Friday, November 30, 2007

The queer intersection of Mulroney's Directorships with major policies of the Harper government

What are the odds on this? Brian Mulroney sits on the board of directors of the following 5 corporations. Stephen Harper's policies are designed to benefit these same corporations, many at the expense of Canadians.

Let's take a closer look at Brian Mulroney’s main Directorships and see how they tie-in with the Harper government’s policies:

1) Archer Daniels Midland Company and the Canada Wheat Board

One of the world’s largest processors of agricultural products, ADM purchases soybeans, wheat and cocoa to convert to ethanol and biodiesel, soymeal and oil, corn sweeteners, flour, cocoa and chocolate, as well as a wide portfolio of other value-added food ingredients, animal nutrition and industrial products.

ADM has a history of price fixing and was levied with one of the largest fines in the industry of $100 million.

Stephen Harper has been trying to eliminate the Canada Wheat Board with various underhanded tricks and schemes, despite the protests of farmers. The Canada Wheat Board is an international success story -- for Canadian farmers.

Destroying it would be of great benefit to ADM, as it would weaken the collective bargaining power of Canadian farmers, (the main purpose of the Wheat Board) and create a fractured market of wheat and barley sellers, which will only benefit major buyers like ADM. See: Harper comes out swinging at Wheat Board

2) Barrick Gold Corporation

Stephen Harper's jaunt to Tanzania this month was supposed to be a feel-good news item about Canadian aid to one of the poorest nations on earth, but the real agenda, that of Barrick Gold, dominated: “Yet it was a 45-minute meeting with officials from a dozen Canadian investors, led by mining giant Barrick Gold Corp., that dominated Mr. Harper's news conference with President Jakaya Kikwete. Barrick has been accused of irresponsile mining practices in the country, and failure to pay adequate royalties. See Controversy over mining overshadows health initiative

3) The Blackstone Group L.P.

As one of the world's largest private equity players, the Blackstone Group will reap massive benefits from Stephen Harper’s elimination of the 15% withholding tax on interest paid by private equity firms on leveraged buyout debt.

Plus, his punitive tax and growth restrictions on income trusts in the hands of Canadian Investors but NOT in the hands foreign private equity like Blackstone has resulted in the perfect situation for them to pick off these sitting ducks. To date there has been $65 billion worth of takleover activity caused by this policy -- over half of it by private equity via leveraged buyout loans.

4) Quebecor Inc

The second largest printing company in the world has been moving into communications, including Sun Media, cable and internet, and telecommunications.

A federal agency plans to review lobbying by Brian Mulroney on behalf of Quebecor Inc that could benefit from Harper's decision to open up the wireless industry to more competition according to CBC News and this report from the Globe and Mail.

5) Council on Foreign Relations

David Rockefeller’s CFR is the main proponent of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, whose main goal is to bring about the North American Union under the self described process of “evolution by stealth”. This is Stephen Harper’s overall plan for Canada. He has gone to great lengths to hide these activities from Parliament and from Canadians as he knows full well that this abrogation of our sovereignty will never be supported by the people of this country.

Harper has been tasked with securing Canada's energy resources (oil, gas, wheat, water, electricity) for the US and what better guide than Mr Mulroney, who knows all about selling out Canada's interests.

The following are Brian Mulroney’s Directorships as per Ogilvy Renault

Barrick Gold Corporation
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Wyndham Worldwide Corporation
The Blackstone Group L.P.
Independent News and Media PLC
Quebecor Inc.
He is also a member of the International Advisory Councils of the China International Trust and Investment Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Lion Capital LLP.
Mr. Mulroney is also a director of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation, the International Advisory Council of HEC Montréal, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stephen Harper's latest contempt of Parliament

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson isn’t the first Harper conservative to show his contempt for Parliament, even though, he is the first to be legally liable for contemptuous acts of Parliament if he does not see to it that the Speakers Warrant to have Karlheinz Schreiber appear before the House Ethics committee.

