Tuesday, November 28, 2006

When a family dispute goes public - it's still a family dispute

So what of the claim, “The Quebecois are a nation”? Historically, England and France warred for hundreds of years to determine if England was a province of France or if France was a province of England. Ironically, royalty of both jurisdictions were related - as were many citizens - and the two kingdoms regularly conducted business. In North American there was some separation between the two groups. But notably, in Upper and Lower Canada many English and French continued to intermingle.

Consequently, many have dual ancestries. My father’s ancestors hailed from English-French Norman ancestors who lived 400 years in England before continuing in British North American for 350 years and becoming United Empire Loyalists. My mother’s ancestry was also Norman, but from Normandy France, before continuing in New France for 350 years – pur-laine Quebecois. Some of us “English” are also “French” because we are in fact one English-French (Norman) clan. The Canadian English-French “We are a nation” debate, from an insider’s perspective, is a family affair. And unfortunately like the wars of the past, we tend to draw others into our family clan conflict.

Nevertheless, everyone should remember that Canada is a place founded on northern courage by all those willing to say *we* are in life *together* for each other through good and bad. We should not be beguiled by the false claims that English-French is a monumental historical Canadian divide. In fact, for many of us French-English is one and the same millennium old family history.

PS: On the point of the legal consequences of, "the Quebecois is a nation", a significant point many have missed - but will not be missed in neither the Quebec National assembly nor in Quebec courts - is that judges can use parliamentary motions to define language and temper interpretation. i.e. any judge can now say that the common meaning of "nation" within Canada does have special meaning and therefore is relevant in law... as both the Canadian constitution and the Quebec national assembly refer to it.

Court challenges can now be made that the plain meaning of "nation within Canada" is that sovereign jurisdictional claims exist within Canada.

Never let it be said that Harper tells the truth; Steve Harper believes in the balkanization of federalism and has no problem with slicing off and Americanizing Canada's parts.

You were warned.

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Monday, November 27, 2006

Conservative Fiscal Maddness

Federal Conservative Finance Minister Flaherty wants to redefine Canada’s national debt in terms of “Net Debt” (Liabilities - Total Assets). Of course, government assets - such as national parks, crown lands, territories, ports, and buildings etc. - are worth $trillions, when fully accounted for. So, does the New Conservative Government’s definition of debt mean that the federal government can run the national debt into the trillions and we will be economically OK? Nonsense!

The measure of a country’s capacity to carry debt is its debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio. Anyone can fudge the evaluation of assets to be whatever any government wants and create any “Net Debt” number that the partisan politics of the day requires – regards of the true economic state of the country. That is why industrialized countries use debt-to-GDP as an indicator of economic health.

The Prime Minister claims to be an economist but what we are seeing from his New Government is fiscal maddness. What gives? Is the New Government trying to hide something?

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Canada - Know Thyself

A collective national groan was heard across Canada last week. Another Ottawa politician is trying to define Canada by defining Quebec. For the record, Canadians don’t have an identity problem and neither does Quebec. Canadians love Quebec and expect it be respected and defended. Canadians know who they are.

Courage has always been the Canadian way. Bravery created a country out of a northern land. At Vimy Ridge our soldiers did not find courage and strength; rather they brought character forged by the land and sea of their home. When we created healthcare, we were not defining our nation but were instead expressing our belief that we are a people that stands together. In 1972, when Phil Esposito pleaded with Canadians that Team Canada needed our support, the country responded. That Canada-Russia hockey series was just hockey but Team Canada was our team and so it mattered to us. Canadians are clear on who we are. We are a people of northern courage who are committed to each other. We love both the superstars and the weak among us and are determined to play as a team.

We struggle against foreign imperialism, bullying, self-centeredness, separatism, and isolationism (provincialism). Nevertheless, our way is that of the team. As in hockey, the team wins and loses as a team and we are committed to it. We are a people who have chosen to stand together and be a peaceful leader among the nations of the world. Politicians who cannot see Canada as whole, or who champion individualism or a heavy hand, have been given their say from time to time but then they are consistently rejected.

Canadians build each other up and stand together in order to show a better way of life for the world. Those Ottawa politicians, who play semantic games with words like “nation” and “people”, face a people who do not want to be led in the ways of self-centeredness, antagonism, and potentially separation. Rather, we want leaders sworn to respect the country and honour its people(s). We know what we stand for.

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Steve Harper's Betrayal

Whose interests is the New Conservative Government serving?

