Thursday, December 18, 2008

ABCP Smackdown: Mark Carney vs Jim Flaherty

CAITI Online Poll On Asset Backed Commercial Paper (ABCP) Bailouts.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney:

The response to the recent turbulence in financial markets should reaffirm that market participants are fundamentally responsible for their actions. For example, investors must understand the price dynamics and liquidity risks of the products they buy, rather than relying solely on credit-rating agencies. The market is beginning to lead many of the necessary changes, as institutions are improving their liquidity management and credit discipline and as originators and distributors of new loans are beginning to adjust their products to standardize terms and, importantly, align incentives. At the same time, accurate and timely information about underlying risks is essential for the market to differentiate and properly price risk. Thus, as Governor Dodge highlighted in September, enhanced disclosure and transparency remain crucial. Standing Committee on Finance December 5, 2007

In comments following an address to a business luncheon in Toronto on Wednesday, Mark Carney said the Canadian economy is strong enough to withstand the collapse of the massive restructuring, which has come under huge pressure as a result of the financial crisis. National Post December 17, 2008

Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty:

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in Saskatoon that he and some of his provincial counterparts are discussing a plea from the investor committee overseeing the restructuring for as much as $9.5-billion in backstop credit lines, but no decision had been made.

The fact that Mr. Flaherty is even considering the request is a significant development, given that until recently his position was hands-off. Globe and Mail December 18, 2008

BoC Governor Mark Carney said "There was not going to be any public money put behind any of this [ABCP rescue plan] because these are decisions of financial market participants." Jim Flaherty now proposes to rescue these same financial market participants.

88% think Harper's decision to suspend Parliament is undemocratic

Worse is that Mr. Harper continues to actively misrepresent the events of the past several weeks and the motives of his opponents. "We only found out [after the economic update] that they've been planning to overturn the results of the election ever since election night," he said. In fact, there is nothing to suggest that the opposition had any prior intention of toppling the government, and the disarray the Liberals quickly fell into suggests the prospect surprised them as much as anyone.

Nor would the opposition have been "overturning the results of the election," as Mr. Harper repeatedly alleged. Although a coalition government may be politically untenable, it would be entirely within the boundaries of parliamentary democracy - not a coup attempt, as the Conservatives continually claim. The Globe and Mail December 17, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ignatieff 57% Rae 27% Leblanc 16%

Looks like ongoing events mean the CAITI online Liberal leadership poll need modification.

The previous 3 way race results are here:

The 2 way race poll is active on the side menu.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Does this sound like anyone we've observed this week?

ICD-10 Criteria for Dissocial Personality Disorder - Wikipedia

   /dɪˈsoʊʃəl/ Spelled Pronunciation [di-soh-shuhl]
disinclined to or unsuitable for society; unsocial.

Origin: 1755–65; < LL dissociālis irreconcilable, equiv. to dis- dis- 1 + sociālis sociable

The dissocial personality disorder is described by the World Health Organization by the following criteria:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others and lack of the capacity for empathy.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt and to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Marked proneness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior bringing the subject into conflict.
  7. Persistent irritability.
Related? You decide:
PM partisan, passionate and profane - Toronto Star
Maybe Harper’s not as smart as we thought - Chronicle Herald

Friday, December 5, 2008

Conservatives scared into earlier action

Opposition parties force Conservatives to move up budget 2 months earlier

The intent of the Opposition was to help Canadians this winter with an economic stimulus package and they were partially successful.

The Conservatives did not plan to introduce any new measures to stimulate the economy until the next budget is tabled in March 2009. Flaherty says no economic stimulus package to come in economic update Nov 24, 2008
Why scaring the Conservatives into action is a good thing for Canada:
One of the key forecasters that the federal government depends on to crunch its budget numbers says Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's update last week would extend the country's recession and exacerbate the threat of deflation.

In last week's fiscal update, Mr. Flaherty argued that his previous tax cuts are stimulating the Canadian economy by about $31-billion - and that's why he didn't have to take additional measures right away, even though his own forecasts show the economy is set to contract this quarter and the first quarter of next year.

That's faulty math, counters the Centre for Spatial Economics, one of four firms the Department of Finance depends on to provide thorough economic forecasts upon which the government's budget track is based.

"This is a fantasy," said Robert Fairholm, the centre's director of economic forecasting. "Most of the short-term stimulus from these measures have already boosted economic activity, and so will not continue to provide [a] short-term jolt to growth."
Flaherty's plan prolongs the pain, forecaster says - Report alleges minister's math is flawed Heather Scoffield, Dec 4, 2008
Canadians lost 71,000 jobs in November – almost triple expectations – and the unemployment rate crept up to 6.3 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday. That's the biggest month of job losses since the recessionary period of 1982, and puts the unemployment rate at its highest point since November 2006. Canada loses most jobs in 26 years Heather Scoffield, Dec 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Pyrrhic victory

Conservatives say FU stands, Canadians can freeze in the dark until Jan 26

A Pyrrhic victory (IPA: /ˈpɪrɪk/) is a victory with devastating cost to the victor. Wikipedia

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has won a bid to suspend parliament, blocking an opposition attempt to topple his new government. The governor general agreed to Mr Harper's request, unprecedented in the country, after talks. If the request had been rejected, he would have had to step down or face a confidence vote he was sure to lose. Canada halts parliament amid row - BBC

The main opposition Liberals agreed Dec. 1 to form a coalition with the New Democratic Party in a bid to accelerate a stimulus package for the economy and oust the Harper government. The separatist Bloc Quebecois wouldn’t be part of the government though agreed to help it pass any legislation deemed matters of confidence. All three opposition leaders say they’re still committed to defeating Harper when Parliament resumes. Harper Suspends Canada Parliament to Avert Defeat - Bloomberg News

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shut down parliament, sparing himself from a no-confidence vote that he was likely to lose. Canadian PM Shuts Down Parliament to Avoid No-Confidence Vote - Voice of America

So how did we get here? The answer depends on your perspective.

In a simplistic reading, our present situation is a direct result of what happened last Thursday. That day, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stood in the House of Commons and delivered his government’s fiscal and economic update. Presented as a national plan at a time of profound economic crisis, it included promises to eliminate subsidies to political parties, tamper with the public service’s right to strike, and fiddle with the system through which women are able to seek equal pay for their work.

It seemed designed only to corner the opposition. So challenged, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois found themselves with common cause and interest. Enter the coalition. And under threat of forced exit, the Prime Minister retreated to Rideau in search of reprieve.

That is the short version.

In the longview, it is the latest chapter in what is now an epic and troubling story.

In-and-Out. Chuck Cadman. Afghanistan. Torture. Linda Keen. Arthur Carty. Marc Mayrand. Dalton McGuinty. InSite. Listeriosis. Crime. Science. Academia. Elections Canada. Omar Khadr. Gordon O’Connor. Maxime Bernier. Canadian soldiers. The Military Police Complaints Commission. The ethics committee. The press gallery. CAIRS. Access to information. The federal budget. The economy. The recession.