Other examples of the Stephen Harper Conservative’s contempt for parliament include:

(1) the 200 page manual of how to obstruct parliamentary Committee
(2) Stephen Harper’s crass seat redistribution that will short change Ontario voters in favour of western voters and Quebec
(3) The contemptuous unwillingness of the Harper government, seconded by the NDP, to follow the following recommendations of the House Finance Committee:

It is imperative that a democratic government be as transparent as possible when levying a new tax so that it can be held to account by its citizens. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the federal government release the data and methodology it used to estimate the amount of federal tax revenue loss caused by the income trust sector.

The proposal to tax income trusts is of such significance and has had such a devastating effect on Canadian investors that Members of Parliament deserve a clear vote to best represent the interests of their constituents. The federal government should, therefore, separate it from the other sections of the Ways and Means Motion and table it in a stand-alone piece of legislation. The pension income splitting, the 0.5% reduction in the corporate tax rate in 2011 and the increase in the age credit amount should proceed as quickly as possible in their own separate piece of legislation.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Like US Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. Jack Layton believes in UFO's

Just like US Presidential Democratic Candidate, Dennis Kucinich, Jack Layton believes in UFO’s. However Dennis Kucinich’s case is probably much stronger as he claims to have actually touched a UFO. Jack Layton, meanwhile bases his theory on blind faith. He also claims his party was the first party in Canada to come up with the UFO theory of tax leakage even though it is nothing more than Unidentified Fiscal Obfuscation.

Jack Layton’s UFO theory of Tax Leakage occurs upon entering a fourth dimension of life in which RRRPs and pension funds do not pay taxes on their withdrawals. As comforting as such a thought (and tax regime) may be for Canadian taxpayers saving for retirement, entering this fourth dimension is a very dangerous thing indeed as Jack Layton of all people should realize it creates an enormous hole in the tax revenue collection on the part of Ottawa. Gone will be $16 billion in annual taxes that Ottawa collects from these income sources. These are monies that are collected from yesterday that are used to fund today’s social programs, despite the fact that Jim Flaherty (and evidently Jack Layton) think that today’s social programs are only funded with today’s tax revenues. If that were the case, then Canada would be running a $16 billion annual deficit, and Jack Layton wouldn’t be able to reduce GST to 5% or reduce corporate tax rates by 34% to 15% by 2012. Nor would Jack Layton be in position to split his retirement income with his spouse along with the other 30% of Canadians so privileged, and to the detriment of the 70% of Canadians who don’t get this tax break worth as much as $1,000 per month in reduced taxes.

Obviously Jack Layton is happy to live in this fourth dimension, as he has lots of company. The main god of the fourth dimension is Mark Carney who was the one who first conceived of tax leakage and conjured up the means to manufacture tax leakage. Cult leader Mark Carney was able to convert many disciples that have followed him into this dimension. His first converts were the senior bureaucrats in Finance like Rob Wright, Serge Nadeau and Bob Hamilton. After that the politicians were easy converts to this cult religion. Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty. Diane Ablonczy and Jason Kenney. Seniors Minister and unelected Cabinet Minister Marjory LeBreton was a quick convert. What Marjory lacks in credibility by not being elected are her close ties to Brain Mulroney, as his former Appointments Secretary and her academic studies at Ottawa Business College following high school.

Jack Layton, however proudly proclaims that it is his party that was the first to identify the tax leakage of income trusts. He said so to me in a conversation back in February, I heard the same proud claim from NDP MP Peter Julian in Hamilton on Friday. Many NDP MPs , such as Denise Savoie, are even writing letters to their concerned constituents , stating:

“I have asked Judy Wasylycia-Leis to investigate a number of concerns. I am confident in supporting her position on this matter, that: “I am confident that government estimates of future tax leakage are solid””

So what’s behind that double dose of confidence about the UFO concept of tax leakage on the part of the NDP?

