Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bubble Boy is Canada's answer to Sarah Palin






Stephen Harper: Canada's answer to Sarah Palin

Joanne Chianello, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Monday, September 29, 2008
What's the difference between Stephen Harper and Sarah Palin?

Lipstick.

The two 40-something hockey parents trying to position themselves as your average mom or family man, looking to exploit the cult of personality that has become so crucial to modern election campaigns. OK, Harper is trying to establish that he has a personality, but close enough.

They are both known for their eyes: hers, sparkling behind her designer rimless specs; his crystal blues shooting lasers at opponents and media alike.

Neither had any foreign policy experience when they hit the national stage. When Harper became leader of the newly formed Conservative party, he'd never travelled outside North America. Palin's international experience amounts to being able to spot Russia from her house on a clear day.

They're both seen as frontier-style renegades. While Palin has bagged a defenceless moose, Harper has gunned down an innocent public servant trying to do her job. (Remember Linda Keen? She was fired as president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for keeping a nuclear reactor shut down because she said it wasn't safe enough.)

And both of them, looking to win the second-highest and highest offices in their respective countries, have a history of, shall we say, "regionalist" sympathies. Palin's husband was a member of the Alaska Independence Party, and the couple attended the separatists' convention in 1994. And after she had been elected governor, reports the New York Times, Palin recorded a video greeting that the party played this year. "Good luck on a successful and inspiring convention," she said. "Keep up the good work, and God bless you."

In 2001, Stephen Harper co-wrote a letter urging then-Alberta premier Ralph Klein to take steps to protect the province from the federal government's predations. "This means resuming control of the powers that we possess under the Constitution of Canada but that we have allowed the federal government to exercise." The fact that the letter talked of building a "firewall" around Alberta didn't help dampen suspicions that Harper and his poli-sci buddies were closet separatists.

And in different ways, Palin and Harper are both looking to woo female voters.

Palin is drawing Republican female voters who suddenly think it's a great thing for a mother of small children to be seeking public office, while Harper is wooing female voters with a sweater vest and an expanded mat-leave program.

But last week, the clearest parallel between the Palin and Harper camps was the impenetrable bubble they've created around themselves.

Since being tapped as the John McCain's running mate, Republican campaign organizers haven't let Palin speak spontaneously to reporters -- which is unheard of in a national campaign. Last week, while in New York for a crash course in foreign affairs, Palin met with international leaders, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- and was again shielded from the media. That changed only after CNN anchor Campbell Brown flipped her lid on air, charging that protecting Sarah Palin like "she was a delicate flower" was sexist. On Thursday, Palin met with select reporters -- not the entire press corps -- and fielded only a few questions.



Stephen Harper's not quite that bad, but virtually none of his events during this campaign have been open to the public. Instead, he appears before handpicked groups to make announcements. On Thursday, Harper justified the unusual cocoon around him by noting that during an era of "global terrorism," the leader of any country "faces strong security threats."

Even more disturbing, many Conservative candidates have been shielded from the media. Of particular note, the RCMP were called upon last Tuesday to block reporters from speaking with B.C. Conservative candidate Dona Cadman, wife of the late MP Chuck Cadman.

Closer to home, John Baird has turned down an invitation to a public forum organized by City Hall to discuss issues relevant to the city, while Hull-Aylmer Conservative candidate Paul Fréchette declined to attend a Citizen editorial board meeting, and was a no-show on CBC's Ottawa Morning show with other area candidates.


And we're all waiting with bated breath to see if Cheryl Gallant, the controversial MP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, appears at the all-candidates meeting scheduled for this evening. Infamous for comparing the beheading of a prisoner by Iraqis to abortion, Gallant routinely refuses to speak to the media.

For a brief moment, there seemed to be signs that Harper's camp might have been willing to make pinpricks in the iron-clad bubble around the leader.

This weekend, Harper attended the 50th anniversary of his west Toronto high school, a decision his aides say was spontaneous. According to a reporter in attendance, the atmosphere was much different than the super-controlled appearances the prime minister has made so far.

When Harper took the stage, there were a few boos. While he spoke, instead of rapt attention from the crowd, some people kept chatting at their tables. After the speech, one heckler yelled, "What about the environment? What about global warming?" Another guy responded, "This isn't the place for that, (expletive)."

So maybe Harper's team isn't ready to change its strategy just yet. In case there was any doubt, another reporter who snuck into the reunion Saturday night to interview people was caught and kicked out. After all, who'd want to hear what the people really think?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jack Layton announces a tax on Job Creation.....free ATM fees can't be far behind



Isn’t “taxing job creation” and “focusing on working families” an oxymoron?

NDP platform focuses on 'working families'


Updated Sun. Sep. 28 2008 6:54 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

NDP Leader Jack Layton unveiled a platform Sunday aimed at helping Canadian families, focusing largely on child care, and said he would fund the plan by raising corporate tax rates.

'Give Flaherty the Boot' Campaign Comes to Brampton





BRAMPTON, ON, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - Workers will be demonstrating and collecting old work boots outside of Conservative candidate Parm Gill's campaign office on Monday at 1 p.m. in effort to highlight the Conservative government's inaction on manufacturing job loss and a sinking economy.\

<<
Give Flaherty the Boot comes to Brampton
Monday, September 29, 2008 at 1 p.m.
Royal Crest Mall -50 Kennedy Road South*
Brampton, Ontario

*The group will then be walking over to Parm Gill's campaign office
located at 96 Kennedy Road South.

The boots will be traveling to Whitby where they will be presented to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on October 6 at 11 a.m. The 'Give Flaherty the Boot' campaign began in Windsor, where thousands of jobs have been lost since Stephen Harper took over as Prime Minister and Jim Flaherty as Finance Minister in January 2006.

Hundreds of pairs of boots have already been collected, each with their own personalized tag signed by their previous owner. Boots are also being collected in Oakville, Chatham, Oshawa, Toronto and Kitchener.


For further information: please contact CAW Communications, Shannon Devine, (cell) (416) 302-1699; or Event Co-ordinator Motilall Sarjoo (Sarj), (cell) (416) 709-6352

Rob Anders: Okay, now I've heard everything


Rep for Conservative MP Rob Anders claims Conservatives need a majority government to correct their income trust mess?


Brent



Thank you for your call today.



Here is a conversation I had with a representative for Rob Anders.



He was attempting to garner my support for the consevative party. I replied that I would not vote for them because they broke their promise on Income trusts. He replied that they would need a majority government to change it. I replied that he was correct. A Liberal majority gonvernment was needed and politely said good bye and hung up the phone.



Please pass this on to the Liberal policy makers.



I will be praying that you win over Jim Flaherty.



thanks

Doug

Harper is lying to Canadians and scamming seniors


Harper's "firestorm" broken promise was based on Harper's lie that income trusts cause tax leakage> Flaherty's tax leakage analysis is fraudulent.


http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080922/election2008_harper_BC_080922/20080928?s_name=election2008
Tories made good on half of election promises: CP
Updated Sun. Sep. 28 2008 2:27 PM ET

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- Stephen Harper's government has fulfilled half the promises it made in the last election campaign, an analysis by The Canadian Press indicates.

The Conservatives made at least some progress on several other commitments, bringing the tally of platform planks either fully or partially nailed down to 70 per cent.

The assessment comes as Harper prepares to unfurl a new sheaf of promises as early as Monday, two weeks before Canadians head to the polls to pass judgment on his government's record.

Harper recently told a crowd of supporters a "difficult parliamentary situation" and unforeseen crises prevented the minority Tories from achieving everything they promised. He called for a "strong mandate" in order to get on with the party's agenda.

An examination of Tory promises made during the last campaign suggests the lack of a majority prevented the government from going as far as it would have liked on issues such as toughening anti-crime laws.

But it highlights several areas, such as national security and parliamentary reform, where the government broke commitments, including a promise to let Tory MPs vote their conscience in most votes in the House of Commons.

Critics charge the government also failed to follow through with several promises on aboriginal issues, accountability and health care.

The Canadian Press looked at 236 campaign promises in the January 2006 Conservative platform on items ranging from agriculture and the economy to social issues and trade.

The examination indicates just over 50 per cent of promises were carried out, with another 20 per cent partially fulfilled. The remainder -- just under 30 per cent -- were considered broken.

The examination looked only at what Harper's Tories spelled out in the election document.

Though the Conservatives made good on most promises in several areas, such as the economy, infrastructure and social issues, it did not completely fulfil every promise in any of 14 areas, according to the analysis.

For instance, the government did come through with measures for students, including tax breaks and support for loans. But it didn't carry out plans to ensure dedicated funding for post-secondary education and training.

