Thursday, July 30, 2009

The phony lamenting of Tony Clement

Today we learn that Tony Clement is having second thoughts about the billions that were pumped into the automakers and made with no concomitant requirement to disclose the salaries paid to their executives. Pumping billions becomes his justification for disclosure. Meanwhile a few days ago Tony Clement was professing concern over the foreign takeover of Nortel.

Is this sudden need on the part of Tony Clement for disclosure and his nationalistic feelings phony or are they real?

Tony Clement or phony lament?

What about the $35 billion that was lost by income trust investors, caused by a tax that was premised on the argument that income trusts cause tax leakage.....that was accompanied by ZERO disclosure by the Harper CONservatives on that allegation? Shouldn’t losing $35 billion at least entitle Canadians to the facts on which that policy was based? How is knowing what the CEO of GM makes compare in importance to proof about the central allegation of a government policy that saw investors lose $35 of their life savings and a policy whose outcome may have been to cause the very problem that it alleged to have fixed? Is a government induced loss of that magnitude not demanding of disclosure, Tony Clement, or is your need for disclosure selective in nature, and strictly politically motivated?

What about the $100 billion wave of takeovers of Canadian companies by foreigners that Harper’s income trust tax induced.....or is the Harper government only concerned about protecting bankrupt companies like Nortel form foreign takeover, meanwhile formally approving the sale of Canada’s largest telco (BCE) into the hands of controlling foreigners who would have loaded it up with $38 billion in junk bond debt in order to pay zero taxes and $793 million less a year in taxes that had BCE been permitted to maximize shareholder value by way of an income trust? How does the sale of bankrupt Nortel to Ericsson merit this Industry Minister’s concern, whereas the sale of Prime West Energy to Abu Dhabi Energy only merited a letter from the prior Industry Minister to the head of Abu Dhabi Energy from Jim Prentice, in which Abu Dhabi was invited to take over as many Canadian energy companies as it liked?

Foreigners have free reign over Canada’s prosperous and cash rich companies, but not our bankrupt companies? Only governments can demand disclosure, but not their citizens? These are the phony lamentings of Tony Clement and the Harpercrite CONservatives.

Meanwhile, where do the Liberals stand on these issues. It can not be blithely assumed that they are if only by default? Specifically, what is their policy to restore this theft of Canadians life savings, perpetrated on the completely false and fraudulent notion of tax leakage?

Clement calls for salary disclosure

Minister says executives at automakers bailed out with public money would be `wise to revisit' issue

Jul 30, 2009 04:30 AM
Les Whittington
Ottawa Bureau
Tony Van Alphen
Business Reporter

OTTAWA–Auto company executives shouldn't be hiding their salaries from taxpayers who kept their companies afloat with billions of dollars of public money, Industry Minister Tony Clement says.

"From a public relations point of view, it would be probably wise for them to revisit that issue," he told reporters yesterday.

Clement's comments came after the Star reported that General Motors of Canada Ltd. and Chrysler Canada would not publicly disclose the compensation packages of their top Canadian executives despite heavy public aid.

While Clement said public perception is paramount when it involves taxpayers' money, he added that current executive salaries at GM and Chrysler in Canada are within limits of loan agreements with Ottawa and Queen's Park.

As a condition of providing support to the struggling companies, governments set limits on executive pay, including performance bonuses. But the governments did not disclose the limits or the actual pay.

"There is a sunshine law on their salaries but none of the Canadian salaries are high enough to be part of the sunshine law that we enacted in both Canada and the U.S.," Clement noted. "They are certainly within the law (to keep salaries secret)."

As part of its restructuring, GM of Canada said it cut executive salaries by 10 per cent; reduced pay for salaried staff and trimmed benefits and pension plans earlier this year.

The company said yesterday the governments conducted due diligence, including a comprehensive review of compensation for all employees, before advancing loans.

"GM Canada will be certifying that the company continues to comply with the agreement including provisions related to compensation," the company said.

In the U.S. where executives of bailed-out financial companies have walked off with salaries and bonuses far beyond the dreams of average workers, compensation has become an explosive issue.

Parent GM, which received billions from the U.S. government, has revealed the pay of its top managers including chief executive officer Fritz Henderson, who will receive $1.26 million (U.S.) this year.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said Canadians have a right to know full details of what the auto companies are doing with government money in the largest corporate bailout in the country's history.

"Taxpayers expect the firms to jealously guard their money, to spend it carefully, to invest it wisely and to report on it more fully," said federation director Kevin Gaudet." Only with full transparency will this be guaranteed."

The federal and Ontario governments provided U.S.-based parents GM Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC with more than $14 billion (Canadian) this spring to help keep the companies, including their Canadian operations, alive. The governments own almost 12 per cent of GM and 2 per cent of Chrysler.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who introduced a private member's bill earlier to cap executive pay for firms receiving government aid, said Premier Dalton McGuinty should force public disclosure.

"Given that Ontario taxpayers are now key shareholders in these companies and essentially footing the bill on their executive salaries, his blissful ignorance is no longer an option," Horwath added. "He must demand complete transparency on this matter."

In rejecting the bill, McGuinty said the government wanted to strengthen the economy and create jobs rather than " interfere with salaries awarded to executives."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ottawa can do much to 'beef up' pensions

Edmonton Journal
July 24, 2009

Re: "Ottawa, provinces look to beef up pensions," The Journal, July 22.

I find it ironic that the federal government and the provinces are meeting in Calgary to consider how to encourage Canadians to save more since the economic downturn eroded savings.

The truth is that the Tory government in Ottawa, aided and abetted by the provinces, especially Ontario and Alberta, devastated seniors' incomes with the legislation introduced in November 2006 announcing the taxation of income trusts.

Seniors lost billions in their portfolios and to this day the federal government has not been able to justify its actions or provide evidence of taxation losses because of the existence of income trusts.

In fact, time has shown that the feds have lost billions of dollars in taxation as a direct result of this legislation, which was politically motivated at the request of big insurance companies and other financial institutions.

Yes, the second shoe to fall was the economic downturn, but the first shoe to fall was the devastation brought on with the taxation of income trusts and the impact this decision has had on seniors' incomes and the deterioration of income trust values since 2006.

S. J. Rideout, Edmonton
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Ottawa can do much to 'beef up' pensions

Edmonton Journal
July 24, 2009

Re: "Ottawa, provinces look to beef up pensions," The Journal, July 22.

I find it ironic that the federal government and the provinces are meeting in Calgary to consider how to encourage Canadians to save more since the economic downturn eroded savings.