The emblem of this government has become a furious male face screaming indignation in the arena of our democracy. At every turn, the response has been to obfuscate, manipulate and demonize. Everything has been opportunity to divide. Truth has been tangential. Ethics and morals have been deemed quaint. The Game has superseded all. Short-term political advantage is all that’s mattered. Nothing worth doing if it is not in one’s own personal interest. The Commons: A cold and miserable day - Aaron Wherry, Macleans

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Harper explained in 4 minutes or less

The past and future tense - Aaron Wherry, Macleans
‘A lot of fear and anger and hatred’ - Aaron Wherry, Macleans

It's time for Harper to move aside

Orillia Packet and Times

December 3, 2008

Letter to the editor:

It would appear that Canada will soon have the centre-left, progressive government that the overwhelming majority of Canadians, 62 per cent to be exact, voted for in the recent election. Despite the protests and laments of the Conservatives, who earned only 38 per cent of the vote, this change in government is indeed democratic, constitutional and fair. It is also in the best interests of Canadians.

This is happening due to the abject failure of Stephen Harper and his government to develop an acceptable plan for our faltering economy. Instead of providing economic leadership, the Harper government took advantage of the economic crisis to advance partisan and ideological interests. The good of Canadians had nothing to do with their plans, when now, more than ever, we need a government focused on what's best for the country.

Most economists have been calling for an economic stimulus, yet the fall economic statement contained $4.3 billion in cuts. This is frighteningly reminiscent of the myopic government austerity that escalated the 1929 recession into a prolonged depression.

Furthermore, the Conservatives are misleading Canadians. Their claim that Canada remains in a surplus position is simply not credible and, even while claiming they prepared for the economic crisis, they say that nobody could have seen it coming. Canada needs economic action, clarity and certainty.

Harper says the coalition is a power grab, yet he believes he is entitled to continue to govern, no matter how poorly, even if he has lost the confidence of the House of Commons. The Conservatives were elected with a minority of seats and an even smaller share of popular support. Now they have lost the moral authority to govern and, fortunately for Canadians, they can be replaced with a legitimate new government without going through another election only eight weeks after the last one.

It is perfectly normal in our system of parliamentary democracy for the Governor General to call upon the Opposition to form a new government, without holding another election, when it can be demonstrated that the new government would be stable and supported by the majority of members of the House of Commons. Harper knows this. That's why he wrote to the Governor General in 2004 to ask her to consider the same kind of arrangement when it was in his favour.

Now it is time to move on and start fresh with this coalition government. Harper must stop equating his party's interests with the interests of Canada. He knows he no longer has the confidence of the House of Commons and can no longer govern. He should be magnanimous and step aside, but I fear that his partisan impulses will, once again, get in the way of doing what is right for Canadians.

Gerry Hawes


Friday, November 28, 2008

FU from JF

Where is the support Jim?

Flaherty's instinct to cut out of step with world

As the rapidly worsening global recession pushes governments around the world to step up spending, Ottawa's first official response is to cut back.

The fiscal update presented yesterday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will suck $6-billion out of the economy next year. Heather Scoffield, Globe and Mail

Professors give Flaherty a failing mark

Desai said there must be across-the-board spending on infrastructure that has been systematically dismantled in Canada for 20 years. She argued the Harper government allowed partisanship to trump doing what was right for the country.

The Economic Forum has argued for massive economic stimulus, largely by investing in the country's infrastructure. Instead, Flaherty offered what McMaster University economist Atif Kubursi called the "window dressing" of minor changes in pension rules, previously announced tax cuts and selling as-yet-undetermined public assets. Linda Diebel, The Toronto Star

Harper plays chess… while Rome burns

The real outrage of yesterday’s economic “update” is not that it seeks to impose on most parliamentarians a change to funding rules that most of them would never ordinarily accept; it’s that it accomplishes nothing else. It’s that in the most dangerous economic times Canada has faced in 20 years if not far longer, this prime minister can’t wipe the smirk off his face and grow up a little. Paul Wells, Macleans

The Commons: Gaming the system

First Dion, then Duceppe, then Layton with a crescendo. “Mr. Speaker, later today Canadians are going to be looking for bold leadership and dramatic and immediate action. They are going to be looking to see EI reform. They want to see strong action to protect their pensions. They want to see credit guarantees for businesses that are on the edge. The jobs of those workers are on the edge literally this afternoon. Canadians want to see investments in infrastructure to create work,” he cried.

His caucus rose to cheer, his voice swelled to yell over them. “Instead of an immediate stimulus package to attack the recession, the government is apparently going to attack democracy,” he continued, the Conservative benches clucking at this. “I ask the Prime Minister how such an attack is going to create one job or protect one pension?” Aaron Wherry, Macleans

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quotes then and now: Harper, Flaherty

Canwest News Service

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Then and now quotes comparing what Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said during and after the campaign for the Oct. 14 election about recession and a deficit.

"This country will not go into recession next year and will lead the G7 countries."
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Oct. 10)

"If you don't want a carbon tax and tax increases and a deficit and recession, the only way to ensure that is the case is to vote for the Conservative party."
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Oct. 12)

"We may well be in a technical recession."
- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (Nov. 23)

"The most recent private-sector forecasts suggest the strong possibility of a technical recession at the end of this year and beginning of next."
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Nov. 23)

"I know economists will say well, we could run a small deficit but the problem is that once you cross that line as we see in the United States, nothing stops deficits from getting larger and larger and spiralling out of control."
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Oct. 6)

"We will not run a deficit."
- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (Oct. 9)

"If we do short-term deficit spending as a deliberate policy we will have to be able to demonstrate to Canadians that those deficits will genuinely be short term."
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Nov. 15)

"The government of Canada today is not planning a deficit. But if the government of Canada decides . . . that we do have to engage in fiscal stimulus, that government spending is essential not just to shore up economic activity but investment markets, that would be the occasion we would go into what would be called a cyclic or a short-term deficit."
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Nov. 23)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Are they still dancing in the hallways at Bell?

October 31, 2006:

The response to the surprise Trust tax announcement by Conservative Finance Minister Flaherty was remarkably different at Canada's two Telcos.

At Telus headquarters in Vancouver, where it was still midafternoon, the reaction was disbelief.

In Montreal, the mood was decidedly more upbeat. Sources said BCE's Mr. Sabia was a reluctant convert to the trust model, and “there was dancing in hallways at Bell” after Ottawa's announcement. Globe and Mail

CAITI articles on BCE

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nothing for seniors in throne speech

The Gazette

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A chilling document utterly lacking in compassion, the throne speech might well have been written by another prime minister from Calgary, a lawyer, R.B. Bennett. This one was written by an economist from Calgary, Stephen Harper.

Millions or billions hinted for the auto industry but not a smidgen of help or rescue for Canada's pensioners who are forced to sell their savings in a plunging market (the subject of at least two excellent articles in The Gazette's Business pages last week).

John Diefenbaker ended 22 years of Liberal rule in this country in 1957 when he branded the Liberals "the six-buck boys" after they raised pensions by that amount over five years.

His spirit is dead in the Tory party of today.

Edward W. Barrett


Seniors caught in the RRIF trap deserve a break from Ottawa

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can you afford to trust a Conservative government with your retirement savings?

