562 billion at the start of 2012 from $370 billion in mid-2009, according to data from earlier this year.
However, John Manley, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said corporations have demonstrated they’re “doing quite a lot” to invest in the Canadian economy.
He said planned capital investment in Canada from his members alone over the next few years will exceed the entire federal and provincial stimulus spending from the economic downturn.
Manley said businesses invest when they see opportunity and sit on cash when there’s greater risk like that found in the global economy today.
“I think we heard Mr. Flaherty point out very clearly that there are two major financial risks in the world today, one in Europe, one in the United States,” he said.
“So I don’t think he or Mr. Carney would find it surprising that companies would be trying to retain a little cushion of insurance in terms of cash on their balance sheets when you really don’t know what the next couple of months is going to bring.”

Margaret Wente ain't feeling the love

After being reprimanded by her employer, The Globe and Mail, for plagiarism, Margaret Wente felt the need to defend herself in that same paper, in this piece here. Her defense would best be described as pathetic, but don't take my word for it, as these are the top rated comments of her readers:

New Toronto

Margaret, you would have done yourself and the Globe a favour had you simply plagiarized Fareed Zakaria's contrite apology of a few months ago rather than write a passive aggressive non-apology apology.


And so continues the campaign to smear Carol Wainio as some undisciplined "blogger" with a personal vendetta against Wente. In fact, she was very fair in her analysis and came to the only logical conclusion.


So Margaret is the victim in this?

She should write for Rob Ford

Mark Shore

"But I'm also sorry we live in an age where attacks on people's character and reputation seem to have become the norm."
I'm sorry, but were all the snide, denigrating dismissive remarks directed towards any number of public and private figures in your columns over the years not your own?

I'm not sure you're helping yourself here.


You are, in fact, proven to be a serial plagiarist. You should be fired.


The only saving grace from having read this disgraceful and petty response is that you have dug your own grave with it.

Dr Jitters

Seriously? You are supposed to be a professional journalist. The 'I cobbled it together with scraps of paper I had lying around' response makes a mockery of the term "Journalistic Integrity". Laziness 1, Integrity - 0

John Baglow

Good God, that was defensive and weak.


Shorter: "Im sorry.... that I got caught... How dare you catch me."

Tony Kwan8

"But there is a sentence from Mr. Gardner's column that also appears in my column. The only explanation is that I put it in my notes, then put it in my column."

That is not the only explanation.

It would be more plausible that you recorded this excerpt from Mr. Gardner's column and subsequently forgot that it was a quote if: 1) you are in the careless and indeed highly unprofessional habit of taking notes from other sources without recording those sources; and 2) there were not many other recorded instances of you committing the same "error."

You attempt to dismiss the existence of other such instances by referring to Carol Wainio's "obsessive list," as if it were the product of an irrational vendetta. That is not the case. I invite other readers to read Ms. Wainio's analysis ad decide for themselves (

Yes, Ms. Wente you have been extremely careless in committing plagiarism on numerous occasions. You undoubtedly did so out of a sense of impunity due to your exalted status at the Globe and the fact that you were never previously held to account.

Those days are over.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Margaret Wente: Queen of the cut and paste plagiarists

Margaret Wente has been cutting and pasting the thoughts of others, since long before this recent incident involving her blatant plagiarism.

You might recall how Margaret Wente (the plagiarist, no less) presented the income trust tax as some kind of morality play, while totally co-opting (i.e. cutting and pasting) the nonsensical rantings of Diane Urquhart, without ever determining whether those claims had any vaildity or merit to them.

Had Margaret truly wanted to present the income trust matter as a morality play, she (and her readers) would have been better served by her mentioning that Stephen Harper was elected in 2006 on an explicit promise to NOT tax income trusts and broke that promise 9 months later (Harper Lie #1). Or that Stephen Harper's attempt to justify his policy betrayal by arguing that income trusts cause tax leakage was a patent falsehood (Harper Lie #2). Or that income trusts were bad for Canada's economy (Harper Lie #3), which was disproven by any number of credible studies. How's that for a morality play, Ms. Wente?

Margaret Wente had exposed herself as a journalistic shill/hack long before this recent incident, as evidenced by this piece of government propaganda:

The moral of the trusts fiasco
The Globe and Mail
November 10, 2006
Margaret Wente

My husband and I don't own income trusts. Our investment manager wouldn't let us. "Too risky," she would say. We used to be unhappy about this because it seemed like everyone but us was getting rich. Now we're happy, because it turns out she was right.

