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."


Dr Mike said...

Since the Halloween Massacre of 2006 , I have come to the conclusion that all politicians are only as good as their word which as we know depends on what they need to get (re) elected or to whom they owe favors.

In other words you certainly can`t take it to the bank unless maybe , you are a bank or a Manulife or a Power Corp.

The poor old little guy trust investor who invested for his or her retirement has been lost in the shuffle , caught between a rock & a hard place , the rock being a boat load of ill-informed & uncaring politicians with their own agenda , & the hard place being our corporate elite.

It is a shame because these guys work for us , we pay their salary & we should be able to expect something for our trust & our money.

For decades now , out return has been dwindling , our investment in these people is tanking.

Instead of being the boss , we are now only a means to an end , tell them what they want to hear & do whatever the hell they feel like once elected.

This whole mess crosses all party lines & has left democracy in a shambles.

It sure is sad when an election comes along & all we can do is choose between the lesser of the several evils.

Dr Mike Popovich

Anonymous said...

Liberal silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

Dr Mike,

Very eloquently put. So accurate - like Brent's analyses always are.

Dr Mike said...


Still pissed-off in Rodney----Dr Mike