Sunday, January 13, 2008

National Citizens Coalition Alberta Membership Survey


7. Which of the following issues would you like the NCC to concentrate on most on during 2008 (pick three only):
-reform health care for a greater role for the private sector
-reform Canada's health care system
-reform election gag laws to allow more independent individual free speech during election campaigns
-reduce government spending
-stronger national defense and national security issues
-reduce federal government involvement in areas of provincial jurisdiction such as healthcare and education
-slow the transition to recently enacted changes on income trusts
-don't know

11. Do you think the federal government should be spending time to solve the "fiscal" imbalance with the province? Yes No Don't know

17. Do you have an investment portfolio that has been affected by the recently passed income trust changes? Yes No

18. If you answered yes to question 11, would you like us to mount an aggressive campaign calling upon the government to slow the transition period of these changes so that income trust holders, including seniors, will have time to make financial adjustments that will lessen the tax blow to their portfolios?
Yes No Don't know/I am not an investor

Perhaps it would be more instructive if the National Citizens Coalition were to simply ask their membership about whether they believe in the need for government being transparent and therefore accountable. That way, the answer to the questionnaire wont be swayed by whether the respondent owns income trust or not in their investment portfolio, since Canadians need to realize that the Income trust issue is not about income trust per se.

It's about the need for honest, accountable, government,, rather Harper .

Sort of like the gospel that Stephen Harper preached back in the ways when he headed up the NCC. Sort of like the gospel that Stephen Harper preached when he headed up the NCC. Or better yet this exercise in voter deception and dead on arrival pretense of accountability, contained in the Conservatives election platform entitled "Stand up for Canada":

”People who work hard, pay their taxes, and play by the rules want accountability from their political leaders. We don’t expect politicians to be perfect. But we do want to know that our tax dollars – money we’ve worked for – are being spent properly and wisely.”

Once in office we instead received 18 pages of blacked out documents and self excusing comments like this from Stephen Harper’s Chief of Staff. Ian Brodie, circa November 16, 2006 e-mail:

"The alternative to breaking the election promise and taxing trusts was to abandon all other tax cut plans as the corporate tax base quickly disappeared. Instead, Flaherty acted quickly, in the face of rapidly changing conditions, to break the trusts promise and save the rest of the government’s promises. Not a pretty choice, to be sure, but hardly an epic betrayal either."

Or this gem from the great man himself, Steve Harper, circa November 24, 2006 e-mail:

"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."

Forget about fixing alleged tax loopholes. It would be much better if you proved their existence in the first place. Maybe that would provide a basis for the "trust" that you think is yours for the asking....or exploitation as the case may be.

Ether way, one thing is certain. Don Martin of the National Post couldn't be more wrong when he wrote the following apologist piece ,a mere ten days ago. Just ask the National Citizens Coalition about the validity of this statement after they get the results of their membership survey:

“Jim Flaherty seems to have finally put the income trust flip-flop behind him.”

If that’s the case, them someone better let Liberal MP Garth Turner know, since Garth Turner as member of the Finance Committee is so far behind the times, according to Don Martin’s wishful thinking that the he and his Liberal colleagues want an answer to the following:

"That this committee as soon as possible launch an inquiry into the unproven allegation by the Finance Minister that income trusts result in a loss of tax revenue to Ottawa, in light of reports that 70% of all recent trust purchasers are tax-exempt, while individual Canadian investors lost tens of billions of dollars, and therefore pay less tax, as a result of the government trust decision."


Louis said...


There is only one area in which there are tax losses--to foreign investors. More about that in a moment.

Within Canada, what one province has lost, another has gained. What one corporation has lost, a group of individual investors has gained. What a Finance Dept has lost from a corporation, it has gained more from individual investors; and even more from RSPs and RIFs, which are not eligible for the tax-preferred treatment of return of capital or capital gain.

