Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday News Roundup

1. It always looks bad to break a promise but I think this was the right move to make. I'm far from an investment expert but Income Trusts were a tax loophole which needed to be closed.

2. Glad to see that the Clean Air Act may undergo massive amendments. Hopefully something positive can come out of it.

3. I link to this immigration story, only because Monty Solberg has been practically invisible since getting into Cabinet. This is definitely positive, although I'd still like to see Canada hit the 1% target on immigration.

4. Since everyone was quick to post when the charges were levied, it's probably only fair to mention that the LPC has ruled that Volpe was not directly responsible for most of his campaign's membership irregularities.

5. One of the students injured in the Dawson College shooting has proposed what, in my opinion, are fairly reasonable changes to Canada's gun control laws.


So there we go - environment, gun control, immigration, and Joe Volpe. That should generate a bit of debate, I imagine. As an added bonus, I've also left wide open the opportunity to make Goodale or Brison jokes with the Income Trust story so comment away!

27 Comments:

  • I think the Dawson college kid is wrong on the long gun registry, as if that has or would prevent anything.

    I have no problem with banning automatic weapons, as I see no recreational purpose for them, but I really think he's missing the point with regards to the long-gun registry.

    His rhetoric was also a bit offside during the press conference, in saying that the long gun registry has proven to save lives and that Canada needs a Prime Minister who doesn't love 'guns as much as he loves life'... that's when I tuned out.

    However, I see a particularly insensitive post coming down the pipe for me so it wasn't all bad, I suppose.

    By Blogger Olaf, at 3:47 PM  

  • I'm from a farm in a rural region of Canada - everyone has a gun there. There is no such thing as a home that doesn't have a rifle *and* a shotgun. In all my life, there has never, ever been a gun killing or a gun injury. I'm personally unaware of any in the last 50 years. (There was one long gun suicide years ago)

    Everyone where I come from has been put through an enormous hassle to comply with this registry, and it hasn't saved a single person.

    The registry does not work. It costs too much. It hassles harmless responsible people. I'm all for gun control, but this student does not understand the registry and how it affects people - either the non-criminals and the killers. He doesn't know what he's talking about.

    I of course sympathize with his ordeal, and definitely want to work towards preventing another like it - but with a real solution, not the long gun registry.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:06 PM  

  • My idea was to ban guns inside certain areas over a certain population density (except gun clubs, etc), because I realised that in some places in Canada, guns are necessary.

    I'm a Dawson kid too. Was not hurt, nor did I see anything, though.

    By Blogger Yining, at 4:30 PM  

  • Finally, the LPC has come to its senses and decided to let Joe Volpe off the hook. This man is a true visionary and I plan on supporting him when he becomes leader..... of a coffee shop.

    He could call it "the Volpe Cup o' Joe"

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 4:53 PM  

  • yinning - I've heard that idea before and kind of like it. No guns in cities and you could have "storage houses" outside city limits for people who want to keep their guns there.

    Personally, I don't see a point to even allow anyone to own guns unless their job requires it (or for hunting I imagine - and any recreational guns could be stored at the shooting ranges themselves).

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:00 PM  

  • All great ideas, only thing is, most of them have already been done. It is almost impossible to get a handgun, and the laws from the 30's are still more than appropriate, and virtually ban them anyway. Assault Rifles are banned. The gun registry is a dog which could be made better... but they'd have to spend another 60 to 80 million doing it... the storage idea is novel...

    In the end, the only way to control guns is to control the bullets. A gun is useless if you don't have a bullet.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 5:20 PM  

  • The right move to make on income trusts ...

    Well, things are not quite so bleak as the tories say. Firstly, if you look at their background statement, you will see that right now the taxation of income from income trusts and corporations is the same if the recipient is in the top tax bracket.

    Differences happen if the recipient happens to be in a lower bracket. In those cases the recipient is in a better position rather than receiving dividends.

    Of course, the biggest "problem" is when you have money in RRSPs. Tax is deferred until you get it out. This does not seem like such a bad idea, given that the tories want to eventually get rid of the CPP.

    Finally, there is a problem because the withholding tax for foreigners is only 15%. Well, maybe the government should increase this amount.

    And a second finally: If we didn't waste a billion $ a year on gifts to people with children under 5, we wouldn't have to take money away from people trying to save for their retirement.

    This is just a tax increase from a bunch of liars. Leave it at that.

    By Blogger yyclaw, at 5:35 PM  

  • The other announcement, re: senior citizens being able to take one company pension and spread it over two people is more newsworthy since it will probably lead to 1 income families being able to spread their income over 2 adults.

