Monday, December 31, 2007

If Don Martin's wishful reportage is to be believed

I was intrigued to learn today, that according to Don Martin of the National Post that Jim Flaherty is deserving of honorable mention for Best Cabinet Minister of the year, solely on the basis that Flaherty “seems to have finally put the income trust flip-flop behind him.”

The word “seems” suggests that Don Martin basis his proclamation on some evidence. If that’s the case, I am curious to know at what point in time this “behind him” event occurred, and what exactly was the watershed event that marked the point where the issue was put to rest. For example was the income trust issue resolved to everyone’s satisfaction at the point in time where Jim Flaherty bravely proclaimed that all the foreign takeovers induced by this policy was “not my fault”. Or did absolution occur when the Privacy Commissioner in the Department of Finance demanded that the 18 pages of blacked out evidence of tax leakage be returned? Perhaps the whole matter was put behind Flaherty when he promoted Mark Carney to become Governor of the Bank of Canada, against the wishes of the BoC Board, in order to provide Mark Carney with a form of immunity, since as Bank of Canada Governor we are told that Mark Carney can no longer comment on government legislation? If that’s the case, someone should have told his predecessor, who allowed himself and his office to be politicized on this matter at Flaherty’s behest.

Mr. Martin. I am curious to know at exactly what point and what precise event caused this issue to be “finally behind” and Flahery absolved and exonerated, since:

  • It most certainly isn’t “behind” the 2.5 million income trusts investors, who continue to have sustained a $35 billion loss in their hard earned retirement savings.
  • It most certainly isn’t “behind” the 300 US income trust investors, who have joined inn the Gottlieb lawsuit against the Canadian Government under the “detrimental reliance” provisions of NAFTA
  • It most certainly isn’t “behind” the Green Party of Canada, who have called for a public inquiry into alleged tax leakage.
  • It most certainly isn’t “behind” the Liberal Party of Canada, who put the following motion before the Finance Committee that reconvenes on January 28, 2008:
"That this committee as soon as possible launch an inquiry into the unproven allegation by the Finance Minister that income trusts result in a loss of tax revenue to Ottawa, in light of reports that 70% of all recent trust purchasers are tax-exempt, while individual Canadian investors lost tens of billions of dollars, and therefore pay less tax, as a result of the government trust decision."
None of this sounds very “behind” to my simple way of thinking. Please advise me of the basis for your thesis that this issue is now “behind” the Stephen Harper government as they will likely face the electorate in the coming year at which point they will face the wrath of betrayed Canadians. Or is it simply a matter of wishful reportage on your part, and you are the one who is behind the “behind”?

I would submit this issue is as alive as it has ever been, since the unintended negative consequences that many had been predicting since the very outset have now come home to roost in all their combinatorial glory, as evidenced by over $65 billion in trust tax related takeovers and the LOSS of taxes fro a policy whose very intent was the obverse outcome. In case Don Martin didn’t realize it, the largest takeout of them all, namely BCE is expected to be closing sometime early in the new year, at which point it will become abundantly obvious to all those whose heads aren’t firmly implanted in the sands of denial, that this takeover alone will cost Ottawa $793 million in forgone taxes ANNUALLY relative to had BCE been allowed to convert into a value maximizing, tax collection maximizing income trust to the betterment of all, save and except the management of BCE, who have learned are still establishing tax policy for Canada, while simultaneously maximizing their personal wealth. If Don martin is to be believed, all this is now officially behind us. After all, he said so. And in a manner totally consistent with the trust tax itself, namely, the complete absence of proof and with an abundance of evidence to the contrary