The truth is that the Tory government in Ottawa, aided and abetted by the provinces, especially Ontario and Alberta, devastated seniors' incomes with the legislation introduced in November 2006 announcing the taxation of income trusts.

Seniors lost billions in their portfolios and to this day the federal government has not been able to justify its actions or provide evidence of taxation losses because of the existence of income trusts.

In fact, time has shown that the feds have lost billions of dollars in taxation as a direct result of this legislation, which was politically motivated at the request of big insurance companies and other financial institutions.

Yes, the second shoe to fall was the economic downturn, but the first shoe to fall was the devastation brought on with the taxation of income trusts and the impact this decision has had on seniors'incomes and the deterioration of income trust values since 2006.

S. J. Rideout, Edmonton
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Yes, but then Mark Carney is a world authority on wealth destruction

Yesterday in the Globe it was reported that: “"Yet Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney stopped short of celebration, saying it will take more than a year to replace the wealth destroyed by the financial crisis. "

Mark Carney is a world authority on wealth destruction, having personally been responsible for evaporating $35 billion of Canadians’ retirement savings and the source of billions in annual taxes to Ottawa, as a sole result of his scheme to kill income trusts based on his fabricated tax leakage argument.

Unlike the losses sustained by investors as a result of the “financial crisis”, the losses sustained by investors under Mark’s Own Financial Crisis are permanent losses...never to be recovered......since 31.5% of the income has been hived off by the government as the means to kill income trusts in order to ensure the dominion of the corporate model at the behest of corporate CEOs in Canada.....and a perpetuation of all the corporate abuses that brought about the world’s financial crisis.

PS: Where’s Mark’s proof of tax leakage? How is Canada better off as a result of, for example Abu Dhabi owning Prime West Energy or OMERs owning Teranet or the leverage buyouts of Canadian trusts by US Private Equity players, none of whom pay any taxes, rather that having these companied owned by average Canadians who were paying taxes at an average annual rate of 38%?

Did Mark Carney pass Grade 3 math? Is he capable of basic addition and subtraction, or will 2 plus 2 equals 3, remain the unchallenged falsehood of Mark Carney’s wealth destruction formula? One thing is for sure, Mark Carney’s intellectual dishonesty has been the means for his rapid career advancement......even if it meant destroying $35 billion of Canadians’ retirement savings and destroying the only means by which many Canadians had a hope for a dignified retirement. I guess, some people are more ambitious than others?

Meanwhile, just exactly where are our Paid Elected Members of Parliament who are supposed to defend us from blatantly obvious schemes like the one hatched by the overly ambitious Mark Carney at the behest of many of his former clients at Goldman Sachs? Is losing $35 billion of Canadians’ retirement savings not on their radar screen? Just who do they think they are elected to serve? The CEO’s of Canada or the taxpayers of Canada?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Despite its exemption from income trust tax, federal pension plan books 22.7% loss

Today we learn that the Public Sector Pension Plan booked a 22.7% loss on its assets......notwithstanding the tax exemption it received from Flaherty on the 31.5% income trust tax.

Could someone in Ottawa, perhaps Flaherty or Harper, or maybe Jack Layton explain to me why the Public Sector Pension Plan is able to own Thunder Energy Trust (which it acquired on the cheap in January 2007) and not have to pay the 31.5% income trust tax, whereas I have to pay a 31.5% tax if I hold this very same investment in my RRSP, as many did?

What could such a wholesale exemption from the 31.5% tax by the pension plans expect to achieve in terms of Flaherty’s “cure all” income trust tax?

Does the existence of such a blatant and massive loophole strike anyone as a Tax “Fairness” Plan or consistent with why a Liberal government created the RRSP in the first place, and as a means for the average Canadians to replicate the tax benefits of pensiosn plans, given that 75% of Canadian do not belong to a pension plan, and were at an otherwise distinct disadvantage?

Meanwhile, why are the Liberals not defending the sanctity of RRSPs relative to pension plans and not a single word has ever crossed their lips about this massive loophole for the pension plans? Ditto for Canada’s gawd awful press, as income trust after income trust gets picked off by the pension plans, who are exempt form this tax. It’s called Tax Arbitrage folks and you are on the receiving end of this abuse! Do the Liberal’s stand in fear of the Jim Leech’s of this world, while the rest of us get (financially) slaughtered and (fiscally) abused?

Does it seem fair that the very bureaucrats like Mark Carney who concocted the income trust tax and all its Byzantine rules, should benefit from a tax carve out for their very own pension fund? The term for this is self dealing. Meanwhile the Public Sector Pension Plan lose 22.7% of its value due to the financial meltdown. Perhaps they have a sense what it meant to income trust investors to have lost 18% of their investment value, due to Flaherty’s whimsical income trust tax that was ushered in with ZERO proof, and then suffer the combined losses from the financial meltdown as well, for combined losses of some 40% in their life savings? The 18% loss form the income trust tax is a PERMANENT loss unless it is reversed. Whereas market losses are subject to potential recapture over time, in the way in which a permanent tax effect is not.

Just imagine the fireworks if the Public Sector Pension Plan which manages the retirement assets of Canada’s 380,000 federal civil servants had lost 22.7% of their investments as a SOLE cause of a government action, as income trust investors did? Do you suppose they would settle for 18 pages of blacked out documents as “proof” of that theft? Would the politicians be as lame as they have been on the income trust tax rip-off? Would the press be emboldened to lift a finger on their behalf, after all we are talking about the retirement assets of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Forces, and the Reserve Force. People who matter in our near-police state society, and who stand idly by, while other law abiding Canadians are getting their life savings stolen from them on a complete fraudulent falsehood, known as Harper’s tax leakage.

Federal pension plan books 22.7% loss

Top executives of Public Sector Pension Investment Board received partial bonuses for performance in past fiscal year

Janet McFarland

Globe and Mail Update Last updated on Thursday, Jul. 23, 2009 04:58PM EDT

The pension plan for federal government workers lost 22.7 per cent in the latest fiscal year, but paid partial bonuses to its top executives for meeting their individual objectives for the year.

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board reported Thursday it was buffeted by the financial crisis that began last year, seeing its assets fall by $5.1-billion to $33.8-billion as of March 31, 2009, down from $38.9-billion a year earlier.

The pension manager said its equity portfolio lost more than 30 per cent of its value last year, while its real estate holdings were down almost 17 per cent. PSP Investments said its bond holdings offset the losses, however, with government bonds earning a 19.4-per-cent return for the year.

“We experienced exceptionally difficult financial and economic times in Canada and around the world over the last year,” chief executive officer Gordon Fyfe said in a statement.