We know Steve Harper is not giving foreign policy professional focus. He gave a green-light to civilian bombings in Lebanon and has lost public trust in the war in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister and his cabinet have been skipping international events like AIDs and environmental conferences - creating an international incident at the Francophone Summit that he did attend.

We also know the environment isn’t taken seriously as the conservatives are attempting to defer emissions targets to 2050.

Notably, the New Government is as morally corrupt as any previous government. They give non-tendered contracts to associates, use government aircraft for personal trips, and are under-investigation for violations to Election Laws. Steve Harper broke a written Income Trust promise that cost participating Canadians $36 Billion.

In many ways, the New Government is as old as any we have ever seen.

Nevertheless, Harper’s Conservatives are making one clear political move. This past week, the Prime Minister indicated he is talking to the provinces about setting formal limits on Ottawa's powers. Steve Harper wants to provincialise the country. And, Mr. Harper has integrated US-Canadian foreign policy (sometimes word-for-word). We now know, the Prime Minister’s full agenda is to both Balkanize and Americanize Canada’s pieces.

The Prime Minister’s intentions are clear; so we now know whose interests he is serving - even though a betrayal of the interests he is sworn to protect.

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Is this progress? Jim Prentice on Fraser Valley Fishing

The New Conservative Government has gotten the message that Fraser Valley Commercial Fishing is not race-based. This summer, five BC judges unanimously told a conservative coalition led by government MP John Cummins that the Fraser Fishery is allocation-based. Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice was listening.

Vancouver Sun journalist Paul O’Neil reports Minister Prentice saying: Because the Fraser River salmon is a resource "under pressure," it has evolved from an "opportunity fishery" to one where different user groups are given a quota. He added: "It's not realistic that the First Nations would not participate in that process. Nothing I've said or the prime minister has said ever suggested that." He said the fishing openings for Aboriginal bands may occur at the same time as openings for non-Aboriginal fishermen, and stressed that both groups will be subjected to tougher enforcement and the same rules regime (P. O'Neil: EJ A9 and VTC A4, Nov 9 Conservative Digest).

Minister Prentice’s court-forced acknowledgement that aboriginals can participate in fisheries - as an ethnic community - is a shift in policy. Prime Minister Harper was the originator of the argument that commercial fishing allocations to aboriginals are not constitutional. Steve Harper’s argumentation flamed the fishing dispute, which led to violence on the Fraser River. The courts ruled that Harper’s conservatives were wrong.

Significantly, the policy change does not address treaty disputes. Canadian courts have stated that treaty claims extend to the economic use of resources. In contrast, the Harper government does not believe aboriginals have treaty claims to economic resources. The conservative government is merely acknowledging, under force of law, ethnic communities can operate economically in Canada.

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Friday, November 03, 2006

Income Trusts - The Real Solution

Income Trusts could have been changed without radically and abruptly breaking a promise. Simply tearing down a house without warning is not responsible government – most agree. Income trusts could have been changed into a much more constructive investment vehicle.

For example, a simple change could have been to allow income distributed to Canadian individuals, RRSPs, and Pensions Funds to be eligible from the now-lost income Trust exemption. Income trusts were ideally set up to be another type of RRSP.

Steve Harper has broken a written promise on Income Trusts laws. Within 2 days, Trusts on stock markets dropped $32 billion. The average loss is $32,000 per invested person – and still counting. The devalued assets are now vulnerable to foreign takeover and control.

Finance Minster Flaherty claims the federal government is losing revenue so Trusts must be stopped and corporate taxes reduced. However, the government is experiencing record revenues and surpluses. The broken promise significantly harms pensioners to lower corporate taxes and to address a government-revenue non-issue.

The actual issues involved were not point-resolved; rather a tax change hammer was brought in and the CPoC threw the good out with the bad out.

What was Flaherty thing?

Addendum: Below From Partisan Conservative News (See comment below on their distribution)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday refused to apologize for breaking an election promise to avoid taxing income trusts. The PM said that to allow trusts to be untaxed would have shifted a heavier tax burden onto ordinary Canadians. Interim Liberal leader Bill Graham said the PM is the "author of their (investors') misfortune, yet refuses to admit it. It was the average person who was lured in. Will the Prime Minister at least admit that he misled Canadians and offer them an apology?" Mr. Harper said the alternative would have been to allow major firms to duck taxes, and said his government is determined to have a fair system of taxation. He added that the Liberal party can explain in the next election why it believes corporations should not pay any tax in this country. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty expressed regret that the move was necessary, but emphasized that it was necessary. MPs acknowledged that they received a number of complaints. Public Works Minister Michael Fortier advised investors to cool down, and look at where the markets are by the weekend (S. Chase/B. Laghi/G. Galloway: G&M A4; WFP B5 and CH A4, VTC A6 ; L.Whittington: TStar A6 ).