Perhaps the most frequently cited broken commitment is the federal reversal on taxation of income trusts, which ignited a firestorm of criticism from seniors and others who considered it a betrayal.

Other promises that never materialized seem long forgotten.

The government did not follow through on commitments to create a foreign intelligence service, make almost all Commons votes free ones, or overhaul the Access to Information Act.

The government's failure to beef up the information act, which allows Canadians access to government files, is a key flaw in its new accountability law, said Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch, a group that fights for integrity in politics.

"The law is like Swiss cheese, it's full of holes."

The Conservatives promised to open up federal procurement to ensure vendors outside the national capital region have a fair shot at contracts. Garth Whyte, executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said complaints from members about the bidding process have risen and that he sees no evidence things are easier for them.

"I think it's a lost opportunity in many respects."

On some high-profile issues, interested groups see little or middling progress on platform promises.

Michael McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition said the government has failed on its commitment to ensure care is publicly funded and universally accessible, citing user fees being charged for medically necessary services and queue-jumping at private clinics.

The government is not enforcing the Canada Health Act, he charged.

"It's my view that the Harper government is getting ready to cut and run from health care."

The Conservatives scrapped a Liberal government daycare program struck with the provinces in favour of their own mix of financial measures to create more spaces for children. But child-care advocates say it hasn't done the job.

"It's not any better than where we were last year or the year before," said Martha Friendly, executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. "So children are really losing out."

The government opened its wallet -- at least somewhat -- to address fallout in the forest sector, hit hard by the pine beetle, a high dollar and collapse of the American economy.

It isn't enough for David Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, who scoffs at suggestions the Tories have done their part to help laid-off employees and reeling communities.

"I think the government needs to play a very big role."

Fact checking Flaherty's lies....BTW where's Jim's proof of tax leakage?




Reality Check
Date: September 28, 2008
Flaherty's callous attitude on his income trusts betrayal



ISSUE:

Yesterday while campaigning in his riding of Whitby-Oshawa, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said of his income trust betrayal:

"It's an issue with some of the Bay Street people still, but it hasn't come up here." (Canadian Press, September 28, 2008)

REALITY:

Tell that to:



. Retiree Roland Marin of Montreal, who lost about $25,000.

"I have a lot of (investments in income trusts). They all went down." (Montreal Gazette, November 2, 2006)


. Retirees David and Lorraine Marshall of Cornwall, who lost about $100,000.

"The big thing is they lied to us. I worked for the candidate here, putting lawn signs up and all those things based on this one issue, income trusts." (Toronto Star, November 2, 2006)

. Retiree Richard Milne of Toronto, who lost $50,000.

"They reneged on their promise. That really upsets me." (Toronto Star, November 2, 2006)

. Former janitor Ron Cann, who lost about $18,000 - more than he earns in a year.

"I saved it over the years. I didn't have children. I'm kind of a frugal guy. I make my own wine and beer at home. I just get by. Losing whatever it's going to be at the end of the day, $15,000-$18,000 - it's going to hurt." (Toronto Star, November 2, 2006)

. Laid-off worker Noel Chaney of Vancouver Island, who lost about $65,000 and had to consider selling his home.

"I couldn't live on my pension, it's not enough. I never even considered the possibility of leaving this house. Now I'm thinking it might be something I have to think about." (Toronto Star, November 2, 2006)

. Ken Fast of Brampton, a pilot on medical disability who borrowed money to buy income trusts and had been using the dividends to make ends meet.

"My working career might be over. With these income trusts I had been able to generate enough steady income over the past four years that I have been independent. All of a sudden this is being taken away from me." (Toronto Star, November 2, 2006)

. Bob McKittrick of Prince Edward County, who lost about $250,000 for his 91-year-old mother. (Toronto Star, November 2, 2006)



-30-



Contact:



Liberal Party of Canada Press Office

613-783-8888

More spurious nonsense from Jim Flaherty


....in defense of his income trust betrayal/blunder


Below are some totally false statements being made by Jim Flaherty in an interview that appears in the September 25, 2008 edition of Whitby This Week, together with my rebuttal in [brackets].

Section Header:

On income trust tax: “If we were wimps, if we weren’t watching out for the best economic interests of our country, we would have done nothing. That’s the easy course, but this was important to do.”

Q: Is there anything you want voters to know about the issue of income trust tax, especially with your Liberal opponent so openly targeting the issue?

A: The fees on income trusts were in the last year that they were vibrant was about $5 billion [both false and irrelevant]-- not million, billion [again false since the average annual fees earned by Canadian underwriters was $400 million per year—million—not billion] and a lot of these brokers [I was never a broker, unless of course you consider that Mark Carney was also a “broker”, since it was Mark Carney whose “US centric broker” advice was followed by Jim Flaherty to bring down a retail investment vehicle that was a threat to Goldman Sachs and its clients as a strictly non-retail firm] made a tonne of money taking good Canadian companies and converting them via and initial public offering to an income trust which created no net gain for the companies [completely false, otherwise why would they do it?] but made a lot of fees for people [that were taxed by the Government of Canada at 50%]....it is a concern but I won’t shirk the issue [how very narrow minded of you, but you sure have shirked you responsibility when it comes to providing any proof of your central policy rationale. What became of accountability and transparency, Mr. Flaherty?].

Our government [don’t you mean your party?], when we were running for office, indicated [promised far and wide and put in writing] that we would not do what we did with income trusts [but you did it anyway]. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done as Finance Minister [hard? For whom. You? because you were way over your head, or the people whose retirements you destroyed and people who were forced to sell their homes to make ends meet, not to mention all Canadian taxpayers who have lost billions in, tax revenue, or the 2500 people fired at BCE?] and that was going to the prime minister in the summer of of 2006 [I guess that means you approached Stephen Harper after he had been lobbied by many a CEO in June 2006 in a five hour plane trip to Mexico according the the Globe and Mail, who wanted to eliminate an investment vehicle that was competing with their investment wares?] and saying to him “The facts have changed [how do facts change?, unless you instructed Mark Carney to leave out 38% of the taxes paid by income trusts to create a false argument that would give you faux justification for your actions on behalf of Canada’s corporate elite and lifecos?] and we need to look at the issue again [and yet you did not even entertain the idea of consulting with stakeholders the way that Ralph Goodale did?]. I’m recommending that we level the playing field [as measured by what? Putting a 31.5% tax on one team while the other team only pays a 6.2% tax? That’s not level,. That’s a policy falsehood, and you know it. Your goal from the outset was clear, Your policy was simply designed to kill the competition on behalf of the life insurance industry so they could go back to selling life annuities and other questionable products, free from any competition.]

If we were wimps [so why did you drop out of the CTV Virtual Town Hall meeting at Iroquois Park for October 1, 2008 if you aren’t a “wimp” and too afraid to debate the other candidate live on TV?], if we weren’t watching out for the best economic interests of our country, we would have done nothing [like you solemnly promised far and wide?]. That’s the easy course, but this was important to do.” [ important for whom and for what end purpose, to have Canadian companies acquired by middle eastern oil companies and Hong Kong billionaires? So 2500 people could be fired by BCE? So that $2 billion in tax revenue could be lost? So more takeovers amounting to $200 billion (not million) could occur? So that you could demonstrate your utter ineptitude and deceit?]

Income trust were being created for the wrong reasons [according to whom? The government?] they were being created because there was a tax loophole [income trusts are tax flow though entities. If tax flow through entities are a loophole then why is your law firm allowed to retain this tax loophole.Why can pension funds invest in so called tax loopholes, but RRSPs can not. RRSPs were intended to be the average Canadians ‘way of achieving parity with pension funds. You have destroyed that parity. Is that because you were too much of a wimp to take on Teachers’ the way that Ralph Goodale did?] and not because it was the best thing to do for business [wrong again. How is accessing a lower cost of capital not a wise thing for business to do? Especially when is has zero effect on government tax revenues? Is Jim Flaherty opposed to win-wins or is he simply in the pocket of Canada’s corporate elite and purveyors of competing products? Is that why Investor Group representative are knocking door to door in Whitby-Oshawa during this election touting Jim Flaherty’s policies with government literature?].

And now we will have by 2011 everyone [except pension plans, foreign private equity, law firms, accounting firms, REITs, mutual funds etc etc] playing by the same rules so a business that’s in a corporate form or in an income trust will pay the same level of tax in Canada [ totally false and unproven by Flaherty, since that was the way things were before Flaherty made his policy blunder, namely tax neutral to Ottawa. Meanwhile, under Flaherty, what level of tax will be paid by private income trusts versus public income trusts? Zero versus 31.5% doesn’t sound very level playing field to me?].