(1) Blind Faith?
(2) Wishful thinking?
(3) Inside information?

The only credible answer would be (3) Inside Information, as all Canadians have received as proof of Mark Carney’s Cult of Tax Leakage is 18 pages of Blacked out documents ( see attached). Although being in possession of inside information on tax leakage would be the most credible explanation for the NDP, it would be the most politically correct answer, as it was the NDP and Judy Wasylycia-Leis who falsely accused Finance Minister Ralph Goodale of leaking information to the market in fall of 2005, when in reality it was Director General of Tax Policy Serge Nadeau who was engaged in insider trading who tipped the market during three hours of trading prior to the announcement.

Meanwhile the blind faith of Jack Layton’s UFO sighting has cost Canadians a loss of $35 billion in their life savings, including a loss of $279,493,840 in asset value by Canadians in the Canada Pension Plan, as of November 21, 2007 ( see attached).

This from a party that professes it believes in transparency and accountability and seniors’ dignity and the financial security for seniors. The NDP’s blind adherence to the Harper government’s draconian and wholly unproven tax policies, make a complete mockery of such claims, on every front. It’s time for the NDP and its new Finance Critic Thomas Mulcair to put a lie to Mark Carney’s fraudulent claim of alleged tax leakage, especially now that the corporate model has been reduced in its tax collection efficiency by 34% and no commensurate change in the double taxation of income trusts.

What was alleged to be a measure to “level the playing field” can no longer be. By definition. No calculator required. Failure on the part of the NDP to do, is just the furtherance of the cult known as Unidentified Fiscal Obfuscation. Far reaching tax policies should not be based on UFO sightings, unless of course, you’re the head of a cult harboring ulterior motives.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Funny money

As part of the fight against money laundering and organized crime, the $1,000 denomination was withdrawn by the Bank of Canada for circulation in 2000.

It is however being reintroduced in 2008 under the stewardship of Bank of Canada Governor elect Mark Carney.

The new $1000 note will commemorate Canada’s 18th Prime Minister, The "Right Honorable" Brian Mulroney. An important feature of the new Brian Bucks is that it will carry all the normal security features, with the exception of those pesky serial numbers. This should facilitate its widespread use.

The new bill is best used in a brown paper bag.

Ponzi scheme?, No, rather ABCP was a virtual cheque kiting scheme

"We are monitoring the ABCP situation very closely."

There are those who benefit form falsely maligning income trusts as ponzi schemes. Then there are those, like the banks who stand idly by, and say nothing to counter this utterly false portrayal. It would appear that one of the greatest threats to our financial system is the silence of the banks, as they are content to constantly play both ends against the middle. The parties who suffer from this duplicitous behaviour are the clients of those very banks and the integrity of our capital markets. One would think the banks would be the parties most desirous of protecting the integrity of our markets and their clients. Such is clearly not the case as we have recently learned.

I learned from the income trust tax incident that the banks are happy to sit back and allow the government to employ FALSE premises to destroy a market that they themselves had a major role in facilitating (as opposed to creating) and for which they earned $4.1 billion in underwriting fees alone over 10 years. The income trust market was created by profound investor need, not by the banks who simply facilitated that need, and brokered deals between investors and issuers. The 70% of Canadians without pensions need a source of pension income. The government has destroyed the best vehicle that exised to fill that need. All Canadians will suffer from the lnevitable loss of $7.5 billion in ANNUAL tax revenues. A perfect Stephen Harper lose lose lose policy outcome.

Now we learn that in the case of the Asset Backed Commercial Paper (ABCP) market, the banks were major players in what is nothing more that a monumental check kiting scheme, where short term paper up for maturity was funded through the issuance of new short term paper, whereas the interest was funded by long term assets. Asset Backed Commercial Paper meltdown meets Long Term Capital Management meltdown. Don’t people learn? In the case of ABCP, we learn that the entire market’s viability turned on the ability of the placement agents (banks) to roll the paper over, every thirty days, making the ABCP market the virtual equivalent of cheque kiting, which is a criminal act.

