Friday, July 13, 2007

Flaherty Must Retract Income Trust Lie

John McCallum Responds to Jim Flaherty's quote in todays Packet and Times

For Immediate Release
July 13, 2007

Flaherty Must Retract Income Trust Lie

OTTAWA – Given that the RCMP has completely exonerated the Liberal government from any wrongdoing concerning income trusts, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty must immediately retract his utterly false claim that Liberals “leaked the information” that caused people to lose money in the stock market, Liberal Finance Critic John McCallum said today.

“Mr. Flaherty knows full well that the RCMP thoroughly investigated whether there was a breach of information, and completely exonerated the Liberal government,” said Mr. McCallum.

Mr. Flaherty is quoted in today’s Orillia Packet and Times commenting on the Liberal plan for income trusts saying:

"The Liberals had a plan to do precisely what we did … They then leaked the information. So, then people lost money on the stock exchanges in Canada due to their incompetence."

Mr. McCallum pointed to the RCMP’s own February 15, 2007, press release which says “the RCMP has conducted an exhaustive investigation.” He further noted that no one associated with the Liberal Party was charged with any wrongdoing and that the RCMP took the extraordinary step of saying that “the investigation into the income trusts matter is now concluded.”

“Mr. Flaherty and his government are rightfully facing a lot of anger from Canadians on their own handling of the income trust issue, but that doesn’t make it a right to lash out and lie about the Liberal government’s handling of this issue,” said Mr. McCallum. “There is a government that cost investors billions of dollars in income trust losses, but that is Mr. Flaherty’s own government.

“I know Mr. Flaherty is angry because Prime Minister Harper hung him out to dry by so brazenly breaking the election commitment not to tax income trusts, but that does not justify Mr. Flaherty deceitfully claiming that the Liberals had ever planned to do what the government did on income trusts or continue his party’s outrageous falsehoods against the Liberals when the RCMP has found the allegations are baseless,” said Mr. McCallum

Mr. McCallum noted that today’s comments were just the latest misstep by the Finance Minister. He listed other examples of Mr. Flaherty’s incompetence including:

• Declaring an end to all federal-provincial bickering while delivering a budget that ushered in the most intense period of fighting between the federal government and provinces in years;

• Being forced to amend his own budget provisions on interest deductibility; and,

• Signing an open letter in a Nova Scotia newspaper that led Premier Rodney Macdonald to break off discussions on Equalization.


Office of the Hon. John McCallum
MP for Markham-Unionville
(613) 996-3374

Flaherty defends income-trust tax; Following John McCallum's recent town-hall meeting in Orillia

Nathan Taylor / The Packet & Times
Friday, July 13, 2007 @ 07:00

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shot back last night at accusations Liberal finance critic John McCallum made while in Orillia recently.

During a town hall-style meeting Monday, McCallum attacked the Conservative plan to tax income trusts at 31.5 per cent. He then told of the Liberal plan for a 10-per-cent tax that would be refundable for Canadian residents.

The plan is not viable, Flaherty told The Packet & Times.

"The Liberals had a plan to do precisely what we did; they just didn't have the courage or the moxie to do it," he said. "They've had a plan not to tax income trusts. They've had a plan to tax income trusts fully. Now they've got a plan to tax income trusts at 10 per cent.
They don't know what they're doing.

"They operate as they usually do: from a crass political, perceived advantage, and then couldn't even do that well. They then leaked the information. So, then people lost money on the stock exchanges in Canada due to their incompetence."

It's the minister who doesn't know what he's doing, according to one Oro-Medonte Township man who said the decision to tax the trusts has affected him.

"I had about $110,000, and it dropped by about $40,000," Clem Neiman said of his energy trusts.

When the Conservatives took power, Neiman "bought more with the self-assurance that they wouldn't tax them" based on a campaign promise of the same intention.

"Minister Flaherty was over his head and bamboozled by bureaucracy," said the 80-year-old retired general practitioner, who served as Pierre Trudeau's campaign chair in the 1960s and considers himself a "small L" liberal.

Neiman said he doesn't have much to worry about, as he has other investments.

"I sold them and got the hell out. I took the loss," he said, but added "there are a lot of helpless people" who aren't as lucky.

Many senior citizens, for example.

"They tried to soften the blow by saying you can split retirement income. It was merely political pap," Neiman said.

Flaherty admitted a campaign commitment not to tax income trusts.

"It was a tough decision, But what we saw after we were elected was this dramatic increase not only in the number of conversions to the income trust, but (the rate) at which corporations were converting," Flaherty said, citing BCE and Telus. "If we hadn't acted on Oct. 31 last year, right now we would have many of the largest corporations and banks functioning as income trusts, which is a sedentary view."