"We are not facing a deficit," Flaherty said after a speech to the Canadian Association of New York at the New York Yacht Club. Jim Flaherty April 24, 2008

"If we have to run a deficit, we'll run a deficit."
Jim Flaherty November 19, 2008

Conservatives drained coffers: Watchdog

Budget officer Kevin Page concluded the federal Conservatives are likely to run budget deficits "in the near term," possibly beginning this year, and that the fault lies as much with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as it does with the weak economy. Page's report projects a budget deficit of $3.9 billion in 2009-10. But it adds that, if the economic downturn proves worse than expected, next year's federal deficit could hit $14 billion.

Canadians have lost billions because of bad Conservative policy. None of this is new. October 8, 2007


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Flaherty deserves to be fired as finance minister

The Cornwall Standard Freeholder
November 19, 2008

If Finance Minister Jim Flaherty worked in the private sector he would have been fired long ago.

First he blew away a $12 billion surplus left by the previous government which always built surpluses to take care of a rainy day. The rainy day is here, big time, and we are about to go into deficit, if not there already. Prior to the election Mr. Flaherty guaranteed there would be no deficit during his watch. He and Prime Minister Harper admitted, after the fact and under pressure, that his government knew there were major economic problems in the world but our economy was in such good shape and our banks were so solid, Canada would be pretty well insulated against many of the problems. Now they're admitting, not that they were wrong, but that we probably will be in deficit shortly and they have now joined the bank rescue parade, twice -- but it's not their fault

When Mr. Flaherty listened to bad advice and killed the income trust market, for no proven reason, he started an avalanche of unforeseen consequences. Trust values plunged, building up tremendous capital gain losses that individuals, companies and funds will use to write off against gains resulting in a huge future tax loss for the government in the years to come. More tax losses will be added when retirees take less money from their RRIFs due to trust value loss. Many trusts were bought out by foreigners and pension funds, neither of whom pays tax.\

BCE will soon be off the market, bought out by the teachers pension fund. The billions of tax dollars lost could, right now, be providing a surplus cushion of at least $3 billion and more. The future lost billions are in the double digit. Now we hear that our Canada Pension fund has lost billions Would you keep this man on in your company as your controller or treasurer?

Vernon Holt, Cornwall

Thursday, November 6, 2008

mike watkins dot ca : Flaherty's Fiscal Fumbles

"FFF - Flaherty's Fiscal Fumbles - destined to become a regular feature. Today's installment: Flaherty's moves have only enabled more corporate tax avoidance." Mike Watkins dot ca

Recently a $13 billion dollar deal concluded, allowing Teck to buy the remaining shares of Fording Canadian Coal Trust. Despite all the talk of the on-going credit crunch, the overly generous moves by the Bank of Canada and Flaherty's Ministry of Finance have made it possible for banks to work with Teck to obtain the necessary financing and conclude the deal.

No new jobs will be created through this transaction. There is no net benefit to Canada.

Yet Canadian taxpayers are footing a big chunk of the bill, by providing a taxpayer-backed credit backstop, and through being shafted as Teck avoids paying a $4 billion dollar tax bill as a result of this transaction.

While this exercise in tax avoidance plays out under our very noses, lets think back to the last time tax avoidance was a subject in vogue in Conservative politics in Canada.

On October 31st, 2006 Jim Flaherty, then and now the Conservative Minister of Finance, announced that Income Trusts would in the future be subjected to new taxation. The move was particularly controversial as the Conservatives had campaigned only months earlier in part on a promise to leave the income trust sector alone.

The aftermath, dubbed the Halloween Massacre, saw the income trust market plummeting on the news, erasing billions in market value in the weeks to follow. Small and large investors alike, including many of Canada's pension plans, were significantly impacted by the on-going turmoil. Now more than two years later, many still feel betrayed.

Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty's volte-face on trusts was defended as a sign their government was serious about fairness in taxation. Flaherty said trust conversion was "a growing trend to corporate tax avoidance". From a CBC News article:

By some estimates, the federal and provincial governments stand to lose as much as $1 billion annually in tax revenue to trusts. There are now more than 250 income trusts in Canada.

Trust conversions are increasing in popularity because trusts do not pay corporate tax. Instead, they pay out most of their income in distributions to unitholders, who then pay tax on those distributions.

Flaherty said that situation could not be allowed to continue. "This trend has caused me growing concern," he said. "It's not right and it's not fair."

Bringing both pieces of the puzzle together:

  • In October 2006 Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty closed what he called a "loophole" that companies could exploit to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, a loss to taxpayers controversially estimated at the time at $1 billion a year.
  • In fall 2008 that same finance minister, backed by Stephen Harper appointed Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada, enabled Teck Cominco to avoid paying $4 billion in corporate taxes.

Flaherty's Fiscal Fumble has cost Canadian taxpayers at least $4 billion in avoided corporate taxes plus we are even footing part of the bill which makes this deal possible in the first place.

The deal smells so bad that even those in financial circles are fuming about it.

Courtesy of Mike Watkins dot ca

Fording tax avoidance deal poses questions

Friday, October 31, 2008

Deficit Jim gets thumbs down

Think-tank slams Ottawa for 'imprudent budgeting'

Eric Beauchesne , Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, October 31, 2008

OTTAWA - The federal Conservative government abandoned prudent budgeting just when it was needed, an economic think-tank involved in helping this and previous Liberal governments prepare their budget projections charged Friday.

Not only did the government, against the advice of private sector economists, eliminate the annual multi-billion dollar cushion against the impact of an unexpected economic slump in the last budget but has let spending get out of control as well, Global Insight said in one of the most damning analyses to date of the current government's handling of its finances. MORE...

Cabinet change was needed in finance: Ignatieff

Updated Fri. Oct. 31 2008 8:45 AM ET News Staff

Liberal party deputy leader Michael Ignatieff said the government doesn't have a grasp of the gravity of the situation.

He said it's difficult to trust Flaherty.

"Before the election he kept saying 'No problem, everything's fine, we're not going into deficit.' When the storm hit during the election they said 'Everything's fine, no big problems.' Now they're aware, now they're fessing up that in fact we're going through the most serious economic crisis in 30 years -- and putting Mr. Flaherty in there is saying basically our economic policy is just fine," Ignatieff told Canada AM. MORE...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Give Jim Flaherty the boot

Brent believes that his first duty is to the hardworking people of Whitby-Oshawa. He will fight for:

• JOBS: a healthy automotive sector means keeping skilled jobs in Whitby-Oshawa, and that's good for everyone. That's why the Liberal Party announced its $1-Billion Advanced Manufacturing Prosperity Fund to support major investments in manufacturing and R&D facilities.

Brent has already secured a committment from the Liberal Party to the terms agreed to on September 7, 2008 that will see General Motors invest $290 million in both Oshawa and the St. Catharines transmission plant.

As part of this important agreement, GM will build a gasoline-electric hybrid version of a mid-size model at its car plant in Oshawa in 2010 and invest a minimum of $40 million to transform engineering facilities in the city to focus on development of environmental technology over five years.

• COMMUNITY: a stong community is the basis of a strong economy. Building and maintaining a vibrant community takes money for infrastructure. Not just roads and hydro, but well-funded schools, community centers, and after-school programs.