Worse than the fact that ABCP was a virtual cheque kiting scheme is the knowledge that the placement agents were happily going about placing new paper at the very time that they were concerned about the viability of the market itself. In that respect the placement agents were playing the equivalent of musical chairs, except their clients were the ones who ran the risk of having no where to sit when the music stopped.

This is another shameless chapter in the sad world of the Canadian financial services market place and Canada’s chartered banks. Heads should role on this one, when it is reported in the press (Globe) that:

“Some banks continued to sell ABCP in the weeks prior to the August meltdown even though many buyers were unaware of troubling warning signs that were evident to banks and discussed at senior levels.”

This clearly meets the definition of insider trading where “a person with a fiduciary duty has private information, and is trading on it.”

Meanwhile here is the definition of cheque kiting;

“Check kiting or cheque fraud refers to a category of criminal acts that involve making the unlawful use of one or more check or checking accounts in order to illegally acquire or borrow funds that do not exist within the account balance or account-holder's legal ownership. Most methods that are used by violator involve taking advantage of the float (the time between the negotiation of the check and its clearance at the check-writer's bank) to draw out these funds. Such acts are often colloquially referred to as check kiting or paper hanging.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

There's a sucker born every minute

The counterfeit motives and false claims of Mark Carney
Counterfeit motive: altruism
False claim: tax leakage

A classic Globe & Mail article from February 2005 featured a photo of Mark Carney and profiled the new members in the Department of Finance. Mark Carney was held out to be some kind of altruistic boy wonder -- who gave up the comfortable life of Wall Street and his job at Goldman Sachs to “do good” for Canada in the Department of Finance.

How selfless of him!

Subsequent events, such as interaction with many executives in the income trust industry and his testimony at the public hearings at Flaherty’s side, have cast serious doubt on whether Mark’s career move was anything remotely resembling altruism. It seems that it was rather a career move, a trade-off between getting rich the slow and predictable way at Goldman Sachs or foregoing the immediacy of today’s payday and “investing in the long term” by entering the civil service and making the wheels of government do his Machiavellian bidding. all the while catapulting him to levels unthinkable as just another everyday intermediate level Goldman Sachs investment banker.

Smart move!

That trade-off made was made rather obvious by the G&M article, in which the altruistic spin on Mark’s career move was in complete disharmony with his compensation musings of:

“Several thoughts flashed through Carney's mind. He was due to take over as senior associate deputy minister of finance (No. 3 in the department hierarchy) in a few weeks, and the Petrocan windfall was a lot bigger than expected. Yet he also knew there would be about $15 in new spending requests for each dollar raised. He briefly imagined some new tanks for the military, or saving a plant full of workers, but he also realized he would never see details of any requests, just the total dollar figures. The 39-year-old former investment banker with Goldman Sachs did a quick mental calculation as well: At his public service salary, he'd have to work about 250 years to earn the equivalent of the $56 million in fees paid to the investment banks that acted as underwriters on the Petrocan deal. "I don't think there are many transactions in Canadian Capital Market history that have worked out better for the client," said one investment banker involved in the sale. "And Carney was the engineer behind the deal." (Globe and Mail, February 2005)

Doesn’t sound very altruistic to me. More like selfish remorse and second thoughts about his career move decision.

It is also oddly coincidental that this same article reported that tax leakage from income trusts was costing the government $50 million a year (according to Deputy Minister of Finance Ian Bennett). Funny that after Mark Carney took over the file, he had found a way to pump up that bogus number by ten fold to $500 million a year. You'd think the income trust market had grown by tenfold from February 2005 to February 2007. It hadn't. But that didn't stop Flaherty and Carney from “talking up” that inflated and thoroughly fanciful figure at the Public hearings into Income Trusts in 2006 and “pumping it up” to the press. See

Here is the relevant passage:

“Income trusts are another headache. Companies that convert themselves into trusts are allowed to pay out the lion's share of their cash flow to investors very tax efficiently. There has been a deluge of trust conversions over the past few years, and more than 15% of the issues on the Toronto Stock Exchange are now trusts of one form or another. In total, they cost Ottawa about $50 million a year in lost revenue. That's modest, but what if every business in the country converted itself? Of course I worry about these things," says Bennett.”

