Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Circumstances changed. Yes, we learned that Harper is a sociopath

Image: Sign appearing in riding of Whitby-Oshawa during 2008 election

You may remember this line of “circumstances changed” as the throw away excuse that Stephen Harper employed when he reneged on his 2006 campaign promise to NEVER raid seniors’ next eggs by taxing income trusts...circumstances changed.

By that, Stephen Harper was referring to the twin announced conversions of Telus and BCE into income trusts. Those twin announcements would have been more accurately referred to as “cicumstances were contrived”, as it never was BCE’s intent to convert to an income trust, but rather to create a “faux crisis” that was fanned out of all proportion by BCE’s media arm, BCEGlobemedia (as it was then known, today known as CTVGlobemedia) as the second coming of Armageddon.

The notion that the conversion of either BCE of Telus into income trusts was going to be anything but a huge windfall of tax revenue for Ottawa, was made even more abundantly obvious to even the layperson by the fact that neither BCE nor Telus was paying a dime in taxes as corporations at the time and both were forecasting not being cash taxable for many years to come. Enter the shrill and corporately conflicted news media in Canada and black was turned into fear mongering white, and voila Harper had the excuse he needed to break his solemn election promise of 2006 and turned that one time solemn promise into a $35 billion hole in Canadians retirement savings, in the short span of nine months!

How much Harper knew at the time that he was being totally gamed by Michael Sabia, CEO of BCE, and others within the membership of the conniving CCCE, we will never know. I suspect that Harper had no clue that he was being so openly and obviously gamed by these scheming Bay Street interests, They played him like a fiddle, to the great detriment of all, Harper included, since Harper’s flip flop on the trust tax and the falsehood of tax leakage upon which it was based was like an anchor tied to his future political fortunes and probably explains 80% of why he failed to gain a majority government in 2008. I am very pleased to have played a role in coalescing support against Stephen Harper on this issue and helping to preclude him from forming a majority government.

But now, that same Stephen Harper is faced with a golden opportunity to relieve himself from not only a disastrous economic mistake of double taxing the retirement income from income trusts, but also from a disastrous political mistake as well, now that the Marshall Savings Plan is at hand. Harper need only realize that under today’s circumstances that things truly HAVE changed, as the idea that any government would implement a tax policy that would see its citizens lose $35 billion of their retirement savings in order to induce an outcome that sees billions less in taxes collected by the government, that induces foreign takeovers and the piling on of debt within these acquired companies, all for the sake of allowing corporate CEOs to carry on with their abusive tactics of the past as the inspiration for the policy on the one hand and to see the artificially inflated sales of synthetic and derivative products issued by the life insurance companies that were unable to weather the stress test of the Global Financial Meltdown on the other, is an absurdity.

The circumstances in this instance truly have changed. However this is not reason for me or anyone else to take any comfort whatsoever about what Harper will do in the face of the “brilliant” (as Diane Francis calls it) win win win solution known as the Marshall Savings Plan for inclusion in Budget 2010, because I am quite certain that Stephen Harper is a sociopath, incapable of feeling others pain and suffering and a person with no sense of morality whatsoever, as Stephen Harper long ago revealed what income trust investors greatest weakness is (mind you that was before CAITI came on the scene), as he was pandering to income trust investors and seniors about how he was going to be their saviour, when he revealed in a Freudian way what he himself was the one to exploit, rather than the Liberal per se, in writing:

“But it gets worse. Instead of immediately moving to assure markets that income trusts are here to stay, the Liberals are justifying their actions in the coldest political terms. As one government member was quoted in the media as saying about income trust investors, "They have no constituency. They don't count politically."

Questioning income trusts puts seniors at risk

By: Stephen Harper
National Post
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

On September 19, the Prime Minister acted recklessly when he ordered his Finance Minister, Ralph Goodale, to wade into the income-trust market like a proverbial bull in a china shop. On that day, investors were put on notice that their popular income trusts were going to be targeted by a Liberal government seeking higher tax revenues from companies and investors.

Martin's reckless action has caused uncertainty over the future of income trusts, and so has wiped out billions of dollars in market capitalization from Canadian companies and tens of thousands of dollars from the retirement nest eggs of individual investors. Most notable was the damage done to Canadian seniors who may not have the time to recoup their losses.

One couple e-mailed my party to complain that the uncertainty around income trusts caused by the Liberals' announcement trimmed $30,000 from their retirement portfolio in a single day. Another man wrote to tell us that he had lost 15% from his his portfolio.

Many seniors feel the government is putting their retirement at risk and have let Ottawa know. In a letter to the Finance Minister, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons said, "Seniors are actually enraged, frightened and panicked about potentially losing retirement savings that they count on for the essentials of daily living."

Income trusts are popular with seniors because they provide regular payments that are used by many to cover the costs of groceries, heating bills and medicine. They also provide tax relief from a government that is addicted to taking too much money from their pockets and spending it without care, and very often without meaningful results.

So one must ask, why is the government clamping down on the retirement savings of seniors and investors?

But it gets worse. Instead of immediately moving to assure markets that income trusts are here to stay, the Liberals are justifying their actions in the coldest political terms. As one government member was quoted in the media as saying about income trust investors, "They have no constituency. They don't count politically."

That kind of arrogance cannot go unanswered. There is just no justification for what amounts to a Liberal government attack on investors, and especially on seniors.

The government continues to overtax Canadians and run multi-billion dollar surpluses, yet their first instinct is to attack an investment vehicle that can make the difference between bare survival and a dignified retirement for millions of Canadians.

The government claims that income trusts enjoy an unfair tax advantage over corporate dividends. If they believe this, then the answer is not to shut down a valuable investment vehicle, but to cut the double taxation of dividends. In short, level the playing field and let the market decide between income trusts and dividend-paying companies.

As my party's finance critic, Monte Solberg, says, the success of income trusts represents a rare triumph for investors over the tax man. Let's not be so naive as to assume that the Liberals will do the right thing to protect taxpayers. We'll need to fight hard to keep what we have, and even harder to gain ground.

It's time to stand up to Paul Martin and stop his attack on seniors and investors


Anonymous said...

The Harper Conservatives have continued to lie to Canadians. They say one thing and do the other or they say nothing and do whatever they want. The bottom line is that Harper and the Conservatives are not forthcoming with how they will lead Canada and Canadians. They misuse and abuse the privileges that Canadians have given them to form a MINORITY government and with that they obfuscate/abuse/confuse or treat Canadians with disdain and disrespect. They are not my idea of a government chosen by Canadians for Canadians! They are little more than dictatorial autocrats and must go!

Dr Mike said...

Stephen Harper stomped across this country in the 2006 campaign telling everyone to invest in income trusts---those were his words not mine.

He told us they were vital for seniors to put groceries on the table & medicine in the cabinet.

He cursed the Liberals for even hinting at killing this investment class.

But "circumstances changed".

The problem was he didn`t bother to tell us that he no longer recommended trusts for our portfolios & that if we don`t sell , then we are bad investors.

Sorry Steve , but there was no memo , no phone call , no press release.

You stabbed us in the hearts.

"Circumstances changed".

What a freaking joke.

Too bad no one who invested is laughing even 3 1/2 years later.

Dr Mike Popovich

Anonymous said...

Steven Harper and the Fascist Contempt Party should be brought to court and be held accountable for their crimes. Their behaviour has been disgraceful, disgusting, offensive and destructive. A number of people should be going to prison... forever, and all of them should be receiving treatment for mental disorder. In this day and age it is shocking that sociopaths can form a government. Where are the police? Where are the health professionals? Where are the people who will keep Canada Canada?