There’s a lot of reasons why we did what we did. [but I ain’t going to reveal the real reasons. For that you will have to speak with Brent Fullard, someone who speaks the truth and actually understands the complexities of finance and the motives of Corporate Canada and the needs of Canadians].

Jim Flaherty's double standard: Do as I say, not as I do.


At the time of Canada’s rising dollar, Jim Flaherty was the one who opportunistically began preaching to Canadians and telling them to “shop around” for the best bargain on things like Harry Potter books.

As if Canadians needed to be told that.

Jim tried (unsuccessfully) to position himself as “Captain Consumer” behind his podium that read “Standing up for Consumers”.

A few weeks later (see article below entitled “Flaherty grilled over untendered contracts”) we learned Jim wasn’t even following his own advice. Why am I not surprised?

Not only doesn’t Flaherty shop around, he breaks the laws of the Government of Canada, by not tendering contracts in excess of $100,000 in order for Ottawa to receive the best price and to “Stand up for Taxpayers”.

Not only does Jim not follow his advice of “shop around”, he handed a $122,000 contract to his buddy Hugh MacPhie.........$122,000? Thereby breaking the law. Meanwhile what is Dan Miles, as Flaherty’s Communications Director, being paid to do? Flaherty already had a Communications Director and Ministerial Staff. Can’t Flaherty write his own speeches? Why was Hugh MacPhie even required? To compensate for past favours?

Wasn’t Jim Flaherty the one who is famous for saying we must “level the playing field”? Evidently that expression means one set of rules for us. Another set of rules for Jim. Why would anyone vote for this kind of an arrangement with their MP?

Meanwhile, at about the same time as this was going on, Jim was trash talking Ontario and referred to any investments in GM and Ford as being “band-aid” and “ad hoc” solutions and not worthy of his support. Now Jim’s writing articles in this weeks’ Whitby this Week claiming to be supportive of the auto industry? The facts are otherwise. Of course Jim claims to be supportive of the very things he stood in the way of, simply because Jim wants people’s vote. Jim will stoop to anything to get it, even revisionist history.

Sorry Jim, we haven’t lost our memory. Nor has the CAW. The CAW’s voting advice for its members in Whitby-Oshawa is ABF. Anybody but Flaherty. What the CAW probably means is that Whitby-Oshawa voters should vote strategically and consolidate their votes with the candidate most likely to see Jim go packing and return his practice of insurance litigation law. Law? Aren’t laws meant to be respected?

Flaherty grilled over untendered contracts
David Akin, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How BCE insiders created the faux crisis for Flaherty to destroy trusts on behalf of Canada's corporate elite



Eventually the true story gets out:

except from
Debt Ridden: The story of the BCE deal

Theresa Tedesco, Chief Business Correspondent, Financial Post
Published: Saturday, September 27, 2008


In the end, BCE opted to convert itself into an income trust in mid-October, 2006.

Inside BCE's boardroom, the blue-ribbon directors weren't enthusiastic about the plan, but gave it their blessing, betting the measure was destined for doom because Ottawa would never allow it.

"Income trusts didn't have much appeal. We weren't particularly interested in doing an income trust but we thought if we announced we were doing one, it would force the government into a decision," said the source close to the company who asked not to be named.

They were right. Two weeks later, on Halloween, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Ottawa would tax companies converting to income trusts to curb tax avoidance.

Harper: The same intellectually corrupt person who said income trusts cause $1 billion in tax leakage, or was it $12 billion?




Liberals will produce $12B deficit: Harper

Dion has denied charge before
Last Updated: Saturday, September 27, 2008 | 4:59 PM ETComments39
CBC News

Liberal plans will create a deficit "to the tune of at least $12 billion," Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said Saturday.

Harper didn't explain where the number came from, but Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has rejected the charge before.

"A Liberal government will never put Canada into deficit. Period," Dion has said on the party website.

Harper addressed Conservative supporters in Ajax, Ont., listing the government's accomplishments and warning that the opposition parties would put the economy at risk.

With the credit crunch affecting the United States, Canada needs stable leadership "to get through this troubled world economy."

Harper also talked Saturday about other federal spending — such as funding for transportation projects — in the Ajax area, which is east of Toronto

Grudge matches and bellwethers



The Ottawa Citizen considers my race against Jim Flaherty to be a “grudge match”, when in fact my candidacy is all about seeking accountability and exposing the truth. I have been burdened with this responsibility, which I bear gladly, because the press has failed to perform this role insofar as exposing Jim Flaherty regressive economic policies and the many falsehoods and manufactured arguments upon which they are based.

Just imagine when Canadians learn that Jim Flaherty’s key policy argument that income trusts allegedly cause tax leakage is a complete manufactured falsehood, and that this falsehood has actually caused $2 billion in lost tax revenue per year, when in fact none existed in the first place. Add to that the $108 billion wave of foreign takeovers his policy induced, the major loss of jobs , the loss of an essential savings vehicle, the financial ruination of many people’s lives and retirement futures and a little thing called $35 billion of their savings.

And this person is the Finance Minister? Negligence like this hasn’t been observed since the days of Mike Harris, in which Jim Flaherty last played a starring role. Who would conceivably want a Harper government in office at one of the most challenging economic times of our lives? Their economic incompetence is only rivaled by that of the Jack Layton NDP who were the “enablers’ of this self destructive income trust policy. Where’s Jack Layton’s proof of anything?

This reporter, to whom I have never spoken, is predicting a Flaherty win, but provides no rationale for that bold prediction? Perhaps this reporter should attend one of the many debates I will have with Jim Flaherty and the other candidates. A Flaherty win would mean all Canadians lose, none more so than those in Whitby-Oshawa.

Grudge matches and bellwethers

On election night, these are the races that the nation's hardcore political junkies will be watching
David Akin, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, September 27, 2008

As he campaigns in ridings around the country, Conservative leader Stephen Harper has never mentioned local opposition candidates by name -- except once.

At a stop in Oakville, Mr. Harper had some special words for the local Liberal candidate.

"I should have told the media that when I called this general election, I did it to give Garth Turner that byelection he promised," Mr. Harper said to the cheers of his supporters.

Mr. Turner had been elected in 2006 as a Conservative but ended up annoying his caucus so much that it threw him out. After sitting for a spell as an independent, Mr. Turner joined the Liberals and now seeks re-election under that banner. As a Liberal, Mr. Turner has been a relentless critic of Mr. Harper and the Conservatives, mostly through daily posts on his popular blog, but also in the House of Commons and in town hall meetings in his riding and around the country. As a result, Conservatives find him as annoying as they ever did.

So, in the riding of Halton, at least, the race is one of the country's best grudge matches, pitting Mr. Turner against all Conservative comers.

But there are plenty of fights like this in this 40th general election.

And for those who are tiring of the same old speeches from the party leaders, Canwest News Service spotlights 20 races where the local flavour gives politics some extra spice. These races feature grudge matches, high-profile candidates, or could be trendsetters on election night.

The Grudge Matches

Halton (Ontario): Garth Turner has been a thorn in the Tory side since he was tossed from their caucus. Local Tories were annoyed that head office appointed a candidate -- Lisa Raitt -- to face off against Mr. Turner. But Conservatives will cheer loud and long if they can oust Mr. Turner on Oct. 14.

Whitby-Oshawa (Ontario): Finance Minister Jim Flaherty should win here, but his Liberal opponent is Brent Fullard, a key organizer of investors who were furious over Mr. Flaherty's decision to tax income trusts. Mr. Fullard is carrying the grudge of all Canadians who felt burned by the Tory flip-flop on income trusts.

etc. etc.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This from the man who reneged on Kyoto: Harper





Conservatives pledge to stop bitumen exports to countries with low emissions standards



CAMPBELL CLARK AND TU THANH HA

Globe and Mail Update

September 26, 2008 at 7:14 PM EDT

CALGARY — Stephen Harper's Conservatives say they will stop future exports of bitumen from Alberta's oil-sands to countries that have lower standards for greenhouse-gas emissions than Canada.

Right now, Canada's bitumen – the thick heavy oil that is transformed into crude oil – is mainly exported to the United States. Mr. Harper's ministers noted that both U.S. presidential candidates have promised tougher greenhouse-gas standards, so it might never apply to exports to that country.

Still, Mr. Harper, speaking in Calgary, the oil patch's business centre, said it might affect exports of bitumen to Asia, where countries like China have not adopted emissions standards for heavy industrial plants.