We are simply left to ponder the ultimate end game behind the counterfeit motives and artifice claims of Mark Carney. He must have pleased his new employers though, because he catapulted over the several others who were in line to head the Bank of Canada.

Step right up folks!

Here is the full text of the article.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Harper condones corruption on strictly partisan terms

Personally I think all politicians that are proven to be corrupt should be subject to the full extent of the law. Brian Mulroney would be a good place to start. Perhaps we could end with Stephen Harper himself. Stephen Harper is nothing, if not intellectually corrupt. He hasn’t made a promise yet, that he hasn’t proven himself willing to break

Evidently Stephen Harper has a different take on this matter of corruption involving Brian Mulroney than I do. His goes along the lines of:

“This is not a route that I want to go down, and I don’t think that if the Liberal Party thought twice about it, it is a power they would want to give me.”

Can you think of a more psychotic response than that? “Not a power they want to give me”.

Hey Stephen, notwithstanding your penchant for attack ads and constant fish or cut bait ultimatums, it’s not the Liberals who give you power. It is the electorate and the laws of our nation. As mistaken as that electorate may have been in the last election, when they gullibly entrusted you with minority office, as distinct from minority power.

Nor is it the Liberal Party or any other party with whom you will negotiate with as to Canadians’ tolerance for corruption and bribery amongst high officials, such as Brian Mulroney.

Whether the Liberals, the NDP, or the Bloc  thinks its “okay” for Brian Mulroney to accept cash payments in private hotel suites in envelopes stuffed with $1000 bills isn’t the point. Nor is your willingness to seemingly horse trade the misdeed of your party’s senior members with the alleged misdeeds of other party’s members. Which, after all is the essence of the Faustian trade you are attempting to broker here. Stephen Harper. Corruption broker and bribery apologist. My, how 20 months of “power’ have changed you.

Canadians have zero tolerance for corruption amongst politicians, political parties, governments or bureaucrats. Remember that’s what got you into office in the first place. Corruption amongst those behind the Sponsorship program was the wind behind your sail in the last election. Apparently things were capable of getting worse, and indeed they did, as now we have the $35 billion income trust betrayal of falsehoods and lies perpetrated and yet never proven with a scintilla of evidence.

Now that you are in office, you are pushing for a new level of tolerance for corruption on the part of Canadians -- arguing for it on the most cynical of partisan terms.

Such arguments are a disgrace to our democracy and the needs of the people. Does corruption in high office simply represent an opportunity for you Mr. Harper, or is it something you are ethically opposed to? Your throne speech continually referred to yours being a “clean” government. Beware of those who preach their own virtues. Meanwhile, this from page one of Stephen Harper’s campaign platform of 2006:

 “We need to replace a culture of entitlement and corruption with a culture of accountability. We need to replace benefits for a privileged few with government for all.”

What could be further from the truth under a Stephen Harper government? We have now learned that he condones corruption. He effortlessly reverses election campaign promises with policies designed to serve the interests of narrow special interests. Stephen Harper is a charlatan. He leads by misleading

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thank you

To all the wonderful Halloween parliament participants.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,

Without all of you it would not have been possible.

I feel humble that I know all of you wonderful people.

You took the time out of your busy schedules to come to Parliament Hill to say, "You know something here just isn't right and we would like it fixed."

You are not asking for the world, you are not asking for the impossible.

What you were asking for, is this government to prove to us why they crushed our beloved Income Trusts.

Why did they take away this vehicle that help to pay our bills and to live
the rest of our lives in dignity?

You asked that they start a parliamentary review of why they did this to us.