- Liberal leadership front-runner Michael Ignatieff said Canadian investors have become the victims of a "bait and switch" following the surprise Conservative government's decision to impose new taxes on income trusts. As he delivered an economic platform that took aim at Prime Minister Harper's "ideologically driven" cuts to the GST and social programs, Mr. Ignatieff conceded the income trust tax "advantage" had to be addressed, but was critical of the Tories for having changed "the rules of the game overnight..." (CP: CSun 7 and ESun 74, HCH A6; C. Wattie: NP A6 and WFP B5; R. Ferguson: TStar A6; G. Bonnell, CP: KWS 11).

- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the government is considering a second $5 billion GST cut as early as this spring's budget. He added that there are other priorities, as well, such as dealing with capital gains tax and the fiscal imbalance, and said no budget decisions have been taken to date. In a speech last week, the PM played down expectations of a GST cut. However, senior Conservatives said the decision to tax income trusts was taken, in part, because the flood of conversions imperilled the second one percent GST reduction (J. Ivison: NP A1).

- There was speculation that exploration money for Canada's oilpatch could be the main casualty as energy trusts spiralled downward, and suffered more than $17 billion in losses since the income trust announcement (J. Monchuk: WFP B4 and EJ D1, WFP B4, SJT D1, TStar F3; L. Schmidt: CH E1).

- Energy trust executives seethed over the PM's broken promise and said they plan to push Ottawa to exempt royalty trusts from the new tax (CH A1).

Walks Comments on Conservative Partisan News: Note the lobby within the conservative party is to have unique rules to exempt royalty trusts , which primarily benefits resource industries such as the Oil Patch.

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Income trusts – What a Difference a Year Makes:

Steve Harper has broken a written campaign promise on Income Trusts. In response, the Toronto stock market was immediately down 2%. Income Trusts stocks dropped 13% for a record one day loss of $24 billion. Hundreds of thousands of pensioners will be directly hurt by this weeks change to Trust laws.

Pension investment in Trusts increased based on the repeated assurances of the Conservative Party that they would not change Income Trust tax laws. There are about a million Canadians directly involved in Income Trusts. Because of the Prime Minister’s broken promise, the one day lose is now an average of $24,000 per invested person (or $48,000 per invested family). Worse still, the sell off will likely continue for the next four years until the full affect of the new taxation rules is internalized by the marketplace.

Conservative Finance Minster Flaherty claims that the Federal government is losing revenues, which he interprets to mean that Income Trusts must be stopped and corporate taxes must be reduced. However, the Federal government is experiencing record surpluses. There is no shortage of government revenues.

So what is the New Government thinking: direct revenues away from pensioners to corporations? The conservative government’s actions have significantly hurt pensioners, lowered corporate taxes, and addressed a government-revenue non-issue.

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Income Mistrust - Steve Harper on the Record

Circulating the Internet by RBC Dominion Securities: Here is a re-print of a letter written by current Prime Minister Harper to The National Post written in late October of last year when he took the then Liberal government to task for merely suggesting that the tax laws regarding "trusts" be changed. This letter-to-the-editor shall haunt Harper for years into the future; it should.

See the following letter October 26, 2005 by Stephen Harper

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....
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....[T]he 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.

The Above is by Stephen Harper

Only a year later, Harper & Company are about to do precisely what they accused Martin and Company of only discussing.

Walks Comments: Steve Harper has made serious enemies if institutions are circulating the above to clients. Steve Harper's lifetime political style of betraying supporters continues.

(c) 2006 Victoria BC

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Harper Economics

The CPoC has broken a written campaign promise on Income Trusts. Tens of thousands of pensioners will be directly hurt by the changes. In response to the changes, the Toronto stock market was immediately down 2% - with the very real possibility of much greater longer-term impacts.

The Conservative Finance Minster claims that the Federal government is losing revenues, which he interpreters to mean that Income Trusts must be stopped and corporate taxes must be reduced. However, the Federal government is experiencing record surpluses. There is no shortage of government revenues. In other words: hurt pensioners, lower corporate taxes, and address a non-issue.

What is the New Government thinking: Direct revenues away from pensioners to corporations?

(c) 2006 Victoria BC