PSP Investments is a Crown corporation that invests pension money for the public service as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Forces, and the Reserve Force.

The fund's annual report, released Thursday, said Mr. Fyfe's compensation totalled $1.42-million in fiscal 2009, up 11 per cent from $1.28-million last year.

His pay included a $485,000 base salary, an annual bonus of $189,122, a deferred incentive plan payment of $611,100, benefits and other compensation worth $35,876, and accrued pension benefits worth $98,500.

Fund chairman Paul Cantor said that due to underperformance in 2009, executives did not receive short-term or long-term bonuses allocated for fund performance. But he said the board of directors decided to pay the portion of short-term bonuses based on achieving individual objectives.

Mr. Cantor added PSP Investments introduced a new long-term incentive plan in fiscal 2009, which is based on four-year investment performance. It is similar in structure to the four-year design at many other large pension managers.

“The deferred incentive payments in 2009 reflect the strong fund performance achieved over the four-year period from 2004 until 2007,” Mr. Cantor said in a statement in the fund's annual report.

The new incentive program means the poor performance in 2009 will continue to affect bonus levels until 2012. As well, PSP Investments said base salaries for managers were not increased for fiscal 2010.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Canadian Banks’ resiliency had nothing to do with Flaherty or the Harper Cons

The IMF has just published a paper entitled “Why Are Canadian Banks More Resilient?” available here.

Canadians at large have themselves to thank, rather than the bank executives or the Harper government for the resilience of the Canadian banks during the recent financial meltdown, as the IMF concluded that the single most important thing that distinguished Canadian banks from their international peer group during was the extent to which Canadian banks are funded by their depositors (i.e. Canadians at large) versus funded by wholesale sources.

The conclusion of the report reads:

The paper analyzed pre-crisis balance sheet structural fundamentals of Canadian banks and compared them with banks in other OECD countries. We found that ample retail depository finding was the key factor behind the relative resilience of Canadian banks during the turmoil. Sufficient capital and liquidity were also important but played a less distinctive role. In addition, a number of regulatory and structural factors have reduced Canadian banks’ incentives to take risks. Results allow a conjecture that strong structural fundamentals of Canadian banks will remain a source of their resilience as the financial turmoil and economic recession persist.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Insight for Liberals: Flaherty doesn’t like questions about income trusts

I am told that Amanda Lang has left the Biased News Network for places unknown. As evidence of the cozy relationship that exists between Amanda and Jim Flaherty, apparently Canada’s Finance Minister took time form his busy schedule to bid farewell to Amanda, and said that he “he'd miss her constant grilling on income trusts.”

Amanda Lang has not provided Jim Flaherty with a constant grilling on income trusts. Quite the opposite. In fact, who has been giving Flaherty a constant grilling on income trusts, that is in a position to do so.? Certainly not media, and certainly not the opposition parties in Parliament.

When was the last time that Flaherty has been asked a real QUESTION by the Liberals on income trusts?

If Flaherty has time to bid goodbyes to Amanda Lang, then he certainly has time to answer the questions of 2.5 million income trust investors. Here are five basic questions that Flaherty needs to answer. Maybe the Liberals would be wise to begin asking as a means to discredit Jim Flaherty and the Harper Cons:

(1) Where, after nearly three years, is your proof of tax leakage from income trusts that formed the core rationale for this policy?

(2) Why are you valuing the deferred taxes paid on RRSPs at zero, when there is no economic or financial rationale for doing, and the Auditor General requires you to include such taxes when determining the budget and the effect of not including these taxes is to render the RRSP obsolete, as the only benefit of an RRSP is the ability to defer taxes? Are you opposed to Canadians saving for retirement, while at the same time bailing out the pensions of GM workers?

(3) What purpose is served, apart from gross unfairness, by your allowing the pensions funds to own these income trust privately and thereby completely evade your 31.5% tax? Something that only the pension funds can do, and not the 75% of Canadians without pensions? How does this solve the alleged problems with income trusts, to have them all held by pension funds? How can this be considered a Tax Fairness Plan

(4) If you felt that the withholding tax paid by foreigners on income trusts at the rate of 15% was insufficient, then why did you reduce the withholding tax paid by foreigners on corporate debt from 15% to zero, a few months later? What became of your mantra of leveling the playing field, in light of completely tilting the playing field in favour of corporations?

(5) How much tax revenue has been lost by the takeovers of income trusts by foreigners? Is this a greater or lesser number than your alleged loss of taxes from income trusts referred to in (1) above, a number which has never been proven to exists in the first place? Why are you displacing Canadian investors saving for their retirement at a cost to them of $35 billion and the loss of significant taxes to all Canadians, only to favour foreign investors like Abu Dhabi Energy or LI Ka Shing, who pay zero taxes?

Bonus Question: Who has been the bigger pushover on income trusts to date? Amanda Lang or the Liberal Party of Canada, Canada’s supposed Official Opposition party?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Steve: Would this tax qualify as a “bad tax”?

Stephen Harper claimed at the G8 summit that all taxes are bad taxes.

Politicians often speak in sweeping absolutes and we only learn of the exceptions after the fact. As such, I would like to know whether our esteemed Prime Minister would consider the following outcomes of this particular tax to be the product of a good tax or a bad tax;

- this tax achieved the polar opposite outcome of ALL of its stated goals and ostensible purposes

- this tax resulted in an overall loss of tax revenue to the Canadian government of $1.2 billion a year presently, soon to reach $7.5 billion a year, when it was claimed that this tax would increase tax revenue

- this tax has induced $100 billion of takeovers of Canadian companies, primarily by foreigners through means that avoid the ongoing payment of taxes in Canada by the new owners and load these businesses up with debt

- this tax caused Canadians to lose $35 billion of their retirement wealth, and the associated loss of some $8 billion in capital gains taxes by the Canadian government

- this tax caused a major slowdown in the drill rig activity in Alberta that persists to this day and brought Canada’s once vibrant IPO market to a virtual standstill.

- this tax eliminated an essential investment choice by Canadians saving for retirement, that was designed to make Canadians more captive to the investment wares of Canadian life insurers’ products, like Manulife’s Income Plus, that was not hedged by Manulife, bringing wanton and reckless systemic risk to that pillar of the Canadian marketplace.

- this tax increased the burden on social services provided by the government by those seniors who now find themselves with insufficient retirement income

- this tax created an unlevel playing field between the 75% of Canadians without pensions (who incur this new tax) versus the 25% of Canadians with pensions ( who do not incur this new tax)

- this tax does not get implemented until January 2011.