    If that is the Conservative plan, the Liberals will lose 25-35 seats in Ontario alone (905 is history), and solidify their support elsewhere. The Liberals had surpluses for many years and should have done it while in power.

    Since if, I mean when, the Conservatives do this (or promise to do this), the Liberals must consider when choosing a leader someone who has much experience in opposition and who is prepared to lead past one election.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 5:44 PM  

  • This is a stupid move, as it will have no net effect on the blended effective corporate tax rate, but will chnage the optimal equity structure and nature of a corporate form. Instead of being a trust, you end up with highly levered low dividend corporations. Everyone in finance is much better at math than the people at the Finance Department, Flaherty is just doing this for demagogic reasons.

    The best idea is not to tax corporations, so there is less effort by very smart people on how to dodge taxes and more effort on being productive. The best tax regime minimises the opportunities for lawyers, accountants, and investment bankers and maximises them for entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, no one on the left has the brainpower or mathematical skills to be able to understand this.

    As for gun control... no registry could have ever helped with Dawson. A suicidal maniac doesn't really care about being tracked by a gun registry, as evidenced by the monster going through all of the hoops to get his weapons. A real criminal will just steal a gun or smuggle it in from the US, as they do now.

    Guns are tools, for securing one's home from criminals as well as for securing from predators and pests in rural areas. Handguns have their place as well, as many a runner or golfer in the mountains has learned to their eternal regret. We live in a wild country and need to protect human life from animals of all sort.

    The true solution to Dawson is to take the lessons of Polytechnique and 9/11 and reject passivity as a strategy. Attack and rush assailants. They will kill and injure fewer people before they can be subdued than they would have been able to unimpeded. Remember that passivity only works if they intend to escape and survive. If they're planning on dieing, as everyone who takes hostages and takes over schools does, rush the attacker. Much better a valiant death than one with a bullet to the back of the ehad as one cowers under a desk, or to survive as others are killed around you.

    By Blogger Hey, at 6:06 PM  

  • "I link to this immigration story, only because Monty Solberg has been practically invisible since getting into Cabinet. "

    Ever wonder if the Cons are increasing immigration because the bigger the population, the easier it is to hide the cabinet?

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 7:47 PM  

  • Handguns have their place as well, as many a runner or golfer in the mountains has learned to their eternal regret.

    Truer words were never spoke, my friend - never, not ever.

    I'm a big defender of long gun ownership in rural areas, but I carry a handgun in the Arizona mountains - believe it.

    (They're the most inaccurate weapon ever - if someone aims one at you, just walk away) (I'm kidding, don't do that - but truly, they're hard to hit a target with)

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 8:36 PM  

  • 1. An interesting idea for Harper and Layton is to fiddle with the Clear Air Act to set hard targets earlier on the same projected track as the intensity targets would create. Layton will have to have a hand in killing Kyoto but also in bringing in its successor. Harper will win just by passing GHG legislation that is not Kyoto. And the Liberals would be squeezed.

    2. The gun laws the kid wants changed really wouldn't make a difference or are redundant. It's crappy of the Globe not to mention that.

    3. Very curious to see if the Trust thing doesn't cost the Tories the next election

    By Blogger matt, at 9:29 PM  

  • the globe story is inaccurate if you read the appeal on www.liberal.ca about Volpe. The fine was reduced from $20000 to $0. Volpe agreed to pay the costs of the hearing which was a $1000 deposit. Interesting to see what fine Rae will get re BC memberships. I dont think the party wants to fine $100k to someone who might actually win this. Setting aside the fine to Volpe means it is easier for the party to fine Rae a little, or even nothing at all perhaps. Rae's hearing with the Nat Returning Officer was held today fyi.

    By Blogger ktr, at 12:00 AM  

  • The election platform for the Conservative party of Canada for 2006 promised Canadians the Conservative Party would “preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them (page 32)”. You can argue whether or not the tax itself is a good idea, but breaking your promise to voters to put in a good and fair tax still doesnt sit well with the average family.
    You will recall the Liberals last November put out a discussion paper indicating they were considering changing the tax on income trusts. They hesitated and then decided to let it be. The uncertainty in the market was not a good thing. What is worse is when a party promises investors they will not impose any new tax on income trusts, and the investors put up their money, and then the government does a 180. That 180 broken promise causes investors to question any government promise.

    By Blogger ktr, at 12:07 AM  

  • For me the income trust question really comes down to one thing, and that is dividends. The trouble is that income trusts are a form of organization that funnels profits to dividends, instead of investing in R&D, etc. That is why the timing of the decision is sensible to me as well - BCE is crucial to Canadian productivity growth.

