Thursday, March 20, 2008

Response to an e-mail sent to contact@JimHadHisChance.ca


We’re getting a lot of response to our billboards that are running in Flaherty’s riding. Some of those billboards, like the one above, can be seen at JimHadHisChance.ca. Here’s a response to an inquiry of today:

Sally:

As for accentuating the positive, that would be good advice for someone who is running for office. We are not running for office. We are an advocacy group. We are seeking to make the government in office accountable and to be transparent. Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty promised to bring a heightened level of accountability and transparency to Canada, if elected. Where is it? They also promised to never tax income trusts. They flip flopped and did the very opposite. They claimed that income trusts cause tax leakage, and yet provided zero proof to support the basis for their flip flop.

We simply want the facts. If income trusts cause tax leakage, it’s one thing. If income trusts don’t cause tax leakage then it’s another. Where’s the proof? Are we not entitled to proof, in light of all their other promises of being accountable and transparent and the promise to never tax income trusts? All Canadians should seek the truth on this issue since the truth is so easily determined, much like it’s easy to determine the balance in your savings account at the bank. Why the cloak and dagger mystery about alleged tax leakage? Where’s the accountability and transparency? Eariler I sent you the 18 pages of blacked out documents. Were you able to locate the answer to tax leakage in those papers?

Meanwhile the Green Party has called for a public inquiry into alleged tax leakage and the Liberal Party have asked the Auditor General to provide Canadians with an honest answer. The Auditor General can be trusted to be honest and non partisan in her assessment.

Accepting Jim Flaherty at his word has come at enormous personal and financial cost to many hundreds of thousands of Canadians across this country. Many who can least afford it. How would you like to learn at age 78 that your retirement income is about to be cut in half because of the Canadian Government? I can send you any number of personal testimonies from such Canadians who trusted this government on this issue that I am sure you would find heart wrenching. Surely they deserve an explanation for their abrupt hardship.

With proof will come trust. I seek to trust the government in office. To do that I need proof, not the empty words of a politician or political party.

Meanwhile, are you aware of the fact that Jim Flaherty’s law firm is the equivalent of an income trust? Ask Jim Flaherty how much tax is paid by Flaherty, Dow & Elliott (FDE). FDE is a what is called a Flow Through Entity, or FTE. Income trusts are FTE’s. Provided an FTE pays out 95% of its earnings to its owners, then the FTE itself does not pay tax. The owners will pay the taxes instead. Why can Flaherty, as a lawyer, do something and it is okay, and I do the same thing and it is considered bad? Meanwhile Jim Flaherty loves to preach about “leveling the playing field”?

Do we all have to become lawyers, like Flaherty, to get ahead? Imagine a world full of lawyers. We would all starve and be without shelter. There wouldn’t even be ambulances for insurance litigation lawyers to chase.

Canadians will only get as good a government as they demand. Good government has to be provided throughout a party’s term in office and not just fanciful hollow promises made at election time. If promises aren’t enforced by the voters, then the cycle of phony promises by politicians of all stripes, will continue on unabated.

Do you think that would be a good habit to continue? We are simply seeking the truth about alleged tax leakage and to stop the endless cycle of false promises from politicians who, if they are successful in such a scheme, are simply stealing your vote, and occasionally stealing your money or your neighbour’s hard earned savings.

At which point, I can start accentuating the positive, with a billboard entitled "Auditor General reveals the truth about tax leakage", since whatever her answer is, the mere fact we have an answer will be a major victory for transparency and accountability in Canada. Only then, can we hope to have good policy. One that is based on fact rather than dogma.

11 comments:

Dr Mike said...

If there is nothing to hide ,then show us the numbers.

If we are wrong , then we are gone.

If we are right , then fix it.

Could not be any simpler.

Dr Mike.

Anonymous said...

As an Ontario voter who had to live with the end results of the Harris-Flaherty fiasco, I'm so glad to see you take this effort.

I agree with your statements about advertising. The Liberal Party should try to run a positive campaign, but I'm glad to see you exposing the lies and misinformation of Harper-Flaherty. You ads look criticize without stooping to personal attacks (unlike the stupid not-a-leader ads which choose an unflattering picture of a leader to make a point in itself).
Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

that should say....Your ads criticize without stooping...

Robert Gibbs said...

The FACT is that Dim Jim Flaherty and his Boss Hog Deceivin' Stephen are utter BUFFOONISH MORONS.