Alberta Deputy Premier Ron Stevens said his province's petroleum companies are already dealing with a measure of regulatory ambiguities from Mr. Harper's government's own emissions standards, which are set to take effect in 2010.

“This new promise or campaign suggestion will create more uncertainty because, if nothing else it's going to impact the ability to sell this product. And that's never good for business,” Mr. Stevens said in an interview.

The announcement also caught the Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. off guard.

Enbridge's multi-billion dollar Northern Gateway project would develop a pipeline bringing petroleum from Alberta to Asia-bound tankers at a marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia.

“We're surprised by today's announcement. We'll be looking for details,” said Gina Jordan, a spokeswoman for Calgary-based Enbridge.

Countries like China would still be able to buy crude oil that had been transformed within Canada, but Mr. Harper argued that the prohibition would prevent foreign countries from sidestepping Canadian environmental standards by buying the product as bitumen.

“What we will prohibit is bitumen exports designed to circumvent environmental regulations.”

According to the Conservatives, about 500,000 of the 1.3 million barrels a day of bitumen produced in Alberta are shipped out of the country before they are transformed into crude oil.

But transporting bitumen over long distances requires is a difficult process that requires substantial infrastructure, so right now such exports are confined to the U.S.

Mr. Harper's announcement yesterday comes after the U.S. Congress decided last week not to change Section 526 of the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act, which bans American federal agencies from buying alternative fuels that produce more greenhouse gases than conventional oil.

The Conservative government had proposed so-called intensity targets for greenhouse-gas emissions, which require industry to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit per unit of production. Environmentalists have called for Canada to adopt what they call absolute reductions, so that companies like oil producers would have to decrease their emissions even if they increase production.

When told by a reporter about the Conservative bitumen plan at a Thursday morning scrum in Burnaby, B.C., NDP Leader Jack Layton was slightly taken aback. He said he's going to have to study the proposal, but added that such a plan sounds contradictory coming from Mr. Harper.

“Mr. Harper has been leading the charge to export bitumen out of Canada, without even processing it here, to the United States,” Mr. Layton said. “His cabinet has approved pipelines that essentially are drawing jobs out of Canada, and he doesn't have limits on carbon emissions in Canada, so what you've just suggested to me sounds absurd, or at least contradictory, and one can probably come up with other adjectives after we've studied it more closely.”

Harper’s trust policy related buyouts total $108 billion


Tax losses equal $2 billion a year. Job losses: 2500


In these uncertain economic times, there is only one thing that is certain. We can’t afford to have Stephen Harper at the helm of our economic ship of state. The best example of his complete incompetence and ineptitude on fiscal matters is his income trust tax. First he falsified his rationale for his policy flip flop. Income trusts do not cause tax leakage. Jim Flaherty manufactured the government’s tax leakage claims. Meanwhile Stephen Harper’s policy has, itself, created tax leakage.

This is proof of Stephen Harper’s economic negligence. He caused the very problem he professed he was going to solve. Outcomes don’t get worse than that. Stephen Harper: Mr. 180 Man.

If Stephen Harper has a different viewpoint about whether income trusts cause tax leakage, then I challenge him to produce his proof of tax leakage? He did claim that he was going to usher in a new era of accountability and transparency, did he not? Where is it?

In two short years Harper’s ineptitude has caused $108 billion in trust policy takeovers and 2,500 job losses, as follows:

58 trust takeovers amounting to $56.8 billion in value
BCE takeover amounting to $52 billion in value and causing 2,500 firings

Total Policy related takeovers: $108 billion
Total Policy related takeovers: $2 billion a year, potentially grwoing to $7 billion a year
Total Policy related job losses: 2,500
Losses sustained by Canadians saving for retirement: $35 billion

Stephen Harper is a Sub Prime Prime Minister. Jim Flaherty, The Asset Backed Commercial Paper Minister of Finance. A dangerous duo indeed and a sure fire way to destroy Canada’s economic future if re-elected.

A personal request




Our campaign in Whitby-Oshawa is presently 85% funded, in light of the Elections Canada spending limit of $98,000 for Whitby-Oshawa.

Please consider donating to our campaign in Whitby-Oshawa, so that we can leave no stone unturned in bringing accountability and transparency and fiscal sanity to the people of Whitby-Oshawa and the rest of Canada

In light of the fact that Jim Flaherty thinks that Ontario is the last place to invest, this can only mean that our campaign is the first place to invest.
A $400 donation will cost you $100 after tax, and will result in a tax refund of $300 in your April 2009 tax filing. The maximum contribution that can be made to our campaign is $1,100 (and an equal amount to the party as well).

Our party’s platform entitled “A Richer, Fairer, Greener Canada is available on line at liberal.ca for those of you who wish to achieve such an end result for Canada, as opposed to a poorer, inequitable and denial form of Canada under Stephen Harper.

Page 18 of our policy platform contains my party’s commitment on the income trust issue. The Liberal Party under Stephen Dion keeps its commitments. You have my personal assurance as well, which will only mean anything if I am elected:

““Building upon our initial proposal to retain income trusts as a high yield investment option so that Canadians have diversity of investment vehicles, while ensuring tax neutrality between corporations and income trust, a Liberal Government will repeal the punitive 31.5 percent on income trusts and replace it with a 10 percent tax that is refundable for Canadian residents.”

Donations by internet:

Donate
to Brent's Campaign


Donations by mail:

Payable to “Brent Fullard Campaign”

1540 Dundas Street East
Whitby, Ontario
L1N 2K7

Tel: 905-665-3203

Thank you very much

Brent
email: brent@iwork4you.ca

Toronto Star completely blows its own credibility


Where's the Star's proof of anything?

I met with the Toronto Star Editorial Board in April 2007

The Star’s editorial board was (to my complete and utter amazement) actually supporting the Harper government’s use of 18 pages of blacked out documents as "proof" of tax leakage....and these document's subsequent recall. Huh?

This is easily explained when you realize that the Toronto Star's editorial board is simply advancing the corporate interests of Torstar Inc. as in the case of this pathetic piece of editorial nonsense in today’s paper entitled “Credibility and trusts”

Unfortunately it is the Star’s credibility that is on the line here, not the Liberal Party’s.

The Toronto Star wants to save his own self interests known as the Atkinson Principles, which provide the Star’s editors with “editorial freedom”, that are only assured to him under the corporate abuse known as Voting/Non voting share structure of Torstar Inc.

Something that the Toronto Star would have to forego if their declining newspaper empire were to convert to a trust. Again, I ask the question: What price editorial freedom? The Toronto Star’s position on this issue is a disgrace and wholly unsupportable by the facts.....something that Toronto Star has no grasp of, or interest in.

Yesterday the Star was condemning Harper for his oppressive right wing agenda. .....today the Star is applauding them and condoning them by supporting Harper’s destruction of senior’s nest eggs and sovereignty over Canadian businesses..

Perhaps the Star's editorial board can explain how all the professed “evils” of trusts are corrected by the mere act of domestic pension plans and foreign private equity buying them......and not paying the 31.5% tax?.......and causing REAL Tax leakage of $2 billion a year to date....soon to become $7 billion a year.

Where’s the Star’s proof of anything? Where’s the Star’s proof of their alleged $1 billion leakage from trusts? Does the Star not know what actually ended up happening with BCE? Is the Star even a part of this galaxy of ours?

Toronto Star. You have proven nothing, except that you are totally and commercially compromised.......and devoid of facts and logic.


EDITORIAL
Credibility and trusts



Sep 26, 2008 04:30 AM
Be the first to comment on this article...
Income trusts are all about trust.

So said the Liberals as they unveiled their election platform this week: they once again condemned the Conservatives for breaking their promise in the last campaign to leave this controversial tax loophole untouched.

Canada's nearly 250 income trusts had previously been spared any corporate tax, costing the treasury hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to the finance department. Because income trusts enjoyed an unfair advantage over conventional taxpaying companies, some of Canada's biggest corporations were planning to convert to trust status. A stampede of banks and conglomerates, notably BCE, could have pushed the tax leakage above $1 billion.

Mindful of the strong case made by the finance department, the governing Liberals were on the verge of closing that loophole before the last election, but stalled for time. It fell to the victorious Conservatives to follow through: They imposed a 31.5 per cent tax to take effect in 2011, effectively stopping the trusts in their tracks. So far, 60 trusts have converted back into corporations.

Now, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is promising to restore the tax advantage of trusts by replacing the Conservative tax with a much smaller 10 per cent levy that would be refundable to Canadian residents. It is a thinly disguised effort win favour among seniors, many of whom had invested in income trusts because of their high cash payouts and saw the value of their holdings decline in the aftermath of the Harper government's move.