The chickens have come home to roost for a lot of dumb clucks (a.k.a. retail investors). They've been thoroughly plucked, and are they ever mad. But who should they be mad at? Not the Harper government, which did what any government would do. Instead, they should be mad at the investment industry, for selling them a bill of goods. They should be mad at the securities commissions for turning a blind eye. And they should be mad at themselves, for forgetting the basic rule of Investing 101: Caveat emptor. If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Every few years, some new financial craze takes small investors for a ride. Last time, it was tech stocks. They were wildly speculative, and everybody knew it. But income trusts were different. They were marketed as safe, conservative products, something akin to a GIC. And the biggest target market was seniors — a group with little financial sophistication and a very low capacity for risk. The pitch was that income trusts paid out nearly twice as much as bonds, but were almost as safe. For many seniors whose fixed incomes have been depressed by low interest rates, the pitch was irresistible.
In fact, many income trusts are highly risky, which makes them totally unsuitable for seniors. "Where was the investor protection?" demands Diane Urquhart, a top financial analyst. She's been warning of the perils of income trusts for quite some time. But nobody listened. There was too much money to be made. As the income-trust craze snowballed, investment bankers, financial advisers, and other middlemen raked in hundreds of millions. Billions more flowed into the pockets of company executives, who gorged on bonuses and stock options and windfall profits as their companies miraculously soared in value after being converted to income trusts.

Meantime, small investors got greedy. They figured that if a little bit of income trusts was good, a lot was even better. They forgot the other rule of Investing 101: Diversify. It's these people who are the maddest, because they lost, proportionately, the most. But the parties they should be maddest at are themselves.

The dirty secret of income trusts was that a lot of them paid out more than they were earning. A common practice was to jack up the initial distributions in order to entice investors. That, in turn, would goose the value of the company far beyond its underlying worth. They were houses built on sand. Last year, the Canadian Accounting Standards Board reported that income trusts were overvalued by between 39 per cent and 50 per cent, and that distributions averaged 60 per cent more than earnings. In other words, investors were encouraged to buy ridiculously overvalued companies — and pay steep commissions for the privilege.

"I don't expect seniors to do their own homework," says Ms. Urquhart. "The financial industry has the duty of care to provide products that are appropriately designed." And where were the securities commissions? Good question. "All those authorities who should have ensured proper specification of the yield turned a blind eye."

But oh! It was great while it lasted! The management of a company called Teranet raked in $167-million when it went public as an income trust. In another deal, a New York private equity firm bought a humble yarn manufacturer called Spinrite for $81-million. For converting it to an income trust, the equity firm made a quick profit of $87-million. Shortly afterward, the amateur knitting craze abruptly ended. Spinrite's value fell by half, and it cancelled all its juicy distributions.

The pain hasn't ended yet. Ms. Urquart says that income trusts (which remain sheltered from tax for four more years) have farther to fall before they reach reasonable valuations. If you can't afford to lose any more of your capital, sell now. And start asking your financial adviser some tough questions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More low life occupying Canada's upper chamber

Senator Patrick Brazeau behind on child-support again, his son’s mother says

OTTAWA — Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau is entangled in another dispute over child-support payments with the mother of his teenaged son.
Dena Buckshot said Brazeau missed several payments over the summer and estimates that he is now more than $1,500 in arrears.
She says the Quebec government had told her that steps are being taken to garnish Brazeau’s wages from the Senate.
“I only received half child support for August and nothing for September,” Buckshot said. “As far as I know, the paperwork is in to garnish his wages.”
Brazeau says he stopped making the payments because he’s waiting for confirmation that his son is attending a post-secondary institution.
“I’m trying to find out if my 18-year-old is still going to school,” he said.
He is no longer obligated to pay support unless his son is enrolled in post-secondary education, Brazeau said, adding that it’s the mother’s responsibility to let him know the child is continuing his education.
“Until it is confirmed, we’ll see what happens.”
Brazeau also said he was unaware of any garnishment attempt.
Buckshot says her son studies in the CEGEP program at Heritage College in Gatineau and claims Brazeau is still obligated to pay $812 monthly.
Brazeau said he wasn’t aware his son was studying in the CEGEP until contacted by the Citizen.
Buckshot, a federal public servant, said she complained to the Quebec government’s maintenance program about missing payments and was told by a caseworker on August 6 that steps were being taken to begin garnishing Brazeau’s wages, a legal process that can take about two months.
A garnishment order requires an employer to deduct payments at source, before the wages are paid to the debtor.
Brazeau is supposed to make the payments to Revenue Quebec, which then deposits the funds into Buckshot’s account twice a month. She says she received no payments July 1st, August 1st or September 1st and only a partial payment on July 16th.
Buckshot said she didn’t know why Brazeau, who earns $132,300 annually from the Senate, did not appear to have made the $812 monthly payments.
Brazeau’s child with Buckshot is the result of a relationship in 1993. They both come from the Kitigan Zibi First Nation in nortwest Quebec.
Brazeau says he hasn’t seen his son since 2001.
He has sent occasional emails and gifts but the young man has no interest in having contact with his biological father, Buckshot said.
Shortly after Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed him to the Senate in 2009, Brazeau made headlines for having missed child support payments that were then set at under $100 per month.
Buckshot went to court later that year to recoup arrears payments and have the monthly amount he pays increased, based on his new, higher income.
Brazeau said that his son, who is also First Nations, is eligible to receive bursaries to cover tuition, books and a $900 monthly living allowance while going to school.
These payments should be accounted for and the support payments adjusted accordingly, Brazeau said.
Brazeau serves on the Senate committees on aboriginal affairs and human rights. He is the youngest member of the Senate and can serve until 2049, when he turns 75.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mark Carney: Not much more than his master's voice