    As for the tax hike issue, it isn't a tax hike, it is a redistribution of wealth. Seniors pay less in taxes now, income trusts pay more (though that's just repairing what was essentially a loophole Martin should have closed). Those that say this is terrible for seniors forget that a heck of a lot of seniors don't have income trusts, and stand to benefit from these tax changes (personally I would have preferred a "screw old people" approach).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:29 AM  

  • In the Senate yesterday, Minister Lebreton responded to a question about Monte Solberg's previous defence of income trusts by saying:

    "That's why Mr. Solberg is in immigration, not finance, I guess.."

    By Blogger Darrell, at 11:09 AM  

  • Reposted from Cerb's place:

    You people have completely missed the boat on this...

    What Harper originally said was that he would not touch Income Trusts without creating a support program designed for Seniors.

    Guess what, he did something for Seniors, and closed the loop-hole at the same time.

    Where your really missing the boat is that you all think Harper thinks like the Martin Liberals did... about a day and half into the future.

    News for you folks, Harper is a long term player, and thinks 10 moves ahead like any good chess player would.

    Look what has happened here:

    Every province in the Country that counts for votes, just got a huge revenue boost to their taxbase. In Alberta for example, it equates to $400 million in additional revenue.

    In Alberta, where one could say the biggest overall hit took place yesterday, the only true damage done was to small trusts looking to develope the Oilsands... the big ones will barely burp over this.

    In Ottawa, Jack Layton is suddenly Stevo's best friend, and thanks to a couple of bones thrown by Harper, now looks like the most effective option on the table for left leaning voters.

    Harper has in 2 days effectively shown the Liberals to useless, obstructionist, and generally ineffective as an opposition.

    He just negated the Bob Rae effect of pulling voters from the NDP to the Liberals, and most likely left Iggy with a completely split Liberal party in the next election.

    On top of this, he's given every existing trust four years to get ready for the new tax changes, while allowing Seniors to enjoy tax breaks and income splitting now.

    Guess whats next?

    Jack Layton is going to get another bone thrown to him in relation to the time table implementation of the "Clean Air Act", further pounding the left leaning liberal base down and moving them to the NDP.

    In about 2 years, a whole new slew of Tax Credit programs will be announced, almost exclusively for the OilSands, allowing the major trusts to become revenue neutral again, and still provide higher than conventional rates of return.

    Meanwhile, Harper just went a long way towards fixing the fiscal imbalance on paper for Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta, and BC.

    So whats next? Can you say "Jack Layton, leader of the official opposition".

    Heh:)

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 11:32 AM  

  • Joe Calgary:

    The trusts that are hurt are those *not* touching the oil sands. Good points made in the Globe on how the structure enabled the efficient production of depleted oil reserves that otherwise wouldn't be touched by the majors who have moved to "frontier" away from the Western sedimentary basin. I'm curious if there will be any effect on Calgary housing prices over the next 3 months.

    I'm also curious about your claim that this affects the fiscal balance.

    By Blogger matt, at 12:07 PM  

  • Matt,

    The reality is that there is less and less exploration and developement in general going on as it is. In just the last several days at least 3 majors have announced scaling down their drilling expectations...

    There is still a shitload of gas sitting in the south end of the province, caught in pockets that were more difficult to get to, and thusly left to sit.

    Sooner or later those reserves are going to get utilized, so whether it's today or tomorrow is not germaine, what is important is the price one gets after costs, no?

    Regardless, every existing trust has four years of tax holidays before the new requirements phase in, which is plenty of time to restructure, and will allow the price of gas to increase if only from inflation in the process.

    Crying poor is bullshit.

    Yes the changes effected the "trading value" of trusts, but it doesn't effect the rest of the fundamentals that would make them a good buy to begin with, and with a continued 4 year holiday, there is still plenty of dough to made from them.

    There's an old saying, "what goes up must come down, and will go up again."

    Anyone who had all their eggs in trust baskets paid a heavy price yesterday. I myself lost around 50K in Canadian Oilsands Trust, but I hardly consider it the end of the world, and in fact am buyig more to leverage down.

    If a GIC is paying 5% for 4 years, and the economic outlook is for GIC's to be paying 2% at the end of that 4 year period, do you ignore the GIC because you might not get as good a rate four years hence?

    Why would you think Trusts will be any different?