Furthermore, the Liberals are implicitly acknowledging that income trusts are problematic by proposing a moratorium on the formation of any new ones.

With this promise, the Liberals are diluting their own credibility.

Eric Reguly: "This is a disaster for Jim Flaherty"




Eric Reguly in why this is a disaster for Jim Flaherty:
Listen here.

The 46th "disaster for Jim Flaherty":

TORONTO, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Connors Bros. Income Fund (TSX: CBF.UN) (the "Fund"), whose subsidiaries market consumer food products under brands such as Bumble Bee(R), Clover Leaf(R), Brunswick(R), and Sweet Sue(R), today announced that it has entered into a transaction agreement (the "Agreement") to sell its operating businesses to an affiliate of US Private Equity firm, Centre Partners Management, LLC ("Centre Partners"). Centre Partners, established in 1986, is a leading middle market private equity firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Centre Partners will acquire the operating subsidiaries controlled by the Fund, which will result in the Fund's unitholders receiving C$8.50 per unit in cash. The C$8.50 per unit price will be paid to the Fund's unitholders by way of a distribution on and redemption of the Fund's outstanding units.

Harper denigrates certain Canadians to ingratiate himself with others


...............purely for political advantage.


Stephen Harper represents the worst possible type of “leadership”. His concept of leadership is to create tensions amongst various sub-groups of Canadians and to exploit it for his own political advantage. Subgroups of his own definition.

Stephen Harper is an embarrassment to Canada and to Canadian values.

Why do you suppose the Conservative party is profiling voters in every riding of Canada on the basis of race, ethnicity and religion? To bring them closer together or to exploit their differences?

This profile, exploit and divide strategy of Stephen Harper had been evidenced on a number of occasions.

Why do you suppose he weighed in on the matter of whether women could wear burkas while voting, when he was half way around the world in Australia? Because he wanted to bring social harmony and greater voter freedoms to our country. Or because he wanted to inflame xenophobia amongst Canadians for his own sad political advantage?

Why do you suppose Harper cut $47 million in funding to the arts community? Because he thought $47 million was about to break the bank? If so, why didn’t he cut the $17 million grant to Red Wilson’s pet project, the Historica Foundation at the same time? Oh right, Red Wilson is millionaire CEO is not an artist, or a person in need. You see, Harper’s cuts to the arts had nothing to do with the fiscal aspect of that move, but everything to do with marginalizing artists in the middle of an election in order to empower his myopic xenophobic divide and conquer “base”.

That base needs to think twice about Harper. He is as apt to turn on them as he is willing to exploit others. The income trust investor knows this only too well. One minute (ie the 2006 election), income trusts investors are treated like Stephen Harper’s favorite cat and then the next minute (after an exercise in fear mongering and the faux crisis of BCE, orchestrated by the CCCE), Stephen Harper treats these income trust investors like they are mangy disease infected alley cats deserving of a quick boot to the groin.

Note: Those to whom Harper is presently pandering, you could be next. Will be next?

Stephen Harper: Anything but a leader. An exploiter. An exploiter with no morals. Someone representative of the worst of Canadian values. Just ask Margaret Atwood.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stephen Harper’s idea of a "Tax Fairness Plan":



Allow income splitting.........for the 14% of seniors with “eligible pension income” , and not the other 86% without?

Tax EBITDA at 31.5%.........if you are an income trust............6.2% if you are a corporation?

Tax public income trusts in RRSPs at 31.5%.........private income trusts in pension plans at 0%?

Restrict the growth of Canadians companies when owned by Canadians, but not when owned by foreigners?

Create $7 billion a year in tax leakage, where none previously existed?

Hold yourself to account with 18 pages of blacked out documents and explanations of “It’s not my fault” ?

Dupe the financially illiterate press.

Move on to next policy blunder in the making unencumbered by the press.....or the facts.

Toronto Star: Protester challenges Flaherty


Photo: Liberal Candidate Brent Fullard holding Flaherty's 18 pages of blacked out "proof" of tax leakage


Evidently Jim Flaherty thinks it is “extremist” to pursue accountability and transparency from his government on an issue that profoundly negatively affects all Canadians, But then Flaherty thinks I am a “broker”? Again showing how little Jim Flaherty understands about he world of finance .......or truth in government. Unaccountable Jim: It’s not his fault. He doesn’t fix potholes. Ontario is the last place to invest. Jail the homeless. It’s the law.

Protester challenges Flaherty

Liberal candidate Brent Fullard, an investment banker, took on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at an all-candidates meeting at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby Sept. 23, 2008.
Liberal candidate 'holds extremist views' on income trust issue, finance minister claims

Sep 24, 2008 04:30 AM
Comments on this story (23)
Patty Winsa
Staff Reporter

For two years, Brent Fullard has waged a battle against the Conservative government's flip-flop on income trusts.

He organized a special interest group and has taken out full-page ads in major newspapers, calling the Oct. 31, 2006, government move to end, as of 2011, the tax advantages enjoyed by income trusts "Jim Flaherty's Great Canadian Giveaway Sale."

Now the freelance investment banker is running as the Liberal candidate against Flaherty, the federal finance minister, in the riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Yesterday, Fullard opened a student-organized all-candidates meeting with criticism of Flaherty's move on income trusts, which had followed a promise by the Conservatives in the 2006 election campaign not to tax income trusts.

At Whitby's Sinclair Secondary School – a venue where students had questions about finances, the environment and post-secondary education – Fullard's opening remarks accused Flaherty of a "massive policy blunder" that destroyed seniors' savings when he "double-taxed income trusts."

"I'm very serious about running for office in this riding ... because there is this dissatisfaction with this arrogant person who is negligent and incompetent," Fullard said later in an interview. "I'm opposed not to the person, but to his policies and his demeanour."

Income trusts avoid most corporate taxes by distributing profits to unit holders, and they were an increasingly popular business structure. They had become a popular investment vehicle for seniors, so the government's move to end, as of 2011, the tax advantages enjoyed by income trusts compared to regular corporations sparked protests across the country.

The decision shocked the financial sector. When markets opened the next day, investors dumped their units and the TSE plummeted 300 points. In one week, 70 trusts lost $20 billion in stock value. Many seniors lost their savings.

On Monday, the Liberal party pledged to replace the Tories' 31.5 per cent tax on income trusts with a 10 per cent tax that would be refundable to Canadian residents.

Fullard founded the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors and raised $1 million to advocate for income trusts.

Recently, he sent Flaherty a registered letter offering to put up $50,000 to the charity of Flaherty's choice if the minister would publicly debate him on income trusts.

The offer was rejected.

The income trust issue has been dealt with, Flaherty said in an interview. "It's now the law in Canada. It's not about to be changed."

Flaherty called Fullard a one-issue candidate. "He holds extremist views. He's a Forest Hill broker that Mr. Dion decided to parachute into my riding." Fullard does live in Forest Hill but taking on Flaherty was his own initiative. Judi Longfield, who lost to Flaherty in 2006, is now the Liberal party executive director in Ontario.

Single-issue candidates have wonelections before. "Some people have called this a type of surrogate leadership," said Robert MacDermid, a York University political science professor. "For instance, (former New Democrat MP) Svend Robinson kind of represented the gay rights constituency. To a certain extent, that's what (Fullard's) doing here. He's being a surrogate representative for people concerned about the income trust issue."

Although it's a legitimate form of representation, MacDermid said many people would also argue that a representative should be connected to his or her constituency.

Flaherty said this is his strength.

"I've lived in Whitby for a long time. I've been the provincial member and federal member. This is our community," said Flaherty, referring to his wife Christine Elliott, who is the MPP for the riding

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Conservative MP apologizes for Harper's income trusts




[LE FRANÇAIS SUIT L'ANGLAIS]
For Immediate Release
September 24, 2008

Conservative MP apologizes for Harper's income trusts betrayal

WHITBY - Conservative MPs are continuing to feel the sting of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's income trusts betrayal at the door, with St. Catharines' Conservative Candidate Rick Dykstra trying to limit the damage to his re-election chances.

Speaking at an all candidates' debate, Mr. Dykstra tried to remove the Flaherty albatross from his campaign by asking forgiveness from the voters:

"We made a commitment. We didn't keep that commitment, and for that I apologize to the people of St. Catharines who were impacted by that decision." (Federal Election Candidates Debate, Cogeco, September 23, 2008)

The founder of the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors and now Liberal Candidate for Whitby-Oshawa, Brent Fullard has said now that Mr. Dykstra has been so candid about the betrayal, it is time from Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tosay he is sorry too.