Therefore, it is incumbent on Stephen Harper to explain to all Canadians why this income trust tax of his is not being rescinded, in view of his “all taxes are bad taxes” dogma and the masochistic course that he has charted for all Canadians and especially those Canadians seeking to provide income for themselves in retirement after years of hard work.......and paying taxes, which in the case of income trusts are not being acknowledged by the Department of Finance when they conduct their fraudulent “tax leakage” analysis.

What would better qualify as a “bad tax” than an income tax on trust distributions that is being paid to the government at an average rate of 38% and is being valued at the rate of 0%, whose unfair treatment becomes the sole rationale for Stephen Harper’s SECOND tax at the rate of 31.5%, for a combined tax rate on retirement savings/investment in the Canadian economy at the rate of 62%?

Where is the good in that “bad tax”? Who apart from a handful of corporate CEOs and foreign takeovers artists was this tax ever intended for in the first place?

Bad tax meets bad politician, in the form of Stephen Harper.

Stephen Harper has some major explaining to do, or does he want to go down as Canada’s biggest hypocrite and incompetent ever?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stephen Harper: World class buffoon

G8 Attack Reflects Poorly on Canada: Experts

by Jeff Davis
Embassy / Hill Times
Published July 15, 2009

Minutes before Mr. Harper was to address reporters for a final time at the end of this year's G8 summit in Italy, an assistant to the prime minister told reporters Liberal Leader Micael Ignatieff had suggested the G8 may soon be replaced by a new forum from which Canada would be excluded. When he appeared, Mr. Harper pounced on the comments, slamming Mr. Ignatieff for daring to imply Canada wouldn't be worthy of membership in influential fora.

"Mr. Ignatieff is supposed to be a Canadian," Mr. Harper told the media on Friday. "I don't think you go out and throw out ideas like this that are so obviously contrary to a country's interest and nobody else is advocating them.

"I think it's an irresponsible suggestion.... I would suggest he look carefully at these comments and withdraw those. Frankly, they'd be irresponsible coming from anybody, but they're particularly irresponsible coming from a senior Canadian parliamentarian."

As it turned out, the comments had actually been made by former deputy foreign minister Gordon Smith, now a professor at the University of Victoria. Mr. Harper, as has now been widely documented, was forced to apologize.

Although the misstep by the prime minister will likely make few waves with Canadians—most of whom are busy enjoying summertime—experts say it adds to a troubling pattern in Mr. Harper's approach to foreign policy. They say he seems content to miss opportunities to contribute to the international dialogue, instead commenting on internal, domestic politics that international journalists will have no interest in.

Last week's attack on Mr. Ignatieff is not the first time the Conservative government has broadcast attacks on their Liberal opponents from the international stage. At a climate change conference in Nairobi in 2006, then-environment minister Rona Ambrose told a room of international dignitaries that her government was appalled with the record of previous Canadian governments.

"When Canada's new government assumed office this year, we found an unacceptable situation," Ms. Ambrose said. "We found that measures to address climate change by previous Canadian governments were insufficient and unaccountable."

Ms. Ambrose's partisan attack surprised most observers and enraged the Liberals. Many criticized Ms. Ambrose for highlighting a negative and divided image of Canada at such a major conference. Attendees at the conference were reportedly surprised at the tone of her comments, and a Greenpeace Canada spokesperson called the speech "embarrassing."

For observers, it's the way Mr. Harper approaches foreign policy.

"Foreign policy is not [Mr. Harper's] main interest," said Errol Mendes, a professor of international law at the University of Ottawa. "It would be interesting to know how many average citizens of the G8 would know who our prime minister is, whereas they certainly knew who Trudeau was, even Mulroney. So the fact that he does not shine on the international stage does impact on us having profile."

Canwest News reporter David Akin said that when he follows the prime minister to such summits, the Canadian leader is so poorly known that photographers are constantly asking who Mr. Harper is.

Mr. Akin recalled that at the prime minister's first G8 Summit in St. Petersburg in 2006, Mr. Harper avoided the press for three entire days, even as every other G8 leader loudly trumpeted their messages to the international press gathered on site.

"He was so uncomfortable he was invisible, he physically looked smaller in that '06 summit...he seemed really out of his element," Mr. Akin said. "When you're travelling with him, there's never enough information about his activities, about who he's speaking to. The read-outs that we get from the PMO communications when he meets with other leaders are frustratingly bland and vague."

Journalist and author Andrew Cohen suggests Mr. Harper's performance and press coverage from the G8 may reflect Canada's diminished role in the world. Mr. Cohen questions what international issue Mr. Harper has associated himself and Canada with, and said it is not clear what it is that Canada is contributing.

"What struck me about this is that he was relentlessly and unnecessarily partisan," Mr. Cohen said. "And you wonder why he did it; it doesn't help him internationally and it doesn't help him at why did he do it? Maybe because he just can't help himself.

"We will probably have to wait...before we ever know what kind of a prime minister he was in those summits, but my sense is if we were doing innovative things and we were as daring as once we were, we would know."

Shortly after Mr. Harper apologized for unfairly criticizing Mr. Ignatieff, saying "I regret the error and I apologize to Mr. Ignatieff for this error," his senior aide Dimitri Soudas also went to the press to apologize. Mr. Soudas, who has advised Mr. Harper since 2006, said he had passed on the erroneous information and advised the prime minister to comment on it in a press conference.

Despite Mr. Soudas taking the blame, a Canadian Press article compared Mr. Harper to a wolverine, whose partisan claws were viciously unleashed, the Toronto Star called the incident "a sour note on which to end the week," and Canwest News Service ran the headline "Harper's G8 performance scuttled by gaffe." Adding fuel to the fire throughout was Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Bob Rae who immediately issued a press release attacking Mr. Harper's leadership, and began fielding questions from reporters.

In the statement, Mr. Rae said the error "is reflective of the character of this Prime Minister who made the choice to continue his pattern of slinging mud at his opponents, this time on an international stage. It is no wonder that with this approach, Mr. Harper was shown to be out of step with his closest G8 partners on everything from climate change to African aid to the strategy in Afghanistan."

Whether or not Mr. Harper's misguided partisan tactics will cost Canada internationally remains to be seen, but for politics watchers in Canada, it reaffirms a negative image he's been trying to shake.

"Most people are paying very little attention," said Frank Graves, president of Ekos Research Associates polling firm, though he said he suspects Mr. Harper regrets the attack on Mr. Ignatieff, and the impression it may leave on the public.

