Save the apology Flaherty, since it’s as worthless as your word and as empty as your integrity. What Canadians are demanding of, is justification for your actions. Where is your proof of tax leakage, on which your reckless actions were ostensibly based? When will the paid elected members of the Official Opposition (Liberals) ever get off their collective asses and nail Flaherty for his lies and incompetence about the income trust fraud/fiasco?
Flaherty offers apology for income trust hurt
National Post ·
Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
I apologize that a lot of Canadians were affected, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said yesterday.
Jim Flaherty may have faced down the financial crisis, but he was forced on the defensive by a feisty senior yesterday at a policy conference, where he issued a public apology for the hardship inflicted by his decision to tax income trusts nearly four years ago.
"I apologize for the fact that it did affect a lot of Canadians, including you," the Finance Minister said in response to a question at the 79th annual Couchiching Conference from Sheila Whitzman, who called his Oct. 31, 2006, decision "a Halloween massacre."
Activists who have long opposed Mr. Flaherty's decision say it is the first time he has apologized in a public forum. Mr. Flaherty said he had been finance minister for only six months, "so it was probably a politically unwise thing to do -- certainly for me personally."
But he was unrepentent about the substance of the move that caused unit prices for all publicly listed income trusts to drop in the weeks after the sudden announcement. "It needed to be done, it wasn't going to get better....
"If you're in politics to be popular, you'll get a lot of bad government and the income trust rule was ruining our economy."
Critics point out that the Conservatives had campaigned during the 2006 election to leave the favourable tax structure for income trusts alone, and dispute the Department of Finance's calculation that the conversion to trust status was costing the country hundreds of millions of dollars in "tax leakage."
Ms. Whitzman said she saw her retirement savings sink 20% within days of the decision. "They assume people have forgotten and don't bear them a grudge. I choose not to forget. Still, he [Mr. Flaherty] spoke better than I expected and he was quite charming," she said.
Mr. Flaherty was at Couchiching to deliver the keynote address on the state of Canada's economy. While cautioning that Canada is "not out of the woods," he offered an upbeat assessment of the country's prospects. "The future is more hopeful than the treacherous past we have just lived through," he said, pointing out that Canada has recouped almost all the jobs it lost during the recession.
He categorized himself as a fiscal conservative but said he is also a pragmatist and defended the government's intervention in the economy over the past two years. "The role of government when the private sector fails is to intercede on behalf of the people of Canada.... It creates some difficulties with people insistent on ideological purity," he said.
New jobs numbers out yesterday ticked upward marginally by 0.1%, taking the unemployment rate back to 8% in July, after a particularly strong performance in June. The rate is still nearly 2% higher than October, 2008, largely because of an increase in the number of people in the labour force. When asked whether he was concerned about the possible adverse impact on employment of stimulus spending ending next spring, Mr. Flaherty said he was starting to see some signs of growing private-sector investment.
"Canada's economic action plan is a two-year plan and there has to be an exit strategy. It's time for the private sector to step up to the plate to resume strong investment and replace public-sector demand," he said.
The Couchiching Conference on public affairs at Geneva Park, on Lake Couchiching, is an annual event marking its 79th anniversary. This year's conference, entitled Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity, explores the global financial crisis and its consequences.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Posted by Brent Fullard at 1:42 PM