"So far all the Conservatives have offered to income trust investors is scorn and disdain," said Mr. Fullard. "Mr. Dykstra's apology is a good first step, but it is meaningless unless the Conservatives reverse their policy.

"Canadians need to hear an apology from the architect of this financial disaster, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty," he said.

-30-

Contact:

Liberal Party of Canada Press Office
613-783-8888

Students watch Whitby-Oshawa candidates debate the issues for the first time together

PARVANEH PESSIAN / METROLAND


Students watch Whitby-Oshawa candidates debate the issues for the first time together

Sep 24, 2008 - 10:30 AM

By Parvaneh Pessian

WHITBY -- An all-candidates debate at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby proved to be an informative experience for senior students, evoking various reactions and even shifting the political stance of some.

The four candidates in the Whitby-Oshawa riding took to the stage in front of about 150 students Tuesday morning, debating together for the first time since the writ was dropped earlier this month.

"The students actually get to see the election process happening right before their eyes and I think it really brings politics into their world," said Kim Lang, who's taught the subject at the school for 14 years. "It lets them realize that they have a voice and a place in the political process."

The event was organized by students in the Grade 12 politics class and was open for senior students from other classes to watch. Students researched issues for weeks to develop questions and then as a class selected which topics to approach the candidates with.

The students touched on topics such as tuition, crime rates, the environment and the fate of General Motors workers. A panel of four students -- one representing each party -- asked the candidates questions and then it was opened up to the floor.

Many attending the event, like student Vlad Dobrescu, said the quality of responses during the debate helped sway them toward a particular party.

"I think it was interesting to see who attacked the others more and who talked about their actual policies," he said, adding that he was drawn to the NDPs and Greens because he found Liberal candidate Brent Fullard was mostly just targeting Conservative Jim Flaherty.

English teacher Jennifer Jenkins disagreed, saying she was impressed by Mr. Fullard's handle on the issues and thought his debating style stood out.

Student and debate MC Parker MacKay said it was an informative political experience for everyone there, especially since Mr. Flaherty is also Canada's federal finance minister.

"I think that it's beneficial for the students and it's really exciting for me because I take the time to research politics," he said.

The school hosts the event every year there is a provincial or federal election and all attending students are either eligible to vote or will be next year. After the two-hour debate, the students had a chance to meet the candidates face-to-face.

"The questions were good and they covered a broad range of subjects, which made it more interesting," Mr. Flaherty said, while shaking hands with people exiting the theatre. "My experience in the high schools in a lot of elections has been that the students are very interested and ask very direct questions."

Mr. Fullard also said he was happy to see the students demonstrate a high level of political knowledge and keenness.

"Without people's involvement, you're not going to have a good government and the more of these events that happen, the better."

Green candidate Doug Anderson said more schools hosting debates will help candidates reach out to youth.

"They're the future," he said, looking off at the students hovering over tables with brochures from each party. "I hope that their interest carries on and that they do vote."

NDP candidate David Purdy said in addition to the forums, he believes political science as a mandatory credit in high schools would add to students' interest.

"Most kids are so excited about turning 19 so they can go out and have a legal drink. Imagine what it would be like if more of them were excited about turning 18 so they can go out to vote."

Is Power Corporation tampering with election in Whitby Oshawa?



Why are paid Investors Group Consultants canvassing door to door in Whitby Oshawa touting Flaherty’s Tax Free Savings Account during an election?

These Investor Group employee(s) are handing out full colour brochures whose cover carries the Government of Canada logo and flag and read:


Budget 2008
Responsible Leadership
February 26, 2008
Tax-Free Savings Accounts
Government of Canada (in English and French) and the Canada logo
Cover depicts a child waving the Canadian Flag


The brochure then depicts the TFSA as the second coming of RRSPs and directs inquiries to the Department of Finance. Attached by staple to the brochure is the business card of the Investors Group Consultant.

As you all know Jim Flaherty as Finance Minister introduced the TFSA, to lukewarm response, given its true intentions to undermine RRSPs and acceleraate withdrawals from RRSPs and to discourage RRSP contributions.

If you want a copy of the Investor’s Group/Government of Canada brochure please email me at brent.fullard@rogers.com and I will fax you a copy.

I consider this blatant election tampering by commercial interests. The not so subliminal references to The Harper government and the Minster of Finance are something only Polly Anna would consider not to constitute election tampering.

Investors Group is owned and controlled by Power Corporation through Power Financial.

The Consultant whose brochure I was given by an enraged constituent works out of the Peterborough office of Investors Group.

We know that Stephen Harper’s and Jim Flaherty’s income trust tax was a bespoke tax policy designed to benefit the life insurance companies in Canada. That is why the CEO of Manulife gave testimony in favour of this policy at the oublic hearings. It is also why Paul Desmarais Jr. was reported (Globe and Mail November 2, 2006) as engaged in the following lobbying activities:

“Paul Desmarais Jr., the well-connected chairman of Power Corp. of Canada, even railed against trusts in a conversation with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a trip to Mexico, and told him he should act quickly to stop the raft of conversions, according to sources.”

Are Power Corporation and Jim Flaherty are involved in an exercise of back scratching? You scratch my back, and I will scratch yours. Pathetic.

When will RCMP probe Flaherty for his income trust fraud?





Today’s news: FBI investigates mortgage fraud in US banking crisis.
Click here


Flaherty's fraud: Click here

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CAW Rallies Members for Federal Election in Oshawa


OSHAWA, ON, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - CAW President Ken Lewenza will be making his first visit to Oshawa as the union's national president for a CAW membership election rally on Wednesday, September 24.


Lewenza will lay out the union's position of strategic voting to defeat the Harper Conservatives, as endorsed by the CAW's Council, the parliament of the union.


"Stopping a Stephen Harper majority is one of the most important challenges Canadian unions and progressives have ever faced," said Lewenza.


The CAW is endorsing former CAW Local 222 President and NDP candidate Mike Shields in the Oshawa riding. The seat is currently held by Conservative MP Colin Carrie, who has been accused by GM workers of abandoning his constituents during the announcement of the Oshawa truck plant closure in June.


In the neighbouring ridings of Durham and Whitby-Oshawa, the CAW is endorsing an 'ABC' voting strategy (Anyone But Conservative), with the goal of preventing a Conservative majority government. In particular, the union is urging members to ensure Finance Minister Jim Flaherty does not get re-elected to office.


On the list of speakers at Wednesday's election membership rally will be CAW President Ken Lewenza, Mike Shields and CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley. The meeting is part of a leadership election tour by Lewenza to various communities across Ontario over the next two weeks.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 7 p.m.
CAW Local 222 Hall - 1425 Phillip Murray Avenue
Oshawa, Ontario

Media are welcome.

Today's debate with Jim Flaherty




Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby had the first all candidates debate this morning, that was open only to the student body. Here were my opening remarks. We were confined to one minute:

As students you work hard to get ahead.

Imagine if you worked hard your entire year at school and found yourself failing at the end of the year.

Not because of your fault, but because your teacher left out 38% of your marks.

That’s exactly what Jim Flaherty did to 2.5 million Canadians, mostly older Canadians, like your grandparents.

These people worked their entire lives to have enough money to pay their bills in retirement.

Jim Flaherty destroyed these people’s savings when he double taxed income trusts.

He claimed income trusts cause tax leakage.

He created that false argument by leaving out 38% of the taxes these Canadians pay to the government,

Jim Flaherty’s actions have caused $92 billion in takeovers of Canadian companies, mostly by foreigners, causing $2 billion a year in lost tax revenue and 2500 people to lose their jobs at BCE.

Jim Flaherty needs to take responsibility for his massive policy blunder which is causing great harm to all Canadians and to your futures.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Leadership? Harper is merely the artifice of leadership


Leadership? Here’s Ten Reasons Why the Tax on Income Trusts Was a Public Policy “Train Wreck”

There’s considerable evidence to indicate the Harper government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax.

By W.T. Stanbury (Professor Emeritus, UBC) Sept. 22,2008
The Hill Times

Introduction: Let’s start with Stephen Harper’s proposition that the central issue in the current election campaign is “leadership.” Effective leadership should produce good public policies. In this piece, I argue that there are ten reasons why the huge tax on income trusts announced on October 31,2006, and made into law on June 22,2007, is the greatest public policy “train wreck” in decades. It puts in question Mr. Harper’s leadership skills, and that includes his willingness to tell the truth. The tax may also be an albatross for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

1. Harper Denied He Reversed Himself

The income trust tax was an obvious reversal of repeated promises by Stephen Harper when he was Opposition Leader in 2005 and during the last election campaign. This reversal was widely perceived to be a serious ethical fault and Harper provided no convincing reason why such a reversal was justified. Harper did not lie because he did not intend to mislead the public with his promises. However, on November 1,2006 in the Commons, Mr. Harper did lie about what he said during the election campaign. The clearest statement was in the party’s election platform released on January 13,2006. “A Conservative government will…preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them.”

