Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gaming the system via contrived circumstances


In many respects the powers of democratic governments are very limited. However the ability of governments to contrive circumstances is quite extensive, at least for those willing to take this unfortunate route to governing. Stephen Harper is one such person.

The incident reported on yesterday involving the alleged infiltration of a group of peaceful demonstrators at the SPP meetings in Montebello with members of the police force whose clear rock-toting intent was to transform a peaceful protest into a violent protest is very revealing indeed and quite disturbing. Two things about this incident are quite certain. First is that the security protocols for a summit of this sort would be as tightly managed and highly choreographed as it gets. It is impossible to imagine that any member of the security detail would be given the discretion or latitude to adopt rogue procedures that would allow a peaceful demonstration to morph into a violent one. Therefore the approvals for such a tactic would go very high up within the chain of command. Second, these three alleged demonstrators whose actions were caught on a YouTube video were clearly members of the police force as judging by their mock arrest (as a result of no provocation and to simply allow them to comfortably exit the scene) and the fact that they wore the exact same footwear as the police themselves, as made abundantly obvious by the identical yellow logos on the soles of their boots caught on video.

I wonder how many people were sitting around the boardroom table discussing the use of this tactic for the upcoming Montebello meeting? More to the point, which members of the trilateral security detail thought it would be a good idea to contrive such a set of circumstance that would foment violence among an otherwise peaceful group of protestors? What twisted logic was used as the justification for contriving these circumstances and whose approval was given to implement such a tactic?

This willingness to contrive circumstances is not a new tactic for Canada’s New Government. The income trust betrayal was probably the first such situation that gained prominence. Stephen Harper had significantly limited his options when he was voted into office on an explicit promise to never tax income trusts. This was a  very successful strategy at garnering votes and helped install Stephen Harper as Prime Minister. Having entered the heady realm of high office, Stephen Harper found himself being fawned over by Canada’s corporate elite who had been unsuccessful in the previous government under Finance Minister Ralph Goodale in their efforts to eliminate income trusts in order to preserve the status quo as they knew it and as benefited them as issuers in the capital markets and as  sellers of competing financial products like life annuities etc.

This created a problem. How do I, Stephen Harper, reverse such an explicit promise in order to ingratiate myself with my new friends in high places? Nothing like a contrived set of circumstance to offer the opportunity to game the system. Eventhough we knew that our promise to never tax income trusts was highly likely to provide corporations with the necessary confidence to proceed with conversion into income trusts in an atmosphere of fiscal certainty, we will use this very outcome of our promise as the rationale for totally reversing our promise. We will simply say that the  circumstances have now changed. To add fuel to this fire we will contrive an analysis that concludes that these conversions will result in a significant loss of taxes to Ottawa. We will contrive this tax leakage result by totally ignoring in our analysis the taxes that  are paid by RRSPs which hold 38% of all outstanding income trusts, by assuming they never pay taxes. We will cite National Security as the rationale for why we deliver 18 pages of blacked out documents to Gordon Tait in response to his request under the Access to Information Act. We will further contrive the circumstances by ignoring the known fact that neither BCE nor Telus actually pay any taxes as the corporations that they will be forced by out actions to remain. We will ignore the fact that any experienced person would know that this policy will make BCE and Telus and the entire $200 billion income trust market highly vulnerable to leveraged buyouts by foreign private equity which will have the result that virtually no Canadian taxes are paid by either the companies themselves OR their new owners.

Canada’s New Government will employ a tactic of contriving circumstances to free ourselves from the constraints of the electorate and our election promises, in order that we can game the system to our political advantage. Wouldn’t it be just great if we could get Michael Sabia who has resisted at every opportunity converting into a trust, to announce BCE”s conversion to an income trust? That would be the perfect trifecta of contrived circumstance to reverse our income trust promise. Changed circumstances, tax leakage, BCE and Telus. That way the Globe could report that: “ Amid this escalating tension, Mr. Sabia's phone call became a flashpoint, prompting the federal government to accelerate its crackdown on the sector. Mr. Flaherty was convinced the twin conversions of icons such as Telus and BCE would incite other corporate titans to follow in their wake.” and Flaherty could be quoted as saying; ““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.”

