The following text is from a letter dated November 24, 2006 from Stephen Harper. This form letter would have gone to virtually hundreds of thousands of Canadians. Only took the PMO 24 days to get their “messaging” straight. It couldn’t have been very successful, because here we are talking about it some five months later. I know it did nothing for me:
Dear Mr. Fullard:
Thank you for your e-mail message regarding the government's decision on income trusts. I am pleased to have this opportunity to respond.
I understand your disappointment with this decision. We recognize that Canadian investors, including many pensioners and seniors, have made important investments over the years and benefit from the current income trust structure. However, Canadians must trust that their government is watching out for them and is upholding the values that define us, like fairness. They expect us to fix problems, right injustices and close loopholes.
There is more to this letter. I have yet to read it. I got hung up on the concept of “Canadians must trust”. Canadians must trust? What could that possibly mean? Well I guess there are three possible interpretations:
(1) Trust by edict. Is Harper telling us that we must trust him as a form of commandment? A form of edict? This is a very plausible interpretation of Canadians must trust, since we have received nothing that supports any of the five provisions of the enabling legislation, the Ways and Means Motion . Where is the analysis that supports tax leakage? This was the cornerstone assumption behind this policy. Furthermore Harper has chosen to ignore all the recommendations of the Finance Committee. I guess Canadians must trust, it is our solemn duty. More enforceable than solemn pledges evidently, since Harper never delivered on his never tax trusts pledge. He actually said it enough times that people believed him. Hard to believe that will ever occur again, any time soon. Therefore, trust by edict is Harper’s only hope going forward.
(2) Trust by default. Or is Harper simply saying that he is taking our trust for granted. Might have applied to some Canadians at the time of the last election, but you have to think this game is quickly coming to an end. Whatever currency this approach may have had has long since been dispensed. Would you really buy a used car from this guy? Flaherty? Lying and deceiving is seldom a successful long term strategy with an educated electorate in the age of the internet.
(3) Trust by action. This is obviously the high end interpretation of trust. Problem is it has to be earned. It can’t be blithely taken for granted, nor can it be dictated. This is a not a plausible interpretation under the circumstances.
I am looking forward to reading the balance of Harper’s letter that justifies his broken promise and $35 billion of capital decimation. I am really curious what he had to say about the impending foreign private equity takeovers and the hollowing out of Canada. I wonder whether he foresaw the takeout of BCE? He must have, we were predicting these events within the first week of November. I am sure he had reassuring words to say about why it is that average Canadians will no longer be able to hold income trusts in their RRSPs, whereas pension funds can hold the economic equivalent of trusts, free of any new tax. I am looking forward to learning more about the dogmatic distinction he draws between public and private trusts. All of this will reveal itself once I have established what Harper could have possibly meant by Canadians must trust. I know one thing for sure, it wasn’t by his actions.
I trust he will know what I mean.
By the way, what tax loophole is he talking about? I am not aware of any tax loophole. I had the same question for Flaherty at the Public Hearings. He thought that walking away in a huff was a suitable response.
Trust me, it wasn’t.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Posted by Fillibluster at 3:11 PM