    As for the fiscal imbalance issue, Alberta alone would be looking at a $400 million dollar increase in corporate revenue, leaving roughly $700 million in remaining tax dollars to be spread around to the other provinces... Thats a billion and change Harper doesn't have to find now, even if it won't exist for 4 years.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 12:22 PM  

  • Joe Calgary said "Crying poor is bullshit... I myself lost around 50K in Canadian Oilsands Trust, but I hardly consider it the end of the world, and in fact am buyig more to leverage down."
    Well JC, we can see why you are not crying poor. If you lost around 50K in a stock that went down a bit over 10% yesterday, that tells me you have half a million in the stock, and probably plenty more in others. We would not expect you to cry poor, but would expect you to have enough insight and common sense to see that when you promise investors one thing, and then they act on it, and then you do the opposite just 10 months later, people will be angry about the lying and deceit. Check page 32 of the election platform of the CPC for the broken promise.

    By Blogger ktr, at 1:27 PM  

  • Greed is greed, and anyone who places all their eggs in one basket is bound to get burned. Simple as that.

    Lets look at Canadian Oilsands as an example:

    I purchased it at $30 bucks a share, it climbed to $130 or so a share, they do a 5 for 1 split, it is trading at $26 and change this morning. It's average volume on a float of almost 500 million shares is around 2.5 million, vs today for an example which is 3.5 million shares.

    That means that most of the investors are either a) instituational, b) long term, which means they probably made money on the split.

    The volume reflects foriegn content, and day traders... so spare me the "I'm broke now bullshit", especially when the TSE has already recovered almost 100 pts of it's loss's from yesterday.

    They said they wouldn't fuck with the Income Trusts without protecting seniors, I don't see a broken promise, I see a fulfilled one.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 2:02 PM  

  • One of the problems with all the gun control ideas these days is that one one really seems to understand that guns are not a simple issue.

    You may say 'ban all guns inside city limits', but its never that simple. For one thing, where would gun stores be?

    You may say: Keep all the guns locked away in a storage facility off in the county. Right, so the criminals know exactly where to go to get weapons before going on a crime spree? You may answer: well.. put all kinds of police around it. The response would be, that's expensive and useless, especially deep in the county..

    And so on. People like to say warm and fuzzy things without thinking of the long term problems with them.

    Oh, and CG: Please read CTV's report on it. Most of what Khadim said was utter foolishness.

    For example: He called on Canada to ban assault rifles. (The ones that have already been banned)

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 3:52 PM  

  • Layton isn't doing himself any favours. People who swing between the Liberals and NDP are getting a great lesson in why they hate the Conservative Party.

    I fully expect the NDP to lose half its seats in the next election and be holding a leadership convention afterwards.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 6:25 PM  

  • "Layton isn't doing himself any favours. People who swing between the Liberals and NDP are getting a great lesson in why they hate the Conservative Party."

    Thats funny because I was thinking it was the Liberals who aren't doing themselves any favours. The "Day of infamy" stuff about the Income Trusts is hilarious and has the Liberals showing their true colours as a political vehicle for corporations. I'm very surprised the Conservatives have had the courage to do this, I still strongly dislike them because of their positions on foreign policy and justice but the NDP is far better on both of those than the Liberals who are mostly incoherent. If the NDP and Conservatives can cooperate on climate change after complete inaction by a 12 years of a majority Liberal government than they will both score points on one of the most important issues of our time.

    The Liberals seem poised to reopen the Quebec is a nation debate which actually isnt that surprising since their strategy since Gomery seems to be to try to create political problems in Quebec and then claim they are the only federalist party that can save the country. This strategy is more than irritating and again I find myself in the unusual position of being pleased by Conservative gains in Quebec.

    My entire family vote either NDP, Liberal, Green and if the Libs go with Ignatief I'm pretty sure I'll be able to shorten that to NDP and Green. The Liberals look so bad these days I wouldnt be that surprised if they started picking up percentages of support equivalent to their British and German counterparts.

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 8:16 PM  

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    By Blogger Demiurge, at 8:17 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 8:17 PM  

  • You want to control ammunition? Brilliant! Too bad it's already implemented. Can't but ammo without the card. Oops. Ban assault rifles? Done that already. Ban handguns? Since the '30s it's been darn near impossible to buy one illegally (I know, my brother in the RCMP sold his because it was too hard for HIM to legally store and use it). Want safe storage? How about a locked room? Not good enough so change the law. How about trigger locks? Not good enough so change the law again. How about a gun safe? Apparently not good enough anymore, lets just take guns away and store them for you. Background checks? Check. Ex-girlfriend get a veto? Check. Another course to take (on top of all the one you had to take in the past to meet the previous laws)? Check.

    Honestly, how much more is it going to take for the urban bozo brigade to realize that restrictive gun controls will never prevent people intent on getting guns from getting them? I sympathize with the kid who got shot but victimhood only makes him a sympathetic spokesman, not a rational one.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 11:16 AM  

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