Within Canada, it never was about tax losses. Well, maybe it was about economic productivity? In fact no; a comparative study of energy trusts versus the rest of the conventional industry shows that energy trusts paid more in provincial royalties, reinvested more of their cash flow from operations, and were increasing their reserves. In short, energy trusts smacked the productivity pants off the conventional oil & gas corporations.

Did the Federal Finance Minister lie to Canada? As individual, no; as an economist, yes, since Jim Flaherty doesn’t have enough wattage to fill a position on a string of LED Xmas lights. But did the Department of Finance knowingly put falsehoods in Jim Flaherty’s press releases? It sure looks like it.

At any rate, the income trust tax is about a small group of senior government officials in Ottawa and Edmonton serving some corporate elites.

What about tax losses to foreign investors? Yes, losses occur. But what about the off-setting gains from Canadians who bring foreign investment income home to Canada? Why hasn’t the Department of Finance disclosed how much windfall tax revenue it gains from foreign sources?

As Plato said, “Nature does not walk about on one leg.” So too taxation; if Finance wants to count the losses to foreign sources, then to be reasonable, fair, accurate and truthful as is expected of senior government officials of a democratic society (see Charter of Rights section 1) the Department of Finance needs to disclose how much Canada gains from taxing foreign source income. When that happens, the allegation will no longer be unproven. The allegation will be a known falsehood.

Do Albertans have something to say to the National Citizens Coalition? For sure.

Tootrusting said...

I was reading the government press release on the tax fairness plan

In it they predict a tax revenue of 400 million from publicly traded flow through entities in the first full year of the tax, with absolutely no accounting for how they came up with the figure except the 18 pages of blacked out information we recieved.

Prior to November 2006 the $200 billion Income Trust industry was paying $15 in annual distributions a 31% tax would have netted the government $4.65 billion in revenue, so why the $4.2 billion difference?

Does the figure attempt to take into account the tax revenue already collected on distributions through Income Tax? As far as we know the government doesn't have these statistics, anyway this is not what they state this is just the revenue projected from the new tax, why is it so low?

Did they expect the income trust industry to collapse to such an extend that distributions would fall from $15 billion to $1.3 billion?

Did they account for the lost income tax revenue as the trusts convert to other entities that won't be paying any tax totaling $1.4 billion a year so far?

Did they account for the capital gains losses investors would be claiming as Income Trusts lost $35 billion in value.

There are lots of ways they could have come up with the numbers, we still don't know as all we have seen is blacked out pages.
from our new accountable government.

Could the governments reluctance to release the information having anything to do with over a dozen reports stating the is no tax revenue loss and the government got it facts wrong?

Anonymous said...

Too Trusting, there's another question.

Everything Flaherty has said about income trusts applies to REITs. So why wasn't the tax revenue loss from REITs not stopped?

Flaherty created a bogus reason for exempting REITs. It is that reasoning alone which justifies naming him "a liar". Of course there are other reasons for so naming him, but the gross inconsistency of his notion of REITs as passive is the most obvious.

The real point is this: Flaherty was not doing the trust tax based on fact. He was doing it to help the elite rich--which is the point of Brent's next blog. Close friends of the Harper Tories receive extra love and attention.

Dr Mike said...

Hey Trust investors , we got screwed for trying to do the right thing.

We were quite happy working within the rules by investing in a perfectly legal entity--it was not like we were trying to cheat anyone here--we were thrilled to pay our taxes & not be a burden on anyone.

We were taken to the cleaners by a gov`t that prides itself for not interfering in the financial markets as Mr Flaherty loves to say.

I would hate to see the results if they loved to dabble.

Great comments everyone!!


Robert Gibbs said...

As we all know by now, Harper and his CON Party regime are nothing more than a perfect text book example of duplicity.

Promise one thing, do the opposite.
Espouse one idea, conduct oneself in opprobrium.
Speak one way, act in oppression.
Advertise this, but get that.

Harper is a classic case of a bait-and-switch snake-oil salesman.