During Question Period on November 1,2006, the PM said: “The commitment of this party ….. was a commitment to protect the income of seniors”. On November 2, the PM said, ”this government will not apologize for trying to protect the interests of individuals and a tax system that makes big business pay its fair share.” You decide.

2. Huge Capital Losses

The S&P/TSX Income Trust Index. closed on October 31, 2006 at 164.86. Two days later, the index was at 138.21. That represents a loss of $32.5 billion to the owners of trust units. Two weeks later the index was at 135.51 representing a loss of $35.6 billion. To the extent that the Trust Index later rose to higher levels does not diminish this loss for two reasons. First, some investors had to have sold shortly after the announcement—otherwise the index would not have fallen. The index reflects real transactions at real prices. Second, any subsequent increase in the index is the result of the myriad variables that affect market value, such as interest rates, and energy prices (particularly
important to the energy trusts), and the further one gets from the initial announcement date the more one has to factor in the relative price movement of other indices to which the trust index is historically correlated, i.e., the broader TSX common share stock index and/or the energy subsector thereof.

3. Using a Methodology Known to be Greatly Biased

The Department of Finance’s methodology used to estimate the so-called “tax leakage” of $500 million for the federal government in 2006 omitted the present value of deferred taxes on the 39% on trust units held in tax deferral accounts like RRSPs. The officials knew as early as March 2004 and again in the summer of 2005 that their methodology was seriously biased toward generating revenue losses when income trusts were compared to regular corporations. When these deferred taxes are included, there was no “tax leakage.” Thus a serious omission may well have resulted in misleading policy advice by officials to their Minister, and the PM.

4. An Orwellian “Tax Fairness Plan”

The stated justifications for the 31.5% tax on income trusts were at best seriously questionable. The Government’s use of language in the so-called “tax fairness plan” was reminiscent of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

The government made a great effort to frame the new 31.5% tax on income trusts as a matter of “tax fairness.” A frame is a conceptual structure intended to call up a wider/deeper set of constructs that will help to define a concept or issue in the way the framer desires. It makes use people’s prior modes of classifying information and issues; it takes advantage of embedded mental habits. The objective of such framing is to “ make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” The trust tax was bundled with three small tax cuts, two of which benefited seniors. But the benefits for seniors amounted to about 2% of their capital losses on trust units.

An analysis of the new tax on some income trusts shows that the measure did not achieve “tax neutrality” as repeatedly claimed by the government. The tax added to the variegation in effective tax rates across types of business organizations, and by types of owners of these assets. The tax did not “level the playing field” as the Minister claimed so loudly and repeatedly. In fact, the tax was highly discriminatory--- it exempted REITs ( which accounted for about 15% of the total market value of trusts on the TSX), and private flow through entities like those used by many law and accounting firms.



5. Phony Crisis to “Sell” the Policy

There is considerable evidence to indicate that the Harper Government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax. The government proceeded in secret during 2006, then made a dramatic announcement of strong action. Then it justified the move by claiming that there was a crisis which forced it to act as it did. The claims were couched in emotive rhetoric, primarily by Finance Minister Flaherty. Here is one of many possible examples. On November 9,2006, before the Commons Finance Committee, Flaherty was asked: “if we had maintained the status quo, was there any threat of it driving us into the red?” He said: “Over time, yes. There was a clear and present danger that Canada was going to become an income trust economy…” Ridiculous! The claimed tax revenue losses of $500 million in 2006, were a minute fraction of corporate income tax revenues of over $37 billion, and the current surplus of over $12 billion in 2006.

A few minutes later, the Minister claimed that the “ erosion of the tax base [ said to be due to trusts ] would have meant that, to pay for… the health transfers, the post-secondary education transfers, the social transfers, and infrastructure, we would have had to tax more and more individuals and their families…” This apocalyptic rhetoric is false.

6. A Zero Revenue Tax?

The income trust tax is an extremely unusual tax.. No revenue will be collected, but the entities subject to the tax will disappear from public capital markets -- which was the apparent point of the effort. The Department of Finance never gave any estimate of the amount tax revenue the new tax was expected to generate in any of its documents. This was most unusual; the officials evidently knew that no revenue would be collected because the tax did not apply until 2011 and by then there would no longer be any of the income trusts subject to the tax.

7. Many Misleading Statements By the Minister

Finance Minister Flaherty was the point man for the trust tax. He made endless misleading statements in support of the government’s action. He claim that the tax would result in $2 billion in revenue losses for the provinces over four years was unfounded as it failed to take into account the redistribution affects among provinces. Flaherty claimed that the proposed conversion of Telus and BCE to trusts would cause huge tax losses was false since both companies had already stated that their cash corporate income taxes would be negligible for the next several years.

The Minister ( and an official!) testified on January 30,2007 that the drop in the market value of trust units immediately after the announcement of the new tax was evidence of so-called “tax leakage.” This is an elementary, but serious error. The drop was due to the introduction of the tax. Asset values and changes in taxes on those assets move inversely to each other. The fall in value would have occurred even if the tax rate on trusts had been higher than on corporations!

8. Very Large Adverse Economic Consequences

Most serious, was the evident failure of the Harper Government to anticipate the reasonably predictable adverse consequences of the tax. They have been huge (and are still being felt in September 2008). One of the most important induced effects of the tax has been (and will continue to be) a decline federal (and provincial) tax revenues due to the takeover of the devalued income trusts by entities which pay lower taxes than did the trusts, i.e., foreign interests, domestic-private equity funds, and domestic pension funds. With some leveraging, foreign owners, subject only to the 15% withholding rate, can reduce the effective tax rate to near zero.

9. Punitive Remedy, When Better Alternatives Were Available

The government’s “remedy” for the purported problems associated with the rapid growth of income trusts ( a 31.5% tax on the distributions of some publicly-traded trusts ) was far hasher than it needed to be. What were the practicable alternatives? a) Suspend the advance approval of proposed new trusts as the Liberals did on September 19, 2005 (recognizing that that such an action would likely cause a drop in the market price of income trust units due to uncertainty). – and simultaneously announce a transparent, consultative process to review the issue with a public report in three months; b) Declare a moratorium on new trusts – and simultaneously announce the same process; c) Impose a tax on income trust distributions at source of 7% to 10%. Witnesses made it clear that such a tax would be sufficient to actually level the playing field based on the effective corporate income tax rates—which vary by sector and firm; d) Apply alternative c), but make the tax refundable to Canadian residents. (This might violate the “national treatment” provision of NAFTA.); e) Lower the corporate income tax. The Liberals had started to lower the corporate income tax (and they increased the dividend tax credit) to reduce the gap between the two different legal forms of organization of businesses, trusts and corporations. On October 30,2007, Flaherty---but it came far too late for the trusts. announced much larger cuts in the corporate income tax. One expert, Dennis Bruce, pointed out that the various reductions since 2004 effectively eliminated the claimed “tax leakage’—even using Finance’s biased methodology.

10. Closed Process—But Secret Lobbying by Certain Interests.

There was no public consultation process in 2006 preceding the imposition of the 31.5% income trust tax like that which occurred in 2005 under the minority Liberal government. The growth of income trusts could have been temporarily halted in the fall of 2006 by doing what the Liberals did on September 19, 2005: suspending advance tax rulings for proposed trusts by the Department of Finance.

There was secret lobbying in 2006 of the PM and Finance Minister by CEOs and company directors ( see Globe and Mail, Nov.2,2006 ). They wanted the trend to convert corporations to income trusts stopped due to the pressure of competition, and the reduced discretion they would have as head of an income trust. It appears that contrary arguments were not heard. How come only the opponents of trusts knew it was a good time to lobby?

To summarize—the income trust tax is an outstanding example of how not to make tax policy. It resulted in a “train wreck” whose effects continue to reverberate—perhaps in the current election campaign.

Leadership? Harper is merely the artifice of leadership


Leadership? Here’s Ten Reasons Why the Tax on Income Trusts Was a Public Policy “Train Wreck”

There’s considerable evidence to indicate the Harper government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax.

