Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sharper than you think

The internet is a powerful tool. It allows people to communicate information not available in the mainstream media. It allows people to organize across large geographical areas, like Canada for example, and to share information with each other, to network and to get their messages out. And although the internet has become synonymous with the young online gamer, seniors have taken to this medium like ducks to water, and are using it to drive email campaigns and political pressure.

At CAITI, we receive thousands of emails from members. They write to tell us of the hardships they're already feeling from the Conservatives' draconian policy towards income trusts. They write for information, they write to tell us that they're spreading the word, and they copy us on letters they've sent to their MPs, Mr Harper, Mr Flaherty and even to some of the industry players.

Far from being over the hill, or too old to grasp the finer points, these seniors are sharp, intelligent and articulate. Here is one such letter written to Siim Vanaselja and Robert McFarlane CFO's of BCE and Telus, that shows all these characteristics. With Jean's kind permission, we'd like to share it with you.

From: Jean Miller
Subject: Income Trusts

Gentlemen: I have been as active as an 85-year old widow can be, attempting to forward the cause of income trusts ever since my income, which was largely dependent upon income from trusts, was dangerously reduced, and my net worth was similarly damaged by the government's attack upon the trusts. I remember that that attack was precipitated by Telus' announcement that it was considering turning itself into an income trust. Recently, I have read a suggestion that BCE, operating as an income trust, would be able to provide a steady, dependable stream of income to its shareholders. There is also a proposal current that BCE and Telus merge and create a strong, viable telecommunication system for Canada. May I ask you to consider making a public announcement of your individual or cooperative intent to become income trusts just as soon as the government lifts its ban on the initiation of new income trusts? I believe such an announcement would put a stop to all the problems you are presently facing with respect to mergers and acquisitions, and would provide a powerful incentive for the government to consider favorably the moderate course of action proposed by some members of Parliament; that is, to tax the trusts at no more than ten per cent. The forces acting to persuade the government to accept this alternative could be expected to be provided by the public's enthusiasm at the prospect of receiving the income that your two stable enterprises could provide.

Forgive me for making so bold a proposal, but the idea seems to make sense and solves a number of the problems you and the Canadian economy are facing because of the ill-considered government policies with respect to income trusts, which I have always considered one of the better developments to come along in this country--good for businesses and industries, good for those who live off income, and good for government as a source of taxes, contrary to the fallacious arguments advanced by those who benefit from the destruction of the income trusts.

I am grateful for your attention to this letter and for your careful consideration of the merits of the proposal presented here.


cousin it said...

Jean Miller for Finance Minister!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ms Miller in that there should be a face saving compromise tabled.
If only for the fact that there are huge egos at stake, and as your previous blog stated, if an error was made in this policy change, it won't be admitted.

nineofiveland said...

When folks like Jean Miller "get it", how did we end up with Flaherty, Baird and Clement holding key portfolios in Ottawa? I guess those of us who had them in similar positions in Ontario just didn't learn!

Anonymous said...

This has been the biggest finacial disaster in history... and it's all thanks to Flaherty & Harper. Lies, Lies and more Lies.

Bring on an election, I plan on activly campaining against the current government.

Anonymous said...

Jean Miller puts the "financial experts" to shame!