One of the obvious aspects of Stephen Harper’s income trust betrayal was the “social engineering” that underlay it.
How, on the one hand, could Stephen Harper write an Op Ed in the National Post that strongly advocated for the preservation of income trusts that read:
“One couple e-mailed my party to complain that the uncertainty around income trusts caused by the Liberals' announcement trimmed $30,000 from their retirement portfolio in a single day. Another man wrote to tell us that he had lost 15% from his his portfolio.
Many seniors feel the government is putting their retirement at risk and have let Ottawa know. In a letter to the Finance Minister, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons said, "Seniors are actually enraged, frightened and panicked about potentially losing retirement savings that they count on for the essentials of daily living.” Income trusts are popular with seniors because they provide regular payments that are used by many to cover the costs of groceries, heating bills and medicine.”
And then, almost immediately upon assuming office, do the entirely opposite thing and claim that “circumstances had changed”?
Well the answer to that was actually offered up by Stephen Harper himself in his 2005 Op Ed, in which he observed quite clinically that:
"[Income trust investors] have no constituency. They don't count politically."
And goes on to say that income trusts are “an investment vehicle that can make the difference between bare survival and a dignified retirement for millions of Canadians”.
This is where the social engineering took place.
Harper was confronted with the fact that Canada has a low productivity level vis-a-vis the US. Some consider this a problem, as if to suggest that the US is the be all and end all.
One way to solve this productivity “problem” is to get idled workers back into the work force. Canada also has a skills shortage.
Recall how David Dodge of the bank of Canada and others were speaking in glowing terms about extending the maximum retirement age beyond 65 and what a wonderful thing that is?
For whom? McDonalds? Burger King? Walmart?
Meanwhile income trust investors were portrayed in the after math of Halloween as “coupon clippers”.....read: lazy non-productive members of the leisure class. As President of CAITI, you can’t believe the number of people I have heard from who have either returned to work or who must now return to work or who have postponed their retirement plans because of this unproven tax.
No doubt this played a role in the mix of reasons, if not, why the coupon clipper condemnation?
What better way to get people back into the work force and to stay longer in the work force that to take away the thing that, as Stephen told us “are popular with seniors because they provide regular payments that are used by many to cover the costs of groceries, heating bills and medicine.”?
The income trust policy is nothing more than a failed social engineering project. The alleged tax leakage that formed the basis for public support of this tax measure was a hoax. If not a hoax, why the 18 pages of blacked out “proof”?
Meanwhile the trust takeover activity has actually induced tax losses. BCE’s resultant LBO alone represents $800 million in annual “tax leakage” real tax leakage, not the phantom tax leakage you hear about from Jack Mintz. Just who the hell is Jack Mintz anyway? What are his possible conflicts of interest and commercial quid pro quo's? Where’s the peer review of his oft quoted tax leakage numbers? Better to rely on reputable sources like Deloitte......and evict from office the author of Canada’ failed social engineering experiment.....stephen harper (lower case intentional)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 11:00 AM