• INVESTMENT: Brent's long and successful career in the Investment Capital industry gives him a unique advantage. He has the experience and the skill-set to promote capital investment in Whitby-Oshawa's economy.

Together we can make Whitby-Oshawa into a thriving example of the Canadian spirit — a community dedicated to honest work, a better environment for our children, and hope for the future.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vote strategically to block Tories, May says

Last Updated: Sunday, October 12, 2008 | 3:52 PM ET

The Canadian Press

Green voters should cast their ballots strategically in about 60 ridings to prevent a Conservative majority, party leader Elizabeth May said Sunday.

"There's no question" that there are ridings where voters should vote either NDP or Liberal to avoid a Conservative win, she said.

She suggested there may be 20 per cent of the 308 ridings, or about 60, where Green voters may wish to vote strategically.

She didn't name the ridings, but three Nobel Prize-winning climate change scientists are specifically urging Green voters to defeat Conservatives in 50 close Ontario seats. Those ridings could decide the election.

May said that in the vast majority of ridings, especially those where Green candidates have a chance of winning, Green voters should remain loyal to the party.

At the outset of the campaign, May was criticized by some Green party members for not stating categorically that Green voters should stick with their party, regardless of possible outcomes.

"Vote for Environment" picks Brent Fullard in Whitby-Oshawa

"Vote for Environment" picks Brent Fullard in Whitby-Oshawa

Candidates for Whitby-Oshawa

  • David Purdy, New Democratic Party
  • Brent Fullard, Liberal Party of Canada
  • Jim Flaherty, Conservative Party of Canada
  • Yvonne Forbes, Christian Heritage Party of Canada
  • Doug Anderson, Green Party of Canada
Our Pick

Brent Fullard, Liberal Party of Canada

This is a crucial riding for the environment. Former Mike Harris cabinet member Jim Flaherty won by only 3,412 votes. The NDP and Greens took just over 10,000 votes. It will be a tough race because the Liberal candidate has not run before. We strongly recommend voting for Liberal candidate Brent Fullard.

Please tell your friends to vote smart!

Canadians care, Harper doesn't.

Richer, Fairer, Greener:
An Action Plan for the 21st Century

Friday, September 26, 2008

Connors Bros. sell itself to private equity


C'mon up to Jim Flaherty's Great Canadian Giveaway Sale. Everything Must Go! - CAITI ad, April 4, 2007

"Private Equity found a very difficult environment for about a year and a half with the Income Trust market. The Income Trust market bid up all sorts of properties and it was very difficult for private equity to compete. With the change in the tax laws coming down the pike, opportunities are out there again and we are seeing a lot of deals. The environment has now turned quite good, not particularly good for Income Trusts, but good for Private Equity."
Richard Schmeelk CAI Private Equity, New York, Sept 25, 2007

"It's the law now" Jim Flaherty, Sept 2, 2008

Connors Bros. canned-fish trust units jump on news of private equity takeover

TORONTO — Connors Bros. Income Fund units (TSX:CBF.UN) gained more than 30 per cent Friday - rising to near their level a year ago - after an American private equity group struck a deal to take over the fish-canning trust.

Centre Partners Management LLC, with offices in Manhattan and Los Angeles, has signed a deal to buy the Connors Bros. businesses for $8.50 per unit, a total of $437.5 million.

Connors Bros. units, which had closed at $6.23 Thursday before the agreement was announced, rose $2.02 to $8.25 in morning trading.

Units in the trust, whose brands include Bumble Bee, Clover Leaf and Brunswick, traded as low as $4.55 in March after tumbling from the $11 level in mid-2007 amid a botulism food-poisoning recall at its Castleberry's canned-meat subsidiary in the U.S.

Connors Bros. sold Castleberry's last week to Hanover Foods for an undisclosed price.

The deal with Centre Partners, subject to unitholder approval, allows Connors Bros. 45 days to seek a better offer.

Connors Bros. Income Fund Announces Sale of Business

Monday, September 22, 2008

Who do you believe?


The "economist"?

"I should point out to you that the trusts have largely regained their market value over the past couple of years. But that will certainly not be the case when we have a Liberal government raising taxes, raising spending and driving our economy into deficit and recession," Stephen Harper, September 22, 2008

The portfolio manager?

Leslie Lundquist, a portfolio manager for Bissett Income Fund said the tax leakage argument never washed with her, because unitholders in income trusts pay income tax on those investments to the federal government. "I think you could argue that having a public market for income trusts, in fact, increases tax revenues at the end of the day, not decreases them."

Or the tax lawyer?

Tax lawyer Ross Freeman called the proposed change by the Liberals a "step forward. I was never one who believed that income trusts posed the threat to the federal treasury that they [Conservatives]were concerned about," said Freeman, with Borden Ladner and Gervais LLP’s Calgary office. "I think they were actually good for business and hence created more revenue for the government. I’m glad to hear that at least one party, the Liberals, think that was the case."

Perpetuating the Big Lie

Stephen Harper's proof - 18 blacked out pages

Harper vows to keep income trust tax

Mon Sept 22, 2008 11:55am EDT

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper ruled out any reversal of his government's surprise decision in October 2006 to impose a tax on distributions from income trusts, which had become popular investment vehicles.

Harper, campaigning before the October 14 general election, told reporters in Ottawa on Monday that the Conservative government was "forced" to change the income trust rules because corporations were increasingly converting to the tax-sheltered structure, avoiding tax payments to Ottawa.

The main opposition Liberal Party said on Monday that, if it forms the next government, it would replace the planned 31.5 percent tax with a smaller 10 percent rate. Its tax would be refundable for Canadian residents, leaving foreign investors to pay it, and the party projected the tax would bring in C$1 billion in revenue over four years.

But Harper suggested that the other political parties would come to the same conclusion the Conservatives did: changing the tax structure was necessary to stabilize the market.

"Any party that is suggesting it will reverse that is not telling the truth. They will find, and they know just as we knew, that they will have to reverse course," Harper said.

The Conservatives shocked market participants with the Halloween 2006 announcement of the new rules, and market activity that had been driven by income trusts screeched to a stop.

Two of Canada's biggest corporations, telecoms companies Telus Corp and BCE Inc, halted plans to convert into trusts, the Canadian initial public offering market dried up, and BCE has since agreed to be acquired by a private-equity consortium.

Harper also said the government created "very generous" transition arrangements.

"We've allowed income trusts to double in size in the transition period and those taxes actually don't come into effect until 2011, so no income trust has in fact paid any tax," he said.

Liberals vow to scrap tax on trusts - Globe and Mail

An autopsy of the Telus - BCE deal. How the Harper government favoured Private Equity and turned it's back on Canadian investors.

The environment has now turned quite good for Private Equity

The Conservatives have committed the biggest blunder I've seen in 42 years of business involvement - Seymour Schulich, September 11, 2007

Friday, September 19, 2008

We're open! Campaign Website launched

Brent Fullard invites Canadians from Whitby-Oshawa and all regions of Canada to join his fight against Jim Flaherty and the Conservative government’s dismal mismanagement of the country’s finances.