The fact that this whole premise is blatantly false, doesn’t seem to matter, with the Canadian press at least. However, it is to the exception of a handful of journalists and about 2.5 million Canadians who were robbed by their own government and the 70% of Canadians who were betrayed by losing an important investment choice that they had been assured would be available to them as they undertake the difficult task of providing for their own retirement income in a protracted low interest rate environment.

14 comments:

Dr Mike said...

What has happened to our country when such incidents have been allowed to occur--maybe I am naive in assuming that this is something new--maybe things like this were happening all along & we somehow have just finally wised-up to the situation.

Maybe with the advent of widespread use of the internet , we can finally see what has been occurring all along.

No matter what has happened in the past , we must now take back control of our government by seeing through these manipulations by the few individuals at the top.

This "new" government seems to be content to use deception to attain it`s end--why tell the truth when they can use flowery phrases like "The Tax Fairness Plan" laden with descriptions that would make any sane Canadian jump on the bandwagon to destroy the trust structure & make those greedy trust investors pay their fair share so the rest of us do not have to pay it for them.

My God , these guys are good--if they can manipulate the public into believing their take on trusts even in the face of the mounting evidence against them , they must be doing something right.

The problem is , that the appearance of doing the right thing & the actual facts are often two different things.

We have looked beyond the face of this "new" Conservative government & we have seen the real beast that lurks behind--like the masks of the protestors , they can only hide their real faces for so long--eventually the truth will win out & we will still be standing to say "we told you so"!!!!

Dr Mike.

Anonymous said...

Do not-X. Say X. This is truth telling according to the Book of Harper.

Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, said the recent sale of nine Government properties was “open, transparent and competitive.” But that is false.

An open process is a public tender to which any and all are invited. That did not happen. In the case of a transparent and competitive bidding process, the winning and losing bids are publicly disclosed. That did not happen.

What the Government Services Canada did was closed, opaque, and non- competitive. What Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works said is “open, transparent and competitive.”

Canada’s New Government talks in Orwellian old (1948) Newspeak.

Anonymous said...

"Quebec police admit they infiltrated protest"

Well this is very interesting. Good of them to admit to what is obvious to the naked eye. Do you think major news media like the the Globe will see fit to report on this now that its been admitted to by the Police that they conducted themselves in a manner that could only have led to the foment of violence among a group of otherwise peaceful protesters at the SPP meeting at Montebello? Perhaps the Globe can redeem itself from its gross omission of important news reporting to inquire into the more compelling question of how far up the “chain of command” the approval for this tactic was at a the high security summit. Who in the police/government wanted to deny these Canadians their right to peaceful demonstration and protest? Who wanted to contrive a false circumstance to portray these peaceful demonstrators and their legitimate concerns about SPP in a negative light?

Brent Fullard

Dr Mike said...

The Police stated that the members of their force were inserted into the protestors for observational purposes only--from this statement, one must assume that the rock the one masked man carried must have been for self defense from all those rowdy old guy protestors.

This rock is similar to the one used by Mr Flaherty to slay the same old guy trust investors who were a blight on the Canadian fabric.

Actually , when I think about it , this is probably the same rock!!!!

Dr Mike.

Anonymous said...

And the BLOG police took off my message on how to contact other CAITI members. I was just responding to a request by our well-regarded Dr Popovic moderator of this blog. I am sure there are some "great” reasons for deleting that message, like privacy etc etc blla blla blla. Do you see what happens when you have a little power in this case DELETE MESAGE BUUTON and start making "decisions" kind of a "TAX FAIRNESS PLAN" happens?

Anonymous said...

RCMP / OPP / and all other agencies have people looking at this blog regularly. THEY ARE WATHCING YOU ALL from a distance ???

In a second thought some of the blogers are RCMP provocators ??

ArdM said...

I don’t have to tell you that the only thing politician’s care is to keep their jobs, mean while once they are elected they think that there is enough time until the next elections to forget and neglect the people that elected them in the first place, short term memory. Unfortunately for us the TRUST issue to the newbie CONS in power, was considered a neutral wash by their election consultants. So they went ahead and did what the “experienced” LIBs didn’t dare to touch.
What Politian’s understand is the power of numbers and if we start showing up ORGANISED in groups of 4-5 people asking questions in their meetings with the constituents then may be they will start understanding that this will hurt them as much as the people that were in the receiving end of these stupid decisions. When people lose real money and the ability to a continuous steady income, the issue is not going to be forgotten and doesn’t come as neutral and a wash in their election consultant’s balance sheet.
We need to organize in LOCAL CAITI chapters and make sure that this issue stays in the front of every town hall meeting.