Flaherty has the financial depth of a child's wading pool, while Harper swims in a shallow cesspool as an economic polliwog.

Robert Gibbs said...

Mass Sex Scandal In Canada!

Forget the brew-ha-ha in New York over Governor Eliot Spitzer's sexual indiscretions, we have our own mass sex scandal right here in Canada.

Ever since the election of the CONservatives in 2006, Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty have been committing mass buggery to the entire Canadian population for over two years now.

Income trust investors, seniors and retirees have been particularly "violated".

I suggest a metal-plated condom to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of further "indecent acts" by this CONservative government.

Robert Gibbs said...

CON PIGS

CON cronies gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death's construction

In the fields a body's burning
As the CON machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds

Robert Gibbs said...

Mathematicians Have Formulated New Equation To Calculate Flaherty's Geometry Of Hypocrisy & Stupidity

A well respected scientific journal is reporting that Canadian mathematicians have formulated a new equation to calculate Jim Flaherty's geometry of hypocrisy and stupidity.

The formula is expressed in the following equation:

a^2 = b^2 + c^2

where:

a = "asshole"
b = "bullshit"
c = "cock-and-bull story"

These mathematicians have tested their theory in the "real world" by inputting all statements uttered by Flaherty into the formula and have found the equation to hold true 100% of the time.

Of course, funding for the scientific study was not provided by the Conservative government.

Robert Gibbs said...

Trust Tax: Dumb And Dumber

Posted: March 19, 2008, 6:03 PM by Diane Francis


There remains trouble in Toryland over finance minister Jim Flaherty’s non-sensical tax on energy trusts and the income trust debacle cost the party a byelection in B.C. this week.

Its candidate cited income trusts as the major concern in the election. It is an issue that simply will not go away because it should not. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, at Flaherty's urging, reneged on a firm promise which is good leadership.

The issue is the single biggest reason why the Tories have not, and cannot, get a majority in the polls. Their foolish and flawed flip flop against trusts devastated and alienated their base. Some $35 billion in value disappeared overnight, affecting two million Canadian investors.

Taxing the energy trusts too, when other countries do not, has been a major policy blunder and Albertans are determined to prove how foolish it all has been with an initiative announced last week.

Energy trusts have joined the Liberals who have asked the Auditor General of Canada to investigate Flaherty’s claims that taxing the trusts was necessary to staunch tax leakage.

It was nonsense then and still is.

“$110 a barrel oil prices have camouflaged what is a big mistake in policy,” said Sue Riddell Rose in a phone interview with me last week. She is CEO of Paramount Energy Trust and the Coalition for Energy Trusts spokesperson.


Trusts used everywhere else

Trust structures are used, and recognized, around the world as a more efficient means of managing commodity companies which find planning difficult due to price fluctuations. Flaherty exempted real estate trusts but not energy trusts, a damaging inconsistency.

About 20% of the country’s 33 energy trusts (which pay considerably more taxes than all the foreign-owned oil companies combined) have been swallowed up by foreigners or other entities.

Ottawa’s attack has ruined the junior oil sector too since October 2006 despite soaring oil prices, she said.

“The junior oil sector is no longer vibrant. There is no exit strategy which was to sell oil and gas assets to trusts,” she said. Put another way, if oil prices had remained the same as when Flaherty made his tax announcement on Oct. 31, 2006, the oil patch would be in “dire” straits.

“They did not do their homework. They did not understand the industry and they have deceived the Canadian public,” she said.


Trusts tax really dumb idea

Flaherty’s leakage excuse was debunked in a report by accounting giant Deloitte weeks ago in a study that showed that the reverse has happened: where there was no leakage there is not massive leakage.

The mistake, or omission, made by him and Mark Carney – author of the scheme and rewarded by becoming Governor of the Bank of Canada -- was to exclude the massive downstream income trusts flowed to unitholders who paid top taxation rates.

It was amateur hour and the harm has been ongoing and will worsen, Riddell explained.

“In 2006, there was no leakage at all and revenues were enhanced by the trust structure,” she said. “We’ve tried to get breakdowns from government as to the percentage of its cash surpluses that are coming from this but cannot get anywhere.”

She said a rough guess is that Flaherty’s folly has cost governments at least $1 billion in tax revenues, but only the Auditor General, with her special access, can do the analysis needed for taxpayers.

“It’s a big number,” she said. “There are two things we would like them to do: Go through their analysis re the actual, downstream revenue and then to analyze what has been foregone as a result of the changes.”