"Why would he have offered up this gratuitous and what turns out to be erroneous critique of his competitor in Canada when he'd just done a reasonably good job otherwise?" Mr. Graves said. "That might reinforce this view that he has difficulty transcending partisan instincts."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harper’s “dumb” only serves to mask his inherent deceit

Today we have Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail opining that the following Stephen Harper pronouncement at the G8 summit is “one of the most stunning, revealing and, frankly, ignorant statements ever made by a prime minister”:

“You know, there's two schools in economics on this. One is that there are some good taxes and the other is that no taxes are good taxes. I'm in the latter category. I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes.” (Stephen Harper)

I made a similar observation myself yesterday on this same quote, and mused that Harper must be losing faith in his 31.5% tax on income trusts to be implemented in 2011 that destroyed $35 billion in Canadians retirement savings and which was premised on Harper’s blatant falsehood that income trusts cause tax leakage.

That said, I have to disagree with Jeffrey Simpson’s conclusion on a number of fronts.

First, this is not the most superlative ”dumb” thing that Stephen Harper has ever said. In my opinion, the single “dumbest” thing that Stephen Harper has said would be the following statement of September 15, 2008 in the midst of the 2008 election:

"If we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.” That absurd statement was made just before the Globe and Mail endorsed Harper for Prime Minister in the last election, as if papers should be endorsing candidates in the first place?

Such a patently absurd comment is like the Pilot of Air France Flight 447 comforting his passengers mid-flight with the false assurance that: “This is your captain speaking. We have entered some severe turbulence. If we were going to have some kind of big crash or system malfunction, we probably would have had it by now.”

Harper’s pivotal false reassurance of the 2008 election even ranks ahead of this Stephen Harper false (as it turned out) assurance of the 2006 election:

“When Ralph Goodale tried to tax Income Trusts they showed us where they stood, they showed us their attitude towards raiding Seniors hard earned assets and a Conservative government will never allow either of these parties to get away with that.”

Second, I find it interesting that Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe, whose paper endorsed Stephen Harper for Prime Minister in the last two elections, would fixate on this comment of Harper’s from the recent G8 summit as if it were some epiphany about the Globe’s endorsed candidate. After all, Stephen Harper has made this “ all taxes are bad taxes” argument before, or does the Globe not perform research on the articles they write on things like tax leakage or the candidates they endorse? Evidently not, as this very comment was made by Harper in 2004 in which he stated on CTV News “ “I believe that all taxes are bad.” (Source Wikiquote).

Third, what Jeffrey Simpson fails to reveal in his analysis of Harpers comment of “ all taxes are bad” is that this is not an ideological view that Stephen Harper holds, as much as it is a means to deceive the voting public by espousing positions that resonate with the common man, and which are abandoned at whim when it comes time to actually implement policy by merely citing that “circumstances have changed”.

“Deceit” not “dumb”, is the most insightful revelation that is common to all of the above quotes from Stephen Harper and not the conclusion that Jeffrey Simpson gets diverted on about the virtues of one economic policy versus another. Virtually all of Stephen Harpers comments contain an element of deceit. This past week we observed Harper’s inherent deceit in action on several fronts. Harper claiming that he “consumed” the wafer at LeBlanc’s funeral, when clearly he did not, Ignatieff being vilified in the most partisan of ways on the world stage by Harper for things Ignatieff never said, and this absurd pandering comment of “all taxes are bad taxes”, from the very person who implemented the double taxation of retirement savings at a combined tax rate of 62% commencing in the year 2011. meaning it’s not too late to reverse that “bad” tax.

Deceit, not dumb is the greater revelation that is common to most all of what Stephen Harper has to say, as the man himself is inherently deceitful. His ideological pronouncements are nothing more than false assurances with a short shelf life. Borne of the moment, with no enduring properties or underlying principles to validate their existence in the first place. That is the revelation contained in this Stephen Harper quote that seems to be lost on Jeffrey Simpson.

In that respect, Stephen Harper is not much different that the Globe and Mail itself, who gleefully advanced Harper’s patent lie that income trusts cause tax leakage in a litany of slanted and commercially biased news articles over the past two and half years.

The only persons who can be accused of being dumb, are the readers of the Globe, who prove Mark Twain’s maxim to be true on a daily basis,

“If you don't read the Globe you are uninformed, if you do read the Globe you are misinformed.”

I have as much respect for Stephen Harper as I do for the journalistic integrity of the Globe and Mail. Both employ the tactic of “dumb” to mask their inherent deceit and hidden commercial agenda.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Has Harper lost faith in his 31.5% income trust tax?

Stephen Harper's interview with the Globe

"You know, there's two schools in economics on this, one is that there are some good taxes and the other is that no taxes are good taxes. I'm in the latter category. I don't believe any taxes are good taxes."

How the insurance industry guides government policy by fear mongering

Where did all the fear mongering on income trusts come from, if not the insurance industry and the good folks at Manulife and Power Financial, whose sales of inferior investment products suffered in the presence of income trusts, and who the insurance industry turned to the Stephen Harper government to eliminate........whereby Harper used the falsehood known as tax leakage.

Bottom line: Competition was stifled, investment choices were eliminated and billions were lost by millions to enrich the few who basically own Canadian politicians.

Here we learn from Bull Moyers of PBS how the US insurance industry had a campaign to discredit the concept of public health care in order to maintain their monopoly on health care:

Watch Bill Moyers here

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More potential hypocrisy from the schizophrenic Harper government

Today we learn that “Ottawa eyes $3,500 'cash-for-clunkers' program”, in which Canadians will receive $3,500 to trade in their old cars to buy new ones, in an attempt by the copy cat Harper government to artificially inflate demand for new car sales, as the US and other countries are doing.. This incentive program is a flagrant abuse of tax payer money that (by definition) could be used for a plethora of more worthwhile programs, like helping people save for their children’s education etc etc, but now that the Harper government has a vested interest in the ongoing and immediate viability of GM and Chrysler, we have them contemplating measures that are completely counter to the measures they took a short two years ago, namely their much maligned Green Levy program

Two years ago I found myself looking to upgrade my 2001 GMC Yukon with the purchase of a factory ordered 2007 Chevrolet Suburban with the new fuel efficient E85 engine. I had negotiated the purchase of this vehicle from an out of town dealer with a signed agreement, but had yet to get my trade-in appraised, when all of a sudden I learned that Jim Flaherty had announced his Green Levy program that would have seen the purchase price of this vehicle increase by $2,000. I immediately called the dealer and informed him that my order should be considered null and void, if there was any possibility that I would pay any part of this new tax, especially given that Flaherty had exempted all the GM cars produced in his riding of Whitby-Oshawa on the premise that they incorporated this new E85 engine and exempted all pick up trucks produced in his riding as well, on which the Suburban is based and which are no more fuel efficient. And yet I was expected to cough up $2000 more for this vehicle, in order to subsidize someone else’s purchase of a Honda Fit or a Toyota Prius? Good for Honda and Toyota, bad for me and GM.