It is about time for a re-organization of CAITI in local chapters. Keeping up the preasure on the HILL is great but apparently hasn’t produced the desired results. Let’s have the MPs hear it from us direct. Organize local CAITI chapters if possible in the same geographical areas as the election ridings and constituencies as per the following link:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC

39TH GENERAL ELECTION (2006.01.23) - WINTER
Government: 124 Opposition: 184 Minority: 60

Political Affiliation Elected Members Number of Candidates Number of Valid Votes Percentage of Popular Vote
Conservative Party of Canada (2003)
124 308 5,370,903 36%
Liberal Party of Canada
103 308 4,477,217 30%
Bloc Québécois
51 75 1,552,043 10%
New Democratic Party
29 308 2,590,808 17%
Other 1 635 827,709 5%
Total 308 1,634 14,815,680 100%

So all we need is 308 local chapters of CAITI one for each MP ridings and from what I saw under the membership lookup, there are plenty of members in each riding. On mine, I could find at least 20 original members of CAITI. Once you know the names then on www.411.ca find their phone numbers and contact them with the idea of the local chapter. Once you have accomplished that take it to the next step. Invite one Saturday all the members that are open to the idea of the local chapter in your backyard for an informal get to know each other, ask them to bring a friend or some one with them too.

Identify the people with more energy, initiative and free time and create a committee and elect a chair person coordinator. Register the chapter with CAITI central.

With CAITI-s CENTRAL help, identify 10 short strait to the point burning questions to ask MP-s tailored according to their political parity affiliation (40 questions all together with follow-up expected answers and question)

Find your MP phone # address and start asking, when he is going to be in town, when he is going to meet his constituents, show up in these meetings with fellow local CAITI members. Start asking the questions and demand answers. Write to the blog of your local news papers about these meetings and the answers you received. Keep in mind LIBerals need to be reminded the same, NDP and Block MPs need to hear it loud and clear too. The CONs bench backers need to start expressing discontent and disenchantment with their leadership.

Nothing is substitute for DRECT ACTION that is the only way to make waves on this issue. Don’t forget we have only three years left to 2011 when TRUST taxation for CanRoys enters in effect.

How is this for a recipe to start a real grass roots movement and get the attention of the MPs ?

Anonymous said...

To serve and protect



Evidently the Surete du Quebec’s version of “to serve and protect” means to engage in the practice of serving up lies to protect themselves from public scrutiny. Despite the partial admission of yesterday that they did in fact use undercover agents to infiltrate peaceful demonstrators at the Montebello summit, they still haven’t come clean with the whole story. First they are maintaining that these police infiltrators were not “provocateurs”. If not, why the hand held rocks? If not, why did these non-provocateurs disobey the leaders of the peaceful protesters when they were repeatedly asked to drop their rocks or leave, and did neither? Furthermore why does the press release issued yesterday by the Surete du Quebec misrepresent how it was that these police provocateurs were “outed” by the protestors? The Surete du Quebec claim there were outed when they refused to throw their rocks at the police. These guys just don’t get it. The police were forced to recant their denial because of the abundant evidence provided by the You Tube. Why do they persist in their attempts to mitigate their guilt with false stories about the circumstances? The You Tube makes it abundantly clear how these officers were “outed” and it is not the self serving version being served up in their press release. The You Tube makes it abundantly clear that these police provocateurs were being asked to drop their rocks and not throw their rocks. A not too modest distinction, one would think, in the eyes of the law.

Meanwhile, why is Stockwell Day so disinterested in this matter of police protocol? He initially denied that any such situation occurred. Denial has now morphed into containment. He is now saying that these three unidentified provocateurs were simply the QPP and not the RCMP, and yet only days ago when questioned by reporters about the role of US security in the Montebello summit, Stockwell Day was crowing about how it was that the RCMP had overall responsibility for the summit. I guess that overall responsibility didn’t apply to things that went wrong. Evidently, the concept of to serve and protect is in much widespread use these days. Shame.