Carney is not much more than his master's voice.  Carney and Flaherty have lunch once every week to coordinate their stories.
Since the James Coyne affair it is the Minister of Finance who has the last word.  Carney cannot disagree with Flaherty publicly as he would be forced to resign.
In the last few weeks Carney echoed his master's voice at least twice with a two day delay.
Flaherty: The high level of the Canadian dollar does not only have negative impact it also has some good sides
Two days later.  Carney:  The high level of the Canadian dollar is not a problem and has some advantages,
Flaherty: Corporations are sitting on a huge pile of cash.  They should invest more to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Two days later.  Carney: Corporations are sitting on a pile of cash they should either invest it or return it to shareholders as dividends to stimulate the economy.
Next. Watch the coming story about interest rates in the aftermath of the Fed pronouncement.  Carney has been talking a lot in recent months about imminent interest rate increases.  Very soon he will be effusive about keeping the rates very low for the foreseeable future.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Looks good on you Pat Martin!

So Pat Martin thinks he can make slanderous comments, and when faced with facts to the contrary not issue an apology or a retraction., and get away with it?  And when sued for slander, Pat Martin thinks his defense is worthy of Canadians' support?

Only a self-righteous motor mouth like Pat Martin would think his is a cause worthy of Canadians' financial support.

Where was Pat Martin when it came to supporting the 2.5 million Canadians who lost $35 billion of their hard earned retirement savings when Stephen Harper (with the support of Jack Layton's NDP) began double taxing income trusts at rate in excess of 60%? Did Pat Martin seek the facts of the situation? No. Did Pat Martin defend the rights of these Canadians? No. Did Pat Martin do anything to mitigate their losses?

No, but in true Pat "Motor Mouth" Martin fashion, found the occasion to be deserving of  degrading both Parliament degrade income trusts, by stating in the House of Commons that income trusts were a "corporate wet-dream".  This is the quality of the man we are dealing with here......"corporate wet-dream", as the means to express himself in Parliament.

It was only a matter of time that Motor Mouth Pat Martin got sued. Looks good on him. Anyone who contributes to this cause of Pat Martin's is as dellusional as the man himself.


NDP MP Pat Martin. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

NDP MP seeks public’s help with legal bills in robo-calls case

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

An NDP MP is turning to the Internet to cover his legal bills in the face of a lawsuit for wrongly accusing an Alberta company of electoral fraud.

Supporters and friends of Pat Martin are trying to raise $250,000 after the Winnipeg MP was sued for comments he made about the 2011 election robo-calls scandal.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Published in the Barrie Examiner

Opinion Letters

Canada in danger of becoming fascist state

Robin Brentnall
Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks from on board the HMCS St. John's in Churchill, Man. (Chris Wattie Rueters)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks from on board the HMCS St. John's in Churchill, Man. (Chris Wattie Rueters)
The RCMP have finally started to help Elections Canada with its investigation.

This comes after much public outcry by the Council of Canadians and millions of Canadians.

Now we see more than 500 RCMP members in British Columbia alone bashing the RCMP Commissioner, Bob Paulson, ‘chastising him and other senior RCMP managers for a host of controversies and alleged institutional failures.’

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Paulson. With the amount of dissent towards the leadership in the RCMP all across Canada, why would the PM keep this person at the helm of the RCMP ship?
We also see the Military Chief of Defence staff selection taking more time than usual. Why? Is it to find a Harper favourite, someone to tow the party line so to speak?

Canada is in serious trouble of becoming a fascist state.

The national police force (RCMP) has a Harper pick at the helm.

CSIS has had its control mechanism taken away, so it is only answerable to Harper.

Governor General is a hand-picked position and very quiet on all things Harper.

The Senate is hand-picked and passed Bill C-38, the most damaging bill ever passed in Canada.
Elections Canada is under the control of hand-picked Harperites, including the investigator of the robocall/election fraud.

The Supreme Court will soon hold only hand- picked Harper favourites. And now the military will have a hand picked CDS that Harper wants.

Is it time for a coup d’etat? Or do we wait until the other political parties are deemed illegal as was seen in 1930’s Germany?

Is it time for the RCMP to make arrests of all those in the Conservative Party for conspiring to commit election fraud and take away their illegitimate government’s ability to function in the destructive fashion that we’ve seen by Harper and his MPs since May 2011?

Is it time for the second in command of the Canadian Forces to take control of our troops and the Governor General to direct the opposition parties to form a coalition government until this can get sorted out?

Opposition MPs had better figure something out fast or Canada will not be the one that we know and love in the near future.

It’s time to act, now.

Robin Brentnal
Gambo, NL