Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dear Euromoney: Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor (submitted for publication)

Mr. Clive Horwood

Dear Mr. Horwood:

In a nutshell, I am bewildered and dismayed to learn that your publication, Euromoney, has chosen to name Jim Flaherty as Finance Minister of the Year for 2009, and no less, in the year in which we experienced the Global financial meltdown.

If there is one thing that we should have all learned from the Global financial meltdown, Euromoney included, is the pivotal role that ethics and disclosure play in ensuring the security, stability and overall integrity of our financial system. It is in this regard, that Euromoney’s selection of Jim Flaherty of Finance Minister of the Year, is in complete denial and contradiction of the importance of this hard learned lesson of the past tumultuous year.

Jim Flaherty, during his time occupying the role of Canada’s Finance Minister, has conducted himself in a manner more like that of a third world country, rather than the law abiding first world country that Canada is, or at least was.

Allow me to cite some condemning examples of Jim Flaherty’s conduct in office.

On the matter of ethics, Jim Flaherty has shown an utter disregard for conducting himself in a manner even remotely deserving of accolades. For example, he thinks nothing of contravening his own government’s rules which call for competitive tenders for contracts awarded in amounts in excess of $25,000, by awarding contracts in excess of this amount to personal friends of his without tender, or breaking contracts up into amounts just under this threshold to circumvent the rules, and as a means to again reward his friends and get around the technicality of these rules, but to defy their very spirit and intent.

What does this remind you of, if not the culture that pervaded Wall Street, prior to the collapse of the Sub Prime Mortgage Market and the bending of rules to make a buck? You might want to Google the the phrase “Flaherty grilled over untendered contracts” to learn more about this ethical breach by Euuromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year for 2009.

A second example is afforded by the contrived nature in which Euromoney’s vaunted Finance Minister of the Year narrowly defined the parameters of a government grant program that would see government money going to the private sector for worthwhile projects, such that ONLY ONE program would, in the end, be eligible, namely a project that saw $17 million injected into his wife’s and his campaign manager’s pet project, the Whitby Abilities Center. You might want to Google the phrase “Flaherty Whitby Abilities Center conflict of interest” to learn more about this ethical breach by Euuromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year for 2009.

The final and best example is the role that your article completely glosses over, namely the role that Jim Flaherty, Euromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year for 2009, played in destroying $35 billion of Canadian and foreign investors’ retirement savings that was invested in income trusts. This event caused by the actions of Euromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year for 2009, is the single largest destruction of capital by a government action and the second largest fraudulent act, second only to the Bernie Madoff fraud, since the policy and the loss of money that ensued was advanced by a false and fabricated argument concocted by Jim Flaherty (more below).

Having been elected as part of a government under Stephen Harper that vigorously campaigned on an explicit platform to “never tax income trusts” and garnering considerable votes from the electorate in return, Jim Flaherty as Finance Minister completely reneged on that promise a short 9 months later.

This reversal of a solemn election promise in itself is not a unique occurrence in the world of democracy as we have come to understand it. What is unique and uniquely particular to Jim Flaherty, EuroMoney’s Finance Minister of the Year for 2009, is that Jim Flaherty used a completely false and fabricated argument to justify the breaking of this election promise. This is where the lessons of the global financial meltdown come into play in underscoring the need for ethics AND full transparent disclosure. Lessons which appear to have been quickly forgotten by your publication. If not forgotten, then why is Jim Flaherty your Finance Minister of the year?

You see, Jim Flaherty argued that HIS wanton destruction of $35 billion in investor’s life savings was necessary because of the argument that income trusts caused “tax leakage” resulting in lost tax revenue to the government. If such was the case, then, why the election promise? If such was the case, then, why not simply grandfather existing trusts and prohibit the formation of new trusts? And if such was the case, where is the proof of such allegation in support of the government’s policy flip flop? Would it not be considered appropriate in a modern democratic society and advanced financial marketplace to produce proof of such a policy action that had such a profound monetary impact on $200 billion market for PUBLICLY listed and traded income trusts that were owned by over 2.5 million investors around the world and at home?

Instead the ONLY proof that Jim Flaherty, Euromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year for 2009, proferred up in his defense was 18 pages of blacked out documents.

What a complete farce on his part. A farce of democracy. A farce of disclosure. A farce of accountability.

In your selection of Jim Flaherty as Finance Minister of the Year, you have degraded the reputation of your publication and provided positive reinforcement of the conduct of an individual who exemplifies in spades all that was at the root cause of the global financial meltdown.

As if the damage to income trust investors wasn’t enough damage to have inflicted, this episode also demonstrates Jim Flaherty utter incompetence, as the phantom tax leakage that his policy was ostensibly intended to address, but which never existed, has now been CAUSED by his very actions. For more on this I suggest you Google the phrase “Deloitte report Income trust buyouts: Lots of activity, little tax revenue”

Should you wish verify any of the claims I have made in this letter against Jim Flaherty, I would suggest a good place to start would be to contact the Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, Michael Ignatieff, whose office number is: (613) 995-9364

I am sure he has other examples that demonstrate the ethical make up and professional comptetence of the person Euromoney has selected as their Finance Minister of the Year for 2009.

You might also be interested in reading some of the recent articles that I have published in the Canadians press during the past few months that are listed below and which are available on the internet and which provide additional insight into the harm caused by the recklessness and incompetence of Jim Flaherty. Euromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year for 2009.

Yours truly,

Brent Fullard
Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors

Why the Income Trust issue refuses to go away, by Brent Fullard. Hill Times
Which opposition leader will employ the mindset of Obama’s empirical President to Harper’s Imperial Prime Minister?, by Brent Fullard, Hill Times
No income, no trust, by Brent Fullard, Toronto Sun


Dr Mike said...

Well said Brent!!

When I first read about the award I kept wondering how incompetent must have been all the other nominees for Jim to win.

I guess if you look at the state of the world financially , that answers that question.

People forget this was the same guy who declared he left Ontario in a surplus when he exited as Fin Min , & he also declared as late as last fall that we would have surpluses for the next 5 years.

Let`s face it , he was chosen as our Finance Minister because he was the best of a bad lot---they had very little choice.

Our loss.

Dr Mike

Anonymous said...


As a writer claiming to be educated in financial matters and consequently writing articles informing the masses, then it seems to me you speak with a forked tongue.

This world financial crisis is a result of journalism such as yours. Promoting a proven fraudster and liar who controls the purse strings of the nation is complicity in the crime itself.

I was absolutely shocked to read this blatantly untrue article about Jim Flaherty and his financial shenanigans perpetrated on Canadians on behalf of the number one fraudster and liar Prime Minister Harper.

And you call yorself a journalist.
Google Diane Francis and you,ll see what a real journalist is and how they represent their profession in a professional manner.

Shame on you

This article is absolute garbage and you should hang your head in shame.