Why isn’t she and others giving up?

“We continue to believe a proper analysis was not done and that the wrong decision was made to enable the efficient recovery of resources for Canadians,” she said. “I personally feel deceived by them because they misrepresented information to Canadians. Something else is driving these decisions and I think Canadians should know. I don’t.”

Anonymous said...

Signs point to an election

Thu Mar 20, 2008
By Reka Szekely
Durham News

Not unlike spring, there's a hint of election wafting through the air. It's not quite here, but we can smell it coming.

There's the anti-Liberal attack fliers in my mail box, with B.C. Conservative MP Randy Kamp's office listed as the return address. One of them was delivered the same day as the latest edition of the Mark Holland report.

There's the anti-Jim Flaherty billboards along several local routes, including Hwy. 2. Those come from the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors, who've also attacked the NDP.

And, of course there's the recent Liberal by-election victories in Toronto ridings by two of the party's superstars, Martha Hall Findlay and former Ontario premier Bob Rae.

No one expects those two to put their campaign signs into long-term storage.

While the epic battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is drawing record numbers of voters south of the border, it's hard to imagine Canadians swooning at a spirited Stephen Harper or Stephane Dion political rally.

That's because the whole process is much more tedious than exciting. There's a vague sense that we should have a proper majority government running the country, without the uncertainty that it could fold like a house of cards as soon as the opposition sees an opportune moment. But there's no more consensus on who should be at the helm than there was during the last two federal elections.

The divisions between rural and urban voters are likely to remain the same, and without the support of residents in places like Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, it's unlikely that Mr. Harper will nab a majority. As for Mr. Dion, he hasn't connected with Canadians in a way that would support a big election-day victory.

Besides all that, part of the disinterest is that voters see no difference between Mr. Dion and Mr. Harper sniping at each other across the Commons floor or from the campaign trail and they're just as likely to tune out than listen to the same talking points over and over again.

Which is too bad because our country faces some real challenges.

One of the biggest is the economy. It seems the invisible hand of the market is giving the United States the middle finger and waving it in our direction too, especially at Ontario's manufacturing industry.

We're vulnerable in Durham and the signs of an economic slow down are there. Unemployment in the Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area, which includes Clarington and Whitby as well, rose while the provincial average fell in February. Statistics Canada reported the province lost 20,000 manufacturing jobs in that month alone.

There's also a real sense of frustration with the mission in Afghanistan, especially with timelines like a 2011 exit. That's almost a decade of service in that country. Many Canadians feel it's time for other countries to do their share, especially when it comes to combat operations in volatile areas.

While we honour our troops that have fallen, no one wants to see another motorcade heading down the Highway of Heroes towards Toronto.

Voters are also increasingly concerned about the environment. So far there's been a lot more talk than substantive work. Our lack of action on climate change means Canada is viewed as part of the problem, not the solution, internationally.

If an election is coming, fine. Let's get it done and get to work on the big issues facing our country.

Reka Szekely's column normally appears every third Sunday. E-mail rszekely@durhamregion.com.

Randy Meyer said...

I am continually amazed at how easy it is to dupe people. How anyone can look at this trust fiasco and not see it for the major mistake it is and the costs associated for all Canadians is beyond me.

One of the comments or themes I've seen repeatedly in newspapers, blogs, letters to the editor, etc. is that the trust fiasco "doesn't affect me." "I didn't lose anything, so why should I care?"

I repeatedly have countered this notion with the fact that each year, as a direct result of Falherty and harper's "decision" to double tax Income Trusts, billions of tax dollars per year ad infinitum are lost. This means that EVERY Canadian loses.

To put this into perspective, it's enough money to pay for the RESP tax deduction program or build 3-4 $500Million dollar hospitals per year. You get the idea.

Wake up Canada! This directly impacts YOU!

Robert Gibbs said...

Randy:

I know exactly of what you speak.

Add to that the approx. $300M lost in the Canada Pension Plan, which impacts virtually everyone.

Add to that the FACT that the government has lied to the Canadian public at large.

Even when it comes to the Chuck Cadman bribery allegations (fact, if you ask me), I have heard the same type of response:

"What do I care? That doesn't affect me. Who gives a sh**?"

In that sense then, I guess people don't give a rat's ass that politicians are bribing others for their vote, thereby subverting the very democracy that this country is supposed to represent.

Go figure, eh?