Visit our website at

Campaign Office

For more information, to volunteer or to request a lawn sign, call or drop by - we'd love to meet you.

1540 Dundas Street E.
Whitby, ON L1N 2K7

Phone: 905-665-3203
Fax: 905-665-7762


Find us on Google Maps

Canadians from all regions of Canada can donate to Brent's campaign, not just residents of Whitby-Oshawa. Make a difference in Canada's future, make a contribution to Brent's effort today.

What you can do to help:

  • Volunteer! click here
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Medical journal demands inquiry

16 dead in listeriosis outbreak. '100-per-cent avoidable and unnecessary'

Canwest News Service

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Canada's top medical journal is calling for a full-scale public inquiry into the listeriosis outbreak, saying the independent investigation promised by Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be "inferior to every epidemic inquiry in recent Canadian history."

The Canadian Medical Association Journal says that in August, Canada experienced the worst epidemic of listeriosis in the world. As of last night, contaminated cold cuts had killed at least 16 Canadians from among 43 confirmed cases of listeriosis.

Also yesterday, New Brunswick's Health Department issued a statement saying that the death of elderly woman in that province has also been linked to the outbreak.

"Already the death toll is more than double that of the notorious (E. coli) outbreak in Walkerton, Ont.," according to an editorial released ahead of print yesterday. And because listeriosis can remain dormant for two to three months, "the deaths, illnesses and other effects such as spontaneous abortions may not be over yet."

The journal is demanding a public inquiry into the "major failings" of Canada's food inspection system on the same scale as those for the tainted blood scandal, Walkerton and the SARS epidemic, saying Canadians "should settle for nothing less."

"The fact is, this outbreak was 100-per-cent avoidable and unnecessary," says editorial board member Amir Attaran, Canada research chair in law, population health and global development policy at the University of Ottawa.

"If your food supply is safe and free of listeria, no one is going to get listeriosis out of eating the food. It's as simple as that."

The journal says the federal government's lax standards on listeria and a decision to transfer inspection duties for ready-to-eat meats from government inspectors to the meat industry "helped bring about this epidemic.

"Yet surprisingly, government has taken no remedial steps beyond issuing a food recall. Instead, officials praise the success of our infectious disease surveillance system - as if, with 16 dead, there were cause to celebrate - while food safety standards remain as low as ever."

"It is not a policy success to say we detected a bad food processing plant because there's the corpse that proves it," Attaran said in an interview.

The government has also handed self-inspection to the operators of animal feed mills and cut back on avian flu preparedness, he says.

Bad animal feed containing recycled animal tissue led to the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalitis, or mad cow disease, while an influenza pandemic could kill "tens of thousands of Canadians."

"Listeriosis pales in comparison. Overall, it would seem that, as a country, Canada is far less prepared now for epidemics than in the past," the journal says.

Attaran said the independent investigation promised by Harper would be closed to public participation and that, according to the terms of references, the investigator won't have the power to subpoena witnesses or documents.

"It's not clear who the so-called judge would be. It's absolutely clear there are no public hearings planned, no opportunity for the public to comment or give evidence or ask questions," Attaran said.

"There is not going to be a public report published at the end, and there's no commitment that the report will be made public to Canadians at large or even to parliament.

"It seems to us at the journal very clear that what this exercise represents is an attempt to neutralize what's fairly obvious government responsibility for this outbreak, but also to neutralize it in a way that will never let the public know precisely what went wrong."

Listeriosis is the least of it - Canadian Medical Association Journal

Families angry about Ritz's listeriosis jokes

Thursday, September 18, 2008

There's just no talking to Jim Flaherty (for outsiders)

By: John Stewart,
Photo by: Bitpicture

September 18, 2008 08:14 AM - Canada's high-profile federal finance minister is coming to Mississauga South in the heat of an election campaign for a private fundraising function that will be held tonight.

Jim Flaherty is the guest of honour tonight at a fundraising reception at Port Credit's Waterside Inn for Mississauga South Conservative candidate Hugh Arrison. Guests are paying $250 ($100 for students) to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and light refreshments and for the chance to meet the minister. The event runs from 7:30-9 p.m.

"People have told us they don't want cameras and the media there and we have to listen to the people coming to the event," said Dave Brown, Arrison's campaign manager. If the campaign organizers had their way, the reception would likely be open to the media, Brown added. It was scheduled before the federal election was called.

The campaign manager indicated many riding association members are adamant that the focus should be on those who paid to attend the event.

Brown was not sure yesterday whether there would even be a photo opportunity for the local press.

Flaherty's appearance has special interest in Mississauga because he and Mayor Hazel McCallion have engaged in a running verbal battle over McCallion's insistence that the federal government has failed to provide needed funding for cities in general, and municipal infrastructure in particular.

In this corner, a Tory minister wearing blinders - Toronto Star

Dion promises $70B infrastructure boost -

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Durham a gritty battleground

Urban sprawl changing political face

By Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun
Photosource: tonyleah

On the first full day of campaigning, Jim Flaherty was testifying at the Louisiana trial of a stockbroker who threatened to kill him and his three sons over his decision to end the tax holiday for income trusts.

The same theme of investor betrayal has followed him to his home riding of Whitby-Oshawa where the Liberal Party nominated the head of the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors/Taxpayers as its candidate.

And to cap off his rough week, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion went postal over the sad state of federal support for cities, putting Flaherty, as the GTA voice of the Conservative Party, in the direct line of fire.

Still Flaherty battles on, rejecting the anti-urban allegations.

"I think there's a lot of noise, quite frankly, by Mayor (David) Miller saying we don't help cities," Flaherty said in an interview this week. "But if they actually look at the facts ... this government is a major help to cities, including making the gas tax sharing permanent because that gives the cities, including, of course, the City of Toronto, the opportunity for long-term planning.

"And the mayor of Montreal told me it was the most important item we could do in the budget this year ... he appreciates it even if Mayor Miller doesn't," he said.

It was a difficult start for Flaherty, one of four Conservative incumbents fighting to retain seats in Durham Region -- a vast, 2,950-square-km tapestry of cities, hamlets, farms and cottage country east of Toronto.

By GTA standards, it has been fertile territory for the Harperites, although two of the ridings -- Ajax-Pickering and Pickering Scarborough-East -- are held by Liberals.

Election observers are watching to see what happens to Flaherty, the closest Conservative MP to Toronto, and to Conservative MP Colin Carrie in Oshawa who has drawn heat over his position on waterfront development in that community.

His opponents -- Liberal Sean Godfrey and NDP Mike Shields -- are hoping to capitalize on the situation.

Premier Dalton McGuinty's high profile support of the auto sector -- and his pointed references to the lack of a federal "partner" in his endeavours -- hasn't helped Conservative fortunes in the hard-hit town, either.

No surprise that there was a last minute, pre-election announcement by the Harper government to broker a $290 million investment by GM and to invest up to $80 million in Ford Canada.

In Whitby-Oshawa, Flaherty, known for keeping the home fires burning, will be looking for a political payoff for his local largesse -- which includes a new university, the proposed Hwy. 407 extension and the promised train between Peterborough and Union Station.