Why did the Harper government see value in standing in the way of my purchase of a new fuel efficient vehicle two years ago that would have cost me $2,000 for nothing, and now they want to throw $3,500 of taxpayer's money at me to do the very thing that they previously stood in the way of? Are these people schizophrenic, or what? Do they have a clue about what they are doing? Where is their guiding philosophy for these random acts of policy, apart from making it up as they go along?

This Green Levy was implemented (like the income trust tax) with ZERO consultation with stakeholders (since that would require the capacity on the part of Flaherty to both listen and understand) and was decried (like the income trust tax) by the domestic car manufactures as discriminatory to their business interests.

Fast forward two years and we have the very same government now contemplating a reverse policy to the Green Levy (the Green Bevy?) that would see taxpayers-at-large subsidize the car purchasers of others, to the tune of $3,500 per vehicle.

Taken alone, this might have been a defensible policy to have implemented, but on the backs of all the other measures using taxpayer monies to revive a moribund industry, this is reaching far beyond the point of absurdity, as Canadian taxpayers will now be fully engaged in the following automotive resuscitation efforts:

- Billions in “loans’ to GM and Chrysler that both Harper and Flaherty have publicly acknowledged will likely never get repaid.

- Billions to purchase the equity of GM and Chrysler that both Harper and Flaherty acknowledge will be a long time before we see any return on, if ever.

- The Government of Canada assuming the new car warranty obligations and liabilities of GM and Chrysler.

- Taxpayers picking up the complete tab for the under funded pensions of GM, with no change whatsoever to the pension scheme offered to GM workers on a going forward basis that got GM into this mess in the first place.

- And now the Harper government wants to use taxpayer money to artificially inflate the sales of new cars? Doing so would be an absurdity, and completely counter to any vestiges that are left to Harper’s claim that he is a free market Conservative. The Green Levy of two years will have done a complete 180.

Taken collectively, these measure already implemented by the Harper government to resuscitate the automotive industry, can be considered as “cash for clunkers”, namely billions upon billions for GM and Chrysler. Enough is enough. We don’t need another program that actually goes by that name.

Ottawa eyes $3,500 'cash-for-clunkers' program

Auto industry, U. S. incentives put pressure on Canada to offer trade-in money

By Renata D'Aliesio, Canwest News Service July 5, 2009 2:05 AM

Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Saturday he's reviewing whether Canada should follow the United States and several European countries in offering consumers a substantial financial incentive to scrap their clunkers and buy new vehicles.

Prentice said he's met with a number of auto manufacturers over the past few months to discuss the prospect of giving Canadians $3,500 to trade in their older, polluting vehicles.

Makers and sellers of cars have been aggressively lobbying Ottawa to adopt the measure, contending it will significantly boost sales in the sagging auto sector while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Pressure has mounted since U. S. President Barack Obama signed a "cash-for-clunkers" program worth up to$4,500 US into law last month.

However, Prentice said before making a decision on whether the federal government would adopt a similar incentive, he wants to evaluate the effectiveness of an existing program, which offers modest rewards that vary across the country.

In Alberta, drivers who scrap vehicles made in 1995 or earlier can get up to $490 for a bicycle, up to a year's worth of monthly transit passes, or $300 cash.

"We have a limited program that's in place now that was frankly put in place before the recession began. It was directed at getting clunkers off the road. It wasn't really designed as an economic-stimulus package," said Prentice, who was in Calgary for the annual Calgary Stampede festival.

Prentice suggested a decision on whether to offer clunker-driving Canadians more lucrative rewards to buy new cars will be made within 60 days.

He said the cost of upping Ottawa's enticement will play a significant factor.

The Harper Conservative government is forecasting a$50-billion deficit in its 2009-10 budget, which is rich with spending on infrastructure in a bid to stem job losses during the recession.

The U. S. government has authorized $1 billion US for its cash-for-clunkers program, which ends this Nov. 1, while Germany has budgeted five billion euros, or $8.1 billion Cdn, and recently extended its deadline to Dec. 31.

"It's an enormous public subsidy for the purchase of new cars," Prentice said. "That's been one of the issues is the extent of public dollars that we would want to put into incenting people to buy private automobiles."

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff expressed support Saturday for the program, as long as it was offered at the right price. He wasn't specific as to what he believes that price should be.

"Getting clunkers off the road might stimulate the auto market, but it has to be sensible," Ignatieff said in Calgary. "You've got to get the price right. You got to have an incentive to actually get the clunkers off the road, but you can't pour too much public money into it or other taxpayers have problems."

Some taxpayers have already taken issue with Ottawa's decision to give two faltering automakers billions of dollars.

Along with financial aid from Washington, General Motors Corp. is receiving $10.6 billion from Ottawa and Chrysler is getting $3.8 billion.

Sales of new vehicles in Canada through the end of May came in at 582,000 units, a 19.5-per-cent decline from the previous year.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Friday, July 3, 2009

Flaherty's failed game of income trust dominoes

This is a classic, that ranks with the purchase of Prime West Energy Trust by middle eastern oil company Abu Dhabi Energy or TransAlta Power Income Fund by Hong Kong billionaire, Li Ka Shing that displaced Canadian investors forced to pay a 31.5% tax, whereas foreigners and corporations using excessive debt pay zero.. Here we have Teck loading up with excessive amounts of debt to acquire Fording Canadian Coal Trust and displace investors whose investment in this income trust was broadsided by Flaherty’s income trust tax and laid vulnerable to takeover given the pending 31.5% trust tax. Unable to deal with this excessive debt level in light of the collapse in commodity prices for its core business, Teck then resorts to selling 17% of itself to China's $200 billion sovereign wealth fund. Does Flaherty ever think things through to their logical and predictable conclusion.

Teck Sells 17% Stake to China Fund for C$1.74 Billion

By Rob Delaney and Mark Herlihy

July 3 (Bloomberg) -- Teck Resources Ltd., Canada's largest diversified mining company, sold a 17 percent stake to China's $200 billion sovereign wealth fund for C$1.74 billion ($1.5 billion) to reduce debt.

China Investment Corp., also known as CIC, will buy 101.3 million Class B subordinate voting shares for C$17.21 each, Vancouver-based Teck Resources said today in a statement. Teck said the deal will give CIC a 6.7 percent voting interest.