By W.T. Stanbury (Professor Emeritus, UBC) Sept. 22,2008
The Hill Times

Introduction: Let’s start with Stephen Harper’s proposition that the central issue in the current election campaign is “leadership.” Effective leadership should produce good public policies. In this piece, I argue that there are ten reasons why the huge tax on income trusts announced on October 31,2006, and made into law on June 22,2007, is the greatest public policy “train wreck” in decades. It puts in question Mr. Harper’s leadership skills, and that includes his willingness to tell the truth. The tax may also be an albatross for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

1. Harper Denied He Reversed Himself

The income trust tax was an obvious reversal of repeated promises by Stephen Harper when he was Opposition Leader in 2005 and during the last election campaign. This reversal was widely perceived to be a serious ethical fault and Harper provided no convincing reason why such a reversal was justified. Harper did not lie because he did not intend to mislead the public with his promises. However, on November 1,2006 in the Commons, Mr. Harper did lie about what he said during the election campaign. The clearest statement was in the party’s election platform released on January 13,2006. “A Conservative government will…preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them.”

During Question Period on November 1,2006, the PM said: “The commitment of this party ….. was a commitment to protect the income of seniors”. On November 2, the PM said, ”this government will not apologize for trying to protect the interests of individuals and a tax system that makes big business pay its fair share.” You decide.

2. Huge Capital Losses

The S&P/TSX Income Trust Index. closed on October 31, 2006 at 164.86. Two days later, the index was at 138.21. That represents a loss of $32.5 billion to the owners of trust units. Two weeks later the index was at 135.51 representing a loss of $35.6 billion. To the extent that the Trust Index later rose to higher levels does not diminish this loss for two reasons. First, some investors had to have sold shortly after the announcement—otherwise the index would not have fallen. The index reflects real transactions at real prices. Second, any subsequent increase in the index is the result of the myriad variables that affect market value, such as interest rates, and energy prices (particularly
important to the energy trusts), and the further one gets from the initial announcement date the more one has to factor in the relative price movement of other indices to which the trust index is historically correlated, i.e., the broader TSX common share stock index and/or the energy subsector thereof.

3. Using a Methodology Known to be Greatly Biased

The Department of Finance’s methodology used to estimate the so-called “tax leakage” of $500 million for the federal government in 2006 omitted the present value of deferred taxes on the 39% on trust units held in tax deferral accounts like RRSPs. The officials knew as early as March 2004 and again in the summer of 2005 that their methodology was seriously biased toward generating revenue losses when income trusts were compared to regular corporations. When these deferred taxes are included, there was no “tax leakage.” Thus a serious omission may well have resulted in misleading policy advice by officials to their Minister, and the PM.

4. An Orwellian “Tax Fairness Plan”

The stated justifications for the 31.5% tax on income trusts were at best seriously questionable. The Government’s use of language in the so-called “tax fairness plan” was reminiscent of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

The government made a great effort to frame the new 31.5% tax on income trusts as a matter of “tax fairness.” A frame is a conceptual structure intended to call up a wider/deeper set of constructs that will help to define a concept or issue in the way the framer desires. It makes use people’s prior modes of classifying information and issues; it takes advantage of embedded mental habits. The objective of such framing is to “ make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” The trust tax was bundled with three small tax cuts, two of which benefited seniors. But the benefits for seniors amounted to about 2% of their capital losses on trust units.

An analysis of the new tax on some income trusts shows that the measure did not achieve “tax neutrality” as repeatedly claimed by the government. The tax added to the variegation in effective tax rates across types of business organizations, and by types of owners of these assets. The tax did not “level the playing field” as the Minister claimed so loudly and repeatedly. In fact, the tax was highly discriminatory--- it exempted REITs ( which accounted for about 15% of the total market value of trusts on the TSX), and private flow through entities like those used by many law and accounting firms.



5. Phony Crisis to “Sell” the Policy

There is considerable evidence to indicate that the Harper Government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax. The government proceeded in secret during 2006, then made a dramatic announcement of strong action. Then it justified the move by claiming that there was a crisis which forced it to act as it did. The claims were couched in emotive rhetoric, primarily by Finance Minister Flaherty. Here is one of many possible examples. On November 9,2006, before the Commons Finance Committee, Flaherty was asked: “if we had maintained the status quo, was there any threat of it driving us into the red?” He said: “Over time, yes. There was a clear and present danger that Canada was going to become an income trust economy…” Ridiculous! The claimed tax revenue losses of $500 million in 2006, were a minute fraction of corporate income tax revenues of over $37 billion, and the current surplus of over $12 billion in 2006.

A few minutes later, the Minister claimed that the “ erosion of the tax base [ said to be due to trusts ] would have meant that, to pay for… the health transfers, the post-secondary education transfers, the social transfers, and infrastructure, we would have had to tax more and more individuals and their families…” This apocalyptic rhetoric is false.

6. A Zero Revenue Tax?

The income trust tax is an extremely unusual tax.. No revenue will be collected, but the entities subject to the tax will disappear from public capital markets -- which was the apparent point of the effort. The Department of Finance never gave any estimate of the amount tax revenue the new tax was expected to generate in any of its documents. This was most unusual; the officials evidently knew that no revenue would be collected because the tax did not apply until 2011 and by then there would no longer be any of the income trusts subject to the tax.

7. Many Misleading Statements By the Minister

Finance Minister Flaherty was the point man for the trust tax. He made endless misleading statements in support of the government’s action. He claim that the tax would result in $2 billion in revenue losses for the provinces over four years was unfounded as it failed to take into account the redistribution affects among provinces. Flaherty claimed that the proposed conversion of Telus and BCE to trusts would cause huge tax losses was false since both companies had already stated that their cash corporate income taxes would be negligible for the next several years.

The Minister ( and an official!) testified on January 30,2007 that the drop in the market value of trust units immediately after the announcement of the new tax was evidence of so-called “tax leakage.” This is an elementary, but serious error. The drop was due to the introduction of the tax. Asset values and changes in taxes on those assets move inversely to each other. The fall in value would have occurred even if the tax rate on trusts had been higher than on corporations!

8. Very Large Adverse Economic Consequences

Most serious, was the evident failure of the Harper Government to anticipate the reasonably predictable adverse consequences of the tax. They have been huge (and are still being felt in September 2008). One of the most important induced effects of the tax has been (and will continue to be) a decline federal (and provincial) tax revenues due to the takeover of the devalued income trusts by entities which pay lower taxes than did the trusts, i.e., foreign interests, domestic-private equity funds, and domestic pension funds. With some leveraging, foreign owners, subject only to the 15% withholding rate, can reduce the effective tax rate to near zero.

9. Punitive Remedy, When Better Alternatives Were Available

The government’s “remedy” for the purported problems associated with the rapid growth of income trusts ( a 31.5% tax on the distributions of some publicly-traded trusts ) was far hasher than it needed to be. What were the practicable alternatives? a) Suspend the advance approval of proposed new trusts as the Liberals did on September 19, 2005 (recognizing that that such an action would likely cause a drop in the market price of income trust units due to uncertainty). – and simultaneously announce a transparent, consultative process to review the issue with a public report in three months; b) Declare a moratorium on new trusts – and simultaneously announce the same process; c) Impose a tax on income trust distributions at source of 7% to 10%. Witnesses made it clear that such a tax would be sufficient to actually level the playing field based on the effective corporate income tax rates—which vary by sector and firm; d) Apply alternative c), but make the tax refundable to Canadian residents. (This might violate the “national treatment” provision of NAFTA.); e) Lower the corporate income tax. The Liberals had started to lower the corporate income tax (and they increased the dividend tax credit) to reduce the gap between the two different legal forms of organization of businesses, trusts and corporations. On October 30,2007, Flaherty---but it came far too late for the trusts. announced much larger cuts in the corporate income tax. One expert, Dennis Bruce, pointed out that the various reductions since 2004 effectively eliminated the claimed “tax leakage’—even using Finance’s biased methodology.

10. Closed Process—But Secret Lobbying by Certain Interests.

There was no public consultation process in 2006 preceding the imposition of the 31.5% income trust tax like that which occurred in 2005 under the minority Liberal government. The growth of income trusts could have been temporarily halted in the fall of 2006 by doing what the Liberals did on September 19, 2005: suspending advance tax rulings for proposed trusts by the Department of Finance.

There was secret lobbying in 2006 of the PM and Finance Minister by CEOs and company directors ( see Globe and Mail, Nov.2,2006 ). They wanted the trend to convert corporations to income trusts stopped due to the pressure of competition, and the reduced discretion they would have as head of an income trust. It appears that contrary arguments were not heard. How come only the opponents of trusts knew it was a good time to lobby?

To summarize—the income trust tax is an outstanding example of how not to make tax policy. It resulted in a “train wreck” whose effects continue to reverberate—perhaps in the current election campaign.