The riding is changing as new suburbs grow out of corn fields, bringing residents with Toronto sensibilities into the voting mix.

New Canadians are also settling into the area, bringing their own priorities with them.

While Flaherty has so far withstood the Liberal juggernaut that is the 416 and increasingly the 905, he took his federal riding last time less impressively than expected for a politician known for delivering big-time locally.

His losing battles with McGuinty over corporate tax rates in Ontario didn't do him any political favours, either.

Still, Flaherty says his Liberal opponent this time around is a one-issue candidate parachuted into the community and known for having expressed "extremist" comments.

Brent Fullard, a former executive managing director for BMO Nesbitt Burns and founder of the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors/Taxpayers, said he does have roots in the community having worked in the auto manufacturing sector in Oshawa.

The issues facing Whitby-Oshawa, however, are similar in many respects to those across the country, he said.

"Do we have a transparent, open and accountable government? Are we being governed by principles or are we being governed by politics? This very election is being brought to Canadians at the cost of ... $300 million because Harper wanted (an election), for his reasons. We had three by-elections that were one day away from being finished. For me, that's not my version of democracy.

"This is a man who committed by law to not have an election until a fixed election date and then we find out there's some fine print there. So I consider Stephen Harper to be Stephen 'Loophole' Harper," he said.

For two years, Fullard has campaigned on behalf of Canadians who were promised by the Harper government that income trusts would not be taxed only to have Flaherty suddenly announce the opposite.

"I'm not going to Whitby-Oshawa to hold Jim Flaherty responsible for the truck plant shutting down because that's preposterous because that's not his fault ... but I will blame him for the long litany of things that are his fault and I'm going to hold him to account in his riding," Fullard said.

Fullard sent out e-mails in 2007 that drew comparisons between Harper and Adolph Hitler, comments he withdrew as a newly-minted candidate.

"What prompted me to say those inappropriate things that I've now apologized for was when I opened up the (newspaper) in April and I find that the Conservatives are in the name of ethnic outreach programs going around and profiling in every riding in this country people by way of their race, their ethnicity and their religion ... that is so near to the act of discrimination," Fullard said. "I am an extreme candidate insofar as I'm an extremely committed individual to ensuring that truth be told by governments, and that accountability actually means accountability."

The local issue for Fullard is the economy, and he says a Liberal government is fully prepared to follow through on the promises of the Conservative government to invest in GM and Ford.

"And so a Liberal government has made the same commitment as has been agreed to by the Conservatives, and the operative question is -- whose promise are you more apt to rely on?" Fullard said.

The dramatic loss of manufacturing jobs is a pressing issue for all Durham ridings.

The pain is beginning to be felt even in the well-tended streets of Durham surburbia.

Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson points out the region's social services costs are climbing accordingly.

"I think the government, whichever government's elected, has to get back into social housing," Anderson said. "There's a huge demand across the 905. There's no money. We have a capital repair bill of well over a couple of million dollars that we can't afford that was given to us by the provincial and federal governments."

Anderson also cites the need to unravel the knot that is the 60,000 acres of land set aside for 30 years for the Pickering Airport, which never got off the ground. The issue has vexed politicians and divided locals, some seeing the land as a unique opportunity to preserve green and agricultural lands and others salivating over the vast development potential.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Help Brent Fullard and the Liberals clean up Flaherty's financial mess

Support Brent now. Click here to make your donation.

Brent Fullard invites Canadians from Whitby-Oshawa and all regions of Canada to join his fight against Jim Flaherty and the Conservative government’s dismal mismanagement of the country’s finances.

“Canada’s economy is the worst in the G7. Canada has now had its worst performance in 17 years – since Brian Mulroney. The economy is slumping. Hard working Canadians are losing their jobs and what does this government do? Insult them and abandon them with laissez-faire, I don’t care policies,” according to Mr. Dion.

“Conservatives do not understand the 21st century economy. The cost of fossil fuels is only going to go up. The only long term solution is to invest in the green economy and renewable alternatives. The Conservative short-sighted approach will only delay the inevitable.

“A Liberal government will invest in partnership with Canadians by cutting taxes for families, investing in the manufacturing sector and building strong jobs. By building Canada as a leader in the green economy we will build a strong economy for today and the next generation.”

Mr. Dion made his comments at a Liberal rally with Ajax-Pickering MP Mark Holland and was joined by Liberal Finance Critic John McCallum and Associate Finance Critic Martha Hall Findlay in welcoming the newest member of the Liberal team, candidate Brent Fullard, who is running in Mr. Flaherty’s riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Mr. Fullard founded the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors to fight Mr. Flaherty's decision to tax income trusts after the Conservatives promised not to.

“As a former General Motors employee and leading income trust investor advocate, Mr. Fullard knows all too well how Mr. Flaherty and his government have betrayed and abandoned Canadians,” said Mr. Holland. “Mr. Flaherty and his Prime Minister left investors bleeding and auto workers unemployed. This is not good economic management.

“It was a Liberal government that swept up after the last Conservative government, and we will do it again. We will build on our party’s solid history of job creation, balanced budgets and progressive tax cuts – working with Canadians, not against them.”

Mr. McCallum pointed out how in the dying days of the Harper government, Conservatives racked up almost $9 billion in pre-election spending promises – including a couple of funding announcements for the ailing auto sector.

“This government thinks it can ignore the auto sector for two-and-a-half years and then make a photo-op announcement on the eve of an election and everything will be alright,” said Mr. McCallum. “This is the same government that, prior to the writ dropping, refused to make investments in auto sector capital and innovation, calling them ‘band-aid solutions.’ The result of that negligence has been devastating, and nowhere has that devastation been felt more than in this region of Ontario.”

Ms. Hall Findlay said that while Ontario sits in the midst of the biggest economic downturn in years, Minister Flaherty does nothing but attack his home province.

“He called Ontario ‘the last place to invest’ and Premier Dalton McGuinty the ‘small man of Confederation’ for defending the principles of democracy,” she said. “He told Ontario mayors that he was not in the ‘pothole business’ and dismissed the huge infrastructure deficit they face by calling them ‘whiners.’

“The residents of Ontario – and all of Canada – need a government that is going to stick by them and work with them every day to find long-term solutions, not sit back and insult them in their time of need,” she said.

Mr. Fullard said he was proud to be joining the Liberal team because of Mr. Dion’s plan to build the Canada of the future through partnership with Canadian businesses.

“Canadians have had enough of Mr. Flaherty’s broken promises,” he said. “The income trust fiasco – which cost investors some $35 billion – is just one of a string of betrayals that Mr. Flaherty is going to have to explain to the residents of Whitby-Oshawa. Even worse is that this broken promise is predicated on the false premise that income trusts cause tax leakage.”

Canadians from all regions of Canada can donate to Brent's campaign, not just residents of Whitby-Oshawa. Make a difference in Canada's future, make a contribution to Brent's effort today.

What you can do to help:

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  • Your financial support in any amount you deem appropriate is greatly appreciated.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Liberal Candidate for Whitby-Oshawa seeks information on the losses sustained by the Canada Pension Plan

as a result of Jim Flaherty's income trust betrayal

TORONTO, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - Today Liberal Candidate for Whitby-Oshawa, Brent Fullard delivered a letter to the CEO of the CPPIB seeking detailed information on the losses sustained by the Canada Pension Plan, and therefore all Canadians, as result of Jim Flaherty's income trust betrayal.