Brent Fullard

CAITI said...

Anonymous said:
And the BLOG police took off my message on how to contact other CAITI members. I was just responding to a request by our well-regarded Dr Popovic moderator of this blog. I am sure there are some "great” reasons for deleting that message, like privacy etc etc blla blla blla. Do you see what happens when you have a little power in this case DELETE MESAGE BUUTON and start making "decisions" kind of a "TAX FAIRNESS PLAN" happens?

Dear Anonymous
Your post was removed in order to protect the privacy of our members, some of whom agreed to have their names listed on the CAITI website, and others who wished to remain anonymous as is their right. The member database was never intended to be publicly available. We have a duty and an obligation to protect our members' wishes for privacy. I am sure you will understand.

As you yourself are posting anonymously, I was unable to contact you personally to explain the reasons behind the deletion.

For the record, Dr Mike is not a moderator here.

Dr Mike said...

Hi guys,
As stated I am not a moderator--just a very concerned member of Caiti--I do however appreciate the thought.

I post comments regularly because I believe it is vital that people become more involved--we need to express our views any way that we can--this is a great way to share ideas & any relevant information we may be able to use down the road as the fight against the Tories becomes more intense--& believe me , it will.

This is evidenced by the inability to contact local Conservative MPs concerning this issue--my own MP Joe Preston Of Elgin-Middlesex-London riding has totally cut me off from any debate--I am sure others in our group have noticed the same thing.

If anyone out there has had any luck making contact with their Cons MPs please let us know--I would be interested to hear what they have had to say.

The silence in our riding has been defeaning.

Dr Mike.

Paul Sirois said...

It's not just the CONS MP's that can't be reached; it's also the NDP ones that give one the brush-off. My MP is Jacky Boy himself!

After three formal letters and two e-mails last spring, this was his response:
"I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your recent correspondence. Your views and concerns will be helpful to me in my work as federal Leader of the New Democratic Party." Ha! Ha! Ha!

Dr Mike said...

Paul,
My several hand written letters to Jack netted me one thank you letter for my support on the income trust file--talk about a slap in the face--the idiots don`t even read them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dr Mike.

Anonymous said...

There is a pattern of deception and mis-speak in the dealings of the Harper government. The lies and deceptions surrounding the income trust tax are well-known. Less well-known is the press release announcing the sale of $1.6 billion of public assets, as issued by Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works. And now we have the deception of three police officers, men who are trained and paid to protect the public, trying to provoke an attack by riot police on a peaceful demonstration.

Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works demonstrates the ‘Do X and say Y’ syndrome, where X and Y are opposites. Michael M Fortier said the sale of the buildings was “open, transparent and competitive.” But that is false. An open process is a public tender to which any and all are invited. That did not happen. In the case of a transparent and competitive bidding process, the winner and losing bids are publicly disclosed. That did not happen. What the government did was closed, opaque, and non- competitive. Michael M Fortier, though, says “open, transparent and competitive.”

How far up the chain of command does the order to the three masked police officers go? Why has the Public Safety Minister jumped to the defence of the three masked police officers? Perhaps he knows some X that he now calling Y.

Dr Mike said...

This whole situation in Canada is shameful--how did this happen--have we been functioning within a cloud of ignorance for so long that we have grown to expect nothin more from out politicians.

It is indeed sad when a member of parliament like Garth Turner has become the exception rather than the norm.

How can a government just impose something called the "Tax fairness plan ' without any discussion or any thought to the repercussions .

How can police at any level take it upon themselves to put their own citizens at risk of harm.

This has got to stop--we are the only ones who can make this happen--most of our politicians are not on our side--big business & special interest groups are their only concern.

The sooner we realize this the better--working as individuals the job remains hard--working together in a peaceful but effective manner is always best.

Staying enlightened , like a union leader who perceived something to be wrong, makes us strong in the face of these bullies in Ottawa.

I , for one , am tired of the tactics employed to keep the people in this country in check--maybe it is time for all of us to ride around in buses with bags over our heads with the inscription "Shame on us , we voted Conservative" (thanks Louis).

Dr Mike

PS-"A Rant a day keeps the politicians away"--well , maybe not but I was hoping.