Teck has sold assets to reduce debt after adding $9.8 billion of loans last year to buy Fording Canadian Coal Trust, a producer of coal used in steelmaking. Teck last year sold more than half of its coking coal production to Japan and Korea and recently started selling to China, the world's largest steelmaker.

``For a lot of people looking at Teck's financial situation, there was certainly no opportunity for them to grow organically in the short term,'' said David Davidson, an analyst for Paradigm Capital Inc. in Toronto, who has a ``buy'' on Teck shares. ``This opens it up.''

Teck rose C$1.49, or 8.1 percent, to C$19.99 at 4:30 p.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading, the biggest daily gain since June 1. The shares have more than tripled this year.

Scotia Capital advised CIC on the transaction.

Coal Demand

Teck is betting that a ``strategic partnership'' with China may help the company win a larger share of the country's coking coal imports, which may rise to more than 20 million tons this year from 3.2 million tons last year, Chief Executive Officer Donald Lindsay said in a telephone interview.

``That's going to grow significantly in the coming years because they're building very large blast furnaces on their coast,'' Lindsay said. ``This could help us with our metallurgical coal sales in the long term.''

China is seeking access to raw materials for metals production, such as iron ore and coal. Wuhan Iron & Steel Group offered $400 million for part of Brazil iron-ore miner MMX Mineracao e Metalicos SA last month. Rio Tinto Group last month scrapped a $19.5 billion investment plan from its biggest shareholder Aluminum Corp. of China.

Teck said May 27 it was in talks to sell coking coal assets to Chinese companies to help it reduce debt and sold $4.2 billion of bonds on May 5 to refinance short-term obligations.

Teck in April said it sold about 5.6 million shares of Kinross Gold Corp. for proceeds of about $101 million and agreed to sell its stake in the gold production from Cia. Minera Carmen de Andacollo to raise about $270 million.

Profit Falls

The investment by CIC follows a second quarter that analysts expect to be worse for Teck than the year-earlier period. The company's profit fell 30 percent in the first quarter because of lower copper prices.

``For CIC, it represents the opportunity to participate in the inevitable upswing in commodities, and for Teck, CIC represents a long-term, patient investor that can also provide assistance in its largest market,'' Scotia Capital, a unit of Bank of Nova Scotia, said in an e-mailed statement. The transaction is CIC's ``first major investment'' in a Canadian company.

Teck is forecast to report a 29 cent profit for the second quarter, the average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company's net income was C$1.12 a share a year earlier.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rob Delaney in Toronto at; Mark Herlihy in London at

Bashful Dalton, neglects to mention the $2 billion annual windfall that HST represents for corporations?

Dear Misinformed Voter:

Thanks for writing to me about the proposed single sales tax. Your views are important and they matter to me. And I appreciate your taking the time to express them.

If you're looking for detailed information about the tax changes, you= can find it at .

I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you why our government is making these important changes. It's all about building a stronger economy for Ontario.

Merging the GST and the PST on July 1, 2010, is the single most important step we can take to make Ontario more attractive to businesses. As already proven in the Atlantic provinces, a single sales tax will mean more business investment in Ontario and, ultimately, more jobs for Ontarians.

By merging two taxes with different rules into one sales tax with one set of rules, we're reducing red tape -- and creating new incentives for Ontario businesses to grow and for new businesses to locate here.

I know this change will not be easy. That's why we're doing our part to make the transition as smooth as possible for families across the province.

Our full package of tax changes includes personal income tax cuts and small business tax cuts. In fact, 93 per cent of all Ontario taxpayers will benefit from a personal income tax cut next year.

Our tax changes will leave our government with $2.3 billion less revenue over the next four years. While that shortfall will create its own set of challenges, we feel strongly that it's a price worth paying if we truly want Ontario to prosper.

I know many Ontarians are feeling the effects of the current global economic recession. But I am confident that, if we work together, and are prepared to make changes now to help our economy, Ontario will emerge an even stronger, more prosperous and more beautiful place for our children and grandchildren.

Thanks again for contacting me.

Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario

Does Peter Van Loan have formal signing authority, or is this another CON job?

Here we see a picture of Peter Van Loan delivering an over sized cheque in the amount of $931,448 made out to the Town of Innisfil. that bears his signature.

That bears his signature? The Minister of Public Safety is now doubling a Paymaster General?

This can only mean one of two things. Either these stimulus monies are coming from the personal bank account of Peter Van Loan and other such Conservatives, in which case Canadians will be most pleased to know that there will be no massive deficits under the Conservative government as was promised by Stephen Harper in the 2008 election, or more likely this money is coming from taxpayers, in which case what the hell is Peter Van Loan's name doing on this cheque?

Does Peter Van Loan actually have formal authority to sign cheques on behalf of the Canadian government in the amount of $931,448, or is this a phony cheque and simply an exercise in self promotional fraud on the part of Peter Van Loan?

Wasn't this the same Peter Van Loan, whose perverse idea of democratic reform was to give voters in the West a disproportionate number of seats in the House of Commons, such that voters in ONtario would be deprived of 17 seats in the House? In opposing that measure, Dalton McGuinty was awarded the epithet of "Small man of Confederation" by none other than Peter Van Loan. Having been unsuccessful in perpertrating that fraud on the voters of Ontario, he is now resorting to handing out cheques from the taxpayers of Canada to the Town of Inisfill that bear his signature?

What a clown and a blatant opportunist this Peter Van Loan has become, as he esploits the economic downturn for his own political advantage and falsely associates himself with these taxpayer monies. Talk about the Small Man of Confederation.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canadian banks’ aversion to raising real equity, only succeeds in fooling Jim Flaherty

Yesterday on Canada Day, we learned that the Canadian banks failed to make the top 30 of global banking. All the while, Jim Flaherty is claiming to Canadians at every opportunity, that our banks are pillars of strength and global leaders?

This disconnect between real world fact and Flaherty’s fiction, arises in large part because of the Canadian banks’ unwillingness to raise real equity capital to bolster their balance sheets, and instead have resorted almost exclusively to raising billions since the financial meltdown, in the form of securities that are nothing more than “gimmick equity”, and which is effectively debt. It appears that the only person who has been fooled by this bank scheme of issuing gimmick equity is Canada’s Finance Minister.....and any Canadian foolish enough to believe in his wares.

This gimmick equity issued by the Canadian banks goes by the generic name of “preference securities”, and is essentially debt, since the interest that is paid on this “equity” is deductible from the earnings of the bank, in the way that dividends on true equity is not.