For further information or a copy of the letter please email:

September 11, 2008

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
One Queen Street East
Suite 2600, P.O. Box 101
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2W5

Dear Mr. Denison, President & CEO:

Re: The losses sustained by the Canada Pension Plan by Jim Flaherty’s Income Trust Tax

I am writing to you as the federal Liberal Candidate in the upcoming election for the riding of Whitby-Oshawa, the riding of Canada’s Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty which as you know will be taking place on October 14, 2008.

It is important to voters in “Whitby-Oshawa” that their representative in Ottawa is acting in a responsible and prudent manner at all times. The same is true for all Canadians insofar as their Finance Minister is concerned. This inquiry concerns Mr Flaherty’s policy to tax an aribitrailiy selected subset flow through investment vehicles but not others, such as his law firm tax flow through vehicle Flaherty Dow Elliott & McCarthy, which pays no taxes.

In order to accurately inform Canadians of one of the many ways in which Mr. Flaherty’s policy to tax publicly traded income trusts, (and not all other firms of trusts, including REITs) negatively affects all Canadians, I am requesting from you detailed information on the “mark to market” impact of this tax on the public income trust portfolio holdings of the Canada Pension Plan.

I cite the following from your website:

“While the CPP Investment Board operates at arm’s length from governments, we are subject to very rigorous accountability requirements. Accountability is deeply ingrained in the CPP Investment Board's legislation, governance and in the policies and practices of the board, officers and employees.”

It is in this regard that I am writing to you, as Canadians are in need of accountability on the issue of the taxation of public income trusts and the impact it has had on their retirement assets within the Canada Pension Plan.

Unfortunately the level of portfolio disclosure afforded Canadians concerning the income trust holdings of the Canada Pension Plan and the timing of the tax announcement (October 31s, 2006) means that there is insufficient public information to make this calculation with absolute precision, due to timing differences and limited disclosure.

However a close approximation of the loss sustained by the Canada Pension Plan can be made, as follows.

On October 29, 2007 , the CPP income trust holdings (excluding REITs) held by CPP on March 31, 2007 had declined in value by $173,346,000 if those holdings had remained in place from the announcement date (October 31, 2006) onward.

On September 8, 2008 , the CPP income trust holdings (excluding REITs) held by CPP on March 31, 2007 had declined in value by $206,935,000 if those holdings had remained in place from the announcement date (October 31, 2006) onward.

We seek more detailed disclosure from you on the holdings of public income trusts by the Canada Pension Plan on October 31, 2006 and various points in time, specifically two weeks, six months, twelve months and eighteen months after the announcement as well as presently, in order to ascertain the absolute level of loss experienced by all Canadians and to demonstrate the fact that the loss incurred at the outset has been sustained over time, as is concluded from our analysis and as corroborated by the sustained loss in the broader income trust index.

In the event that the various investment positions held in the CPP have been sold at points during these various periods of time, please perform a “run down” analysis in which it is assumed that the monies received from the sale of public income trusts were not reinvested, but remained as cash at the time of sale to the end of the time period in question.

We request this information from you on a timely basis in order that your findings can be fully disseminated to the voting public. well in advance of the October 14, 2008 election date on this important policy matter affecting the retirement security of all Canadians, both inside and outside the CPP.

If you have any questions please call me at 647 505 2224 (cell)

Thank you in advance,

Yours truly

Brent Fullard
Liberal Candidate for Whitby–Oshawa

Campaign Headquarters
1540 Dundas St E.
Whitby ON
L1N 2K7

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jim Flaherty's worst nightmare

Posted: September 07, 2008, 2:47 PM by Diane Francis
Income Trust Debacle, Greed, Canadian Politics

Canada's Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, has made a number of foolish policy decisions during his tenure and his nemesis, investment banker Brent Fullard, is taking a run at him in this Oct. 14 election. The sparks will fly and Mr. Flaherty had better bone up on his debating skills and go to school on the economics, taxation, forex, stock market and investor implications which he obvious did not do before making two egregious errors:

1. First and foremost, the income trust fiasco (which wasn't necessary and damaged 2.5 million Canadians Conservatives who invest in the stock market; damaged the junior oil sector by eliminating an important player and damaged Canada's taxpayers by sparking a leveraged buyout mania of income trusts. Damage will be long-lasting because the buyers are private equity and foreigners which have borrowed heavily and will write off all the cash flow against debt service costs, thus avoiding taxes for decades.

2. Scrapping withholding taxes to foreigners who are using Canadian-generated cash flow to service their foreign debts. This is a made-in-Goldman-Sachs policy which enhances the hollowing out of Canadian corporations.

Rumors are also that Buzz Hargrove will run against Flaherty in the car-heavy riding, but massive grants to GM may forestall that. Besides, his candidacy might split the vote which would otherwise go to the angry Mr. Fullard.

Here is Brent's press release and contact information:

WHITBY-OSHAWA, Sept. 7 /CNW/ - The Whitby-Oshawa Federal Liberal Riding Association today announces that Brent Fullard will be the candidate for theriding of Whitby-Oshawa, subject to confirmation at a candidates meeting scheduled for Tuesday September, 9, 2008.

Known for his tireless enthusiasm and dedication, Brent Fullard has devoted considerable time on a strictly volunteer basis as the CEO of Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors / Taxpayers, a group he founded to advocate for accountability and transparency from the Harper government and to reveal the government's lies about so-called tax leakage.

In 1979, immediately upon graduation from Queen's University, Brent began work at the General Motors Car Assembly Plant in Oshawa.

Thereafter, he spent over 20 years in Canadian capital markets, recently as Executive Managing Director and Head of Equity Capital Markets for BMO Nesbitt Burns and presently as the Head of Catalyst Asset Management, who were active in their opposition to the junk bond leveraged buyout of BCE before the CRTC and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Brent's experience also covers the Canadian oil and gas industry in the time he worked at Dome Petroleum in the early 80's.

Brent Fullard stated today: "I look forward to campaigning in Whitby-Oshawa against the practices and policies of the Stephen Harper government and outline why I believe Ontario is a great place to live, work and invest, and how we can make it even better."

Brent has been married to Christina for 20 years, and together they have three teenaged children.

For further information:
(647) 505-2224

Jim Flaherty challenge: debate income trusts - Diane Francis

Friday, September 5, 2008

Flaherty explains why he won't change rules on Income Trusts

"It's the law now" Jim Flaherty's reason for not revising IT double taxation rules that destroyed $35 Billion of Canadian's savings on October 31, 2006.

"It may be the law, however the full destructive effects don’t kick in until 2011. There’s still time to avert disaster. Meanwhile it's pathetic how bad laws, based on Lies and Myths, are easy for Tory's to uphold but good laws like Election Timing are easy to break." Brent Fullard, CAITI

Flaherty refuses the $50,000 debate challenge - CAITI

$50,000 offered in scholarships if Flaherty will debate income trust tax - The Green Party

Flaherty's proof, 18 pages of blacked out documents

Monday, September 1, 2008

Let Elizabeth speak about Income Trusts!