What can we do now?

This is not the end, it is just the beginning.

We must work, determined to bring this lying government to their knees
begging us for forgiveness. That will never happen.

As Jean Marie said "I will never, never, never vote Conservatitive again."

I apologize if I didn't personally thank you for coming.

Your friend,

Dave Marshall

Harper makes friends from the previous government's foes.......through cold political cunning

If like me you are of the view that Jim Flaherty has the creativity of a gnat, you’d be correct. The only creativity he brought to bear in leveling the income trust market with a sledge hammer, was the cold calculated political moves by the Stephen Harper government made in a orchestrated co-ordinated way to silence the “known pockets of resistance”.

It certainly didn’t take much genius to figure out who was going to be negatively disposed to Flaherty’s moves to tamper with Stephen Harper’s solemn election promise, as we had all been to this movie before under the Goodale Consultative Round.

Canada’s Corporate Controlling Elite and their vast control of Canadian media was already assured, as Harper’s move was lobbied for by them, and them alone. CCCE asks. Harper acts. As for the rest of us: Harper Promises. Harper Betrays

As unacceptable and undemocratic as not consulting with the public was, the Harper government did the exact opposite. It was engaged in horse trading before the fact with groups it needed to buy off. CARP had pretty much been rendered useless as a seniors advocacy group on this issue because it was already deep in the pockets of its two main commercial sources of its revenues, namely Power Corporation (through the CARP certified Investment Planning Council representatives and their extensive advertising in CARP’s magazine and website) and ManuLife (through its widespread advertising spend with the CARP media empire aimed at susceptible seniors).

Next to be dealt with, and the means for doing so were:

Silencing the previous government’s known critics:

OTTAWA, November 2, 2006 — The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), today appointed Ms. Margaret Lefebvre as a member of the Council.

"Ms. Lefebvre's experience and knowledge in science and research will bring rich and diverse contributions to the Council as it continues to further its work," said Minister Bernier.

Margaret Lefebvre has had the opportunity to serve on several boards, including the working group to create a national science organization, the Council of Canadian Academies. Ms. Lefebvre is currently the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Income Funds.

Recognized globally for research and innovation, the NRC is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology.

Silencing the previous government’s known critics:

VANCOUVER, November 2, 2006 Vancouver 2010 Chairman Jack Poole welcomed three new federal appointees who attended their first Vancouver VANOC Board meeting today. The Government of Canada announced the following appointments on November 2, 2006: Peter Brown, of Vancouver, BC; Jacques Gauthier, of Montréal, Quebec; and Carol Stephenson, of London, Ontario.

Peter Brown is the Chairman and CEO of Canaccord Capital Corporation

Special carve outs for pension plans: Leveling the playing field? Tax Fairness?

Teachers' response to new federal income trust policy November 1, 2006

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has advocated for a taxation policy on income trusts that does not discriminate against pension funds, and we are pleased to see that this is the case with the government’s announcement yesterday (October 31, 2006).

The reality is that, in a protracted period of low interest rates, it is important to find alternate investments with yields that help make up the difference. Income trusts have allowed us to do that in recent years. The challenge will be to find the investment vehicles that will replace the income and cash flow that income trusts have represented to us, but we are confident that our investment team will find them. The four-year implementation period for this new policy will enable us to gradually make any necessary adjustments to our portfolio.

There is good news for pensioners and other seniors over age 65 in this new policy, which will help take the sting out of the new tax policy on income trusts for them: the age exemption tax credit will be increased by $1,000 and income splitting will be permitted.

Special carve outs for pension plans: Leveling the playing field? Tax Fairness?

November 1, 2006: Senior Communications spokesperson for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Ian Dale, made comments to the press that are supportive of the Harper Government’s reneging of an election promise never to tax income trusts. Evidently the CPPIB felt it was in a position to comment on such a complex matter. In the space of a few short hours. No doubt they already had the “lowdown” from their government masters.