As such, we have a tax/regulatory scam of sorts going on here. If nothing else it is a completer contradiction in terms and contradiction in treatment ( by the same government), as one branch of the Department of Finance (OSFI) treats these securities as equity (when it comes to the question of the capital adequacy of the banks) and on the other hand we have another branch of the Department of Finance (CRA) treating these securities as debt (when it come to treating the payment on these securities as tax deductible interest).

This is fooling no one, except Canada’s Minister of Finance. It also makes a complete hypocrisy of Jim Flaherty’s income trust tax, that will see income trust distributions which is equity paid by Canadian businesses taxed at the rate of 31.5% when these massive payments of interest paid on Canadians banks’ “equity” being taxed at ZERO?

Such are the consequences of lobbying Ottawa for favorable tax regimes and industry carve outs.

This type of smoke and mirrors approach by Jim Flaherty to the solvency of Canadian banks in completely analogous to his so called solution to the issue of under funded pensions, that would grant companies 10 years to make up their shortfalls, rather than the customary 5 years.

As with preference securities, “solutions” of this nature are only notional/token solutions, as the substance of the problem has gone completely unaddressed. Much like our Finance Minister himself. A person completely lacking in substance.

Canadian banks fail to make top 30 of global ranking

CIBC ranks 15th in world for worst losses

By Eric Lam,
Financial Post
July 1, 2009

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has touted Canada’s banking system as the best in the world in the past few months, but the latest rankings from a top financial publication show that not every member of the Big Six has been as lucky in escaping the global financial crisis.

Contrary to Mr. Flaherty’s rhetoric, no Canadian banks made it into the top 30 of The Banker magazine’s annual list of 1,000 banks, sorted by capital strength, released on Tuesday. Capital strength, as defined by the Financial Times magazine, includes only the core of a bank’s strength: common stock, disclosed reserves and retained earnings and excludes such things as cumulative preference shares, revaluation reserves, and long-term debt.

However, with losses of some US$4.3-billion, the CIBC can call itself the 15th worst bank in the world when it comes to the largest losses, capping off a disastrous 2008. By contrast, one Canadian bank clinched 10th spot out of 25 in terms of profit: Royal Bank of Canada.

“CIBC has been heavily involved in capital markets in the U.S., which are high risk,” said Colin Cieszynski, an analyst with CMC Markets. “It’s the cyclicality of the business, and they’ve had their issues in the past.”

The bank posted losses of C$1.46-billion and C$1.1-billion in the first two quarters of 2008 alone as CIBC took the brunt of the U.S. credit crunch.

The bank did come in 71st in the overall rankings, down two spots from last year.

Still, CIBC’s losses pale in comparison with the mammoth US$59.3-billion shortfall suffered by the Royal Bank of Scotland that landed it the dubious honour of top spot on the list.

Rounding out the top three is a pair of American banks, with Citigroup down US$53-billion and Wells Fargo & Co. close behind at US$47.8-billion.

Overall, banks on the top 1,000 list registered system profits of only US$115-billion, down 85.3% from US$780.8-billion registered last year, the magazine reported. As well, return on equity dropped to less than 3% from 20% in the same period.

The results are not altogether surprising, considering the carnage of the past year as banks around the world resorted to government bailouts to stay afloat.

The list also does not take into account major banks that failed outright, including Washington Mutual, the largest such failure in American history.

However, Royal Bank, which came in 34th in the overall rankings, did grab the 10th spot on the list of the top 25 banks by profit by earning about $6-billion in 2008.

That list was dominated by Chinese banks, holding the top two spots and three of the top five. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China earned US$21.3-billion at the head of the list, while China Construction Bank Corp. came in second with US$17.5-billion in profit.

Santander Central Hispano is next at US$15.8-billion.

“These banks stuck to the basics of banking and did not get involved in some of the more complicated and highly leveraged financial instruments that caused so much damage at banks like Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS,” Brian Caplen, the magazine’s editor, said in a release. “In the case of Spain they were helped to do so by the strictures of a tough national regulator.”

The Banker also released a top 10 list of Canadian banks based on capital, and of note is Toronto-Dominion Bank taking over third place by swapping with the Bank of Montreal. TD Bank also jumped seven spots in the top 1,000 rankings to 46 as its capital strength rose 27% to US$20.9-billion from US$16.5-billion.

© Copyright (c) National Post

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Google obviously doesn't understand Canada.

Evidently some graphic artist that works for Google in Mountain View, California thought it would be a cute idea to acknowledge Canada Day by incorporating an image of a saluting RCMP officer in their logo today.

While the thought is nice, the association is most disappointing as the RCMP has come to represent some of the worst things about Canada these days. In the last three years the RCMP has completely discredited itself, at least in the mind of this Canadian. Some top of mind examples of this wholly discredited police organization are:

(1) As Commissioner of the RCMP, Giuliano Zaccardelli, acted in a way that significantly influenced the outcome of the 2006 Canadian Federal election by acting in a manner completely inconsistent with proper police practice by announcing a criminal investigation into the alleged income trust leak and named Rlaph Goodale ( who was later exonerated) in that Press Release. You never name people in matters of this open ended sort, unless of course you wanted to throw the election in favour of the "tough on crime" Conservatives.

(2) The tasering of Robert Dziekansk and the associated cover up. Thank god for the citizen journalist who took the incriminating video of this wretched affair, otherwise this incident would never have seen the light of day and tasers would still be in widespread misuse by the RCMP.

(3) RCMP detachments that do not respond to repeated citizen's reports that they observed SOS signals in the snow, which the RCMP failed to investigate and which led to the death of a stranded skier in the back country

(4) The RCMP pension scandal under Giuliano Zaccardelli, who thinks pension money can be taken provided it is returned in due course once the news becomes public. Does the RCMP accord bank robbers with the same remedies?

(5) The RCMP was responsible for overall security at the 2007 Montebello Summit, where members of the police force under the RCMP's command had infiltrated a group of peaceful protestors in an attempt to falsely portray them as non peaceful, with the obvious intention to falsely implicate them and malign their intentions and discredit them.

(6) The appointment of politically linked individuals, ie William Elliot, with ties to the Conservative Party to head the RCMP.

(7) The inability of the RCMP to properly investigate the attempted bribery of MP Chuch Cadmen and to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators. including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who admitted knowledge of the affair on a tape.

Happy Canada Day!

Perhaps that RCMP Officer in the Google logo would be more representative of today's realities, if he were giving Canadians a single digit salute, rather than the open handed salute?