Elizabeth May and the Green Party support calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to launch a public inquiry into Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s unproven allegation that income trusts result in a loss of tax revenue to Ottawa.

Here is your chance to to ensure that Green Party leader Elizabeth May is included in the leaders’ debates and speak on issues important to all of us.

Consider signing the petition at:

Green Party calls for inquiry into the alleged tax leakage of income trusts
Canadians want Green Party leader in debates, poll shows

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Income Trusters in Toronto area, here is your chance to meet Dion.

The Liberal Party developed an Income Trust Policy in an effort to counter the damage done by Harper's Conservatives.

Here is your chance to ask Stephane Dion your questions about the plan to make Income Trusts a viable option for Canadian Investors again.

Garth Turner hosts Dion at major public forum

Citizens will be asked for views on economy, environment

Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion is coming August 20th, to meet the people. Hosted by MP Garth Turner, Dion will be centre stage at an important Town hall meeting in which citizens can ask him about the big issues facing southern Ontario, and Canada.

"Now that Stephen Harper has threatened an election in a few months," Turner says, "it's key that people know where our leaders stand. Stephane Dion is the only one making this effort to get out and ask us all what kind of Canada we want, and how best to cope with the problems which need urgent solutions. I'm encouraging everyone – Liberal supporters or critics – to come and make up their own minds."

Turner cites recent job losses in the manufacturing sector as a priority, along with rising energy costs, falling real estate values and mounting family financial stress. He also says Dion will be outlining his Green Shift proposal, which would see personal income taxes slashed, and taxes imposed instead on polluters responsible in part for climate change.

"Dion has won the admiration of people across the country for meeting real voters face-to-face," Turner says. "He's not afraid of the tough questions we should all be asking of our politicians, now that the economy's turned sour and the federal government seems to be drifting. This is a chance for everyone in the region to get out and make their voices heard, so policy in Ottawa can better mirror public wishes."

The Town Hall meeting takes place Wednesday, August 20th at 7:30 pm.

Location: SVCC Hall (St. Volodymyr). 1280 Dundas Street, Oakville (between Trafalgar Rd. and Bronte Rd.).

Admission is free, and seating is on a first come-first served basis.

Seats may be reserved by calling (905) 693-0166, or emailing

For more information:
Esther Shaye (905) 693-0166

MEDIA NOTE: Media availability with Stephane Dion will be provided. Details to follow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A cozy agreement

As I suspected from the outset, Canada in cahoots with US over trust tax.

The fraudulent notion of tax leakage would never “go down” in the US, since they still have a vigilant press and endless legislative checks and balances that prevent such conspiracy theories from ever being enacted into legislation, see Writing and Enacting Tax Legislation

Meanwhile we learn of this cozy agreement:

NAFTA Safety Valve Comes to the Rescue
Embassy, June 25th, 2008

By Luke Eric Peterson

Lately, the North American Free Trade Agreement has seemed like the electrified third rail of North American politics.

We've seen sparks flying over proposals for a so-called NAFTA Super-Highway as well as a media firestorm over a leaked diplomatic memo that cast doubt on Barack Obama's true feelings about the NAFTA.

Yet the U.S. and Canadian governments have managed to reach across the border and come to an agreement on one thorny NAFTA dilemma: In a little-noticed exchange of diplomatic letters this past April, the two governments have agreed that Americans investing in Canadian income trusts are not entitled to sue Canada for "expropriating" those investments.

This diplomatic accord comes in the aftermath of the 2006 decision by the Harper government to slap a tax on many types of income trusts. You'll recall that that move drew howls of outrage from Bay Street, as well as from foreigners who had long sunk money into these lightly-taxed investment vehicles.

One pair of Chicago-based investors went so far as to announce last year that they would sue Canada under NAFTA for the "massive destruction" inflicted on their personal stock portfolios. The couple, Marvin and Elaine Gottlieb, have set up a website to encourage other similarly-affected U.S. investors to join them in a class-action type lawsuit against the Government of Canada.

However, that lawsuit suffered a set-back in late April when the governments of Canada and the United States quietly agreed—in a formal exchange of letters—that the taxation of income trusts does not amount to an "expropriation" for which U.S. investors need be compensated under NAFTA. In reaching such an agreement, the two sides effectively vetoed any bid by U.S. investors to sue Canada for expropriating their income trust holdings.

What exactly constitutes an "expropriation" under NAFTA has long been a contentious question. Although the NAFTA provides strong legal protections to businesspersons and companies investing in another North American country, the extent of such protections remains unclear.

If a NAFTA government were to nationalize an industry—say the oil or steel sector—the trade-pact obliges the government to compensate affected foreign-owners. But what happens when a government introduces new regulations or tax measures which impose a heavy new financial burden on foreign-owned businesses, without going so far as to confiscate or nationalize those businesses?

The question may seem academic until you consider that the answer will determine when the public could be on the hook for writing hefty compensation cheques to affected foreigners.

In the income trust spat, the Gottliebs alone are threatening to sue for $6.5 million in losses; thousands of other claimants could join the Chicago couple in suing Canada for hundreds of millions.

Ultimately, it falls to panels of arbitrators to determine whether a given government law or policy is so destructive that it amounts to an expropriation. But with the NAFTA itself offering little guidance as to how to resolve such expropriation cases, arbitrators can find themselves in the same position as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who famously wrote that he might not know how to define "obscenity", but he knew it when he saw it.

For anxious governments not eager to leave things up to the discretion of arbitrators, the NAFTA does contain a little-noticed safety valve. If a foreign investor has a beef with tax policy—as opposed to other types of government policies—NAFTA governments can confer amongst themselves and determine whether the tax in question crosses the line. Arbitrators are then obliged to respect any such joint-determinations.

And that's exactly what happened recently when U.S. and Canadian officials got together to agree that the new tax on income trusts—while certainly having a financial impact on trust owners—cannot be likened to an "expropriation".

While the decision by Canada and the U.S. strikes a fatal blow to any NAFTA expropriation claim mounted against the income trust tax, U.S. investors remain free to argue that the tax violated other NAFTA protections.

In fact, in documents filed last year, the Gottliebs also accused Canada of unfairly discriminating against U.S. investors—who held unusually large stakes in the energy income trust sector. It remains open for them, and other U.S. citizens, to continue with their lawsuit against Canada and seek compensation for suffering discrimination and unfair treatment.

For the moment, however, the Gottliebs have not signalled whether they plan to press forward with their claim—and if other U.S. citizens will join them in any such fight. If they do, they will join a lengthening queue of U.S. investors suing Canada under NAFTA for various forms of alleged wrongdoing.

While economists continue to debate how effective the North American trade pact has been in generating trade and employment, the NAFTA is clearly creating a lot of work for lawyers.

Luke Eric Peterson is a columnist for Embassy. He is also the editor of the electronic news service, Investment Arbitration Reporter,

Marvin and Elaine Gottlieb explain why they are launching a NAFTA action against the Harper government

Americans Take on Canadian Prime Minister over Income Trust Injustice - Diane Francis