Friday, February 16, 2007

Seniors of the world unite

Different income trust story, same Judy Wasylycia-Leis. If this keeps up I may learn to spell her name correctly without double-checking. It took me a few weeks to get Ignatieff right back during the campaign, but it was a proud moment for me.

Anyway, this income trusts story is around the Conservative flip-flop on taxing them, in the process wiping-out billions of dollars worth of retirement savings of ordinary Canadians, many of them senior citizens.

I blogged my approval the other day of a Liberal proposal that would end the flight to income trusts, ensure corporations pay their fair share of taxes, AND, most importantly, give those average Canadian citizens that lost big chunks of their life savings on the Steve Harper flip-flop a break.

Economists thought it was a great plan; some of us wondered at the time how the NDP would react. Well, now the answer would seem clear: the NDP is siding with the Conservatives, and against average working Canadians and seniors.

From Wednesday's Report on Business:

The Dion proposal faces a tough uphill battle in Parliament, however, because the NDP -- which holds the balance of power in the minority government -- opposes it. "It's the Liberals again kowtowing to the banking elite," NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis said.

The New Democratic Party has marched in lockstep with the Conservatives on the trust levy, backing it to the hilt and even voting with the government to try to block recent parliamentary hearings on the levy.

Amusing to hear Judy employ left-wing rhetoric as she falls into line with the right-wing Conservatives. Banking elites Judy? Not hardly. This is about helping ordinary, hard working Canadians just trying to save for retirement.

New Liberal MP Garth Turner as been active on this issue, bringing ordinary Canadians that have been impacted by the Harper trust flip-flop to Ottawa a few weeks ago put a human face on this decision. You can watch a video of their news conference on his Web site.

There were people like William Barrowclough, a 64-year old widower and retired schoolteacher from Peterborough and David Marshall, a 69-year-old retired truck driver from Cornwall and his wife Lorraine. Also Don Francis, a 67-year-old retired science teacher and NDP supporter from Ottawa. And many others.

Those are the people we're talking about here Judy. Not banking elites. Average Canadians. Retired teachers, truck drivers, engineers. Senior citizens that lost their shirts because they believed Steve Harper when he promised trusts wouldn't be touched. It's those people, not some mythical ideological class warfare bogeyman, that the Liberal proposal is designed to help.

If you want to side with Steve Harper and the Conservatives that's fine Judy. Free country. But perhaps you'd be good enough to explain to William, David and Don, and the many Canadian seniors like them across the country that got screwed by the Harper Conservatives, why the NDP feels they don't deserve help.

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Dr. Tux said...

Thank you Jeff for being on top of this issue.

I'm sickened by the NDP as of late. They're always attacking the Liberals, even though the Reform/Alliance is in power. And they support Harper...

Me thinks that the NDP has been scared recently from the rising fortunes of the Green party. Jack Layton has also wanted the NDP to replace the Liberals as the left-of-centre party for Canada. The combination of these two things has created a situation where the NDP is trying to kick the liberals in the shins at every turn, just so they can claw back some votes they might lose to the Greens.

In turn, I think we should embrace the Greens, and squeeze the NDP for all they got.

Robert McClelland said...

The NDP also supported taxing income trusts when the Liberals were thinking about it. Does that mean they were in league with crooks at that time?

They're always attacking the Liberals, even though the Reform/Alliance is in power.

Maybe in liberal fantasyland that might be true. But in the real world...

Angus calls for Oda to step down over CTF debacle

Atamanenko says Conservative MP spreading misinformation on Wheat Board

Lying is not going to make the Liberal party attractive to anyone.

Anonymous said...

The trustification of the Canadian economy will continue under the Liberal proposal. Businesses operating as trusts would continue to be tax advantaged relative to businesses operating as corporations. The bottom line here is that after Oct 31, business investment in this country through a trust vehicle was not taxed one penny more than through a traditional corporate vehicle. The Liberal proposal will try to (partially) restore the tax advantage of trusts for Canadian tax-exempts. There is no economic policy rationale for that.

- Brian Dell, Edmonton

Anonymous said...

You either want a Harper gov't, or you don't.

You either work with them, which helps them implement their agenda, or you oppose them.

From Income Trusts, to the Accountability Act, to the Environment, to committee strategy, to ABM Fees Jack Laytons willingness to work WITH the tories means he stays in power longer.

And the longer he is in power the tougher it is to meet Kyoto. The less likely national child care becomes. The more our courts are stacked with conservative judges, the further away we get from the Kelowna Accord, and arts funding.

NO ONE said...

From what I've seen, the Liberals botched the income trusts issue for so long now that it was almost certain that this loss of fortunes was going to happen. If the income trusts would have been handled properly from the very beginning and if the Liberals weren't so interested in pandering to Bay st. / getting elected, they would have done the right thing and worked out the income trusts so that they didn't become another one of those massive corporate loopholes whereby the public gets screwed because the Liberal party wanted to win an election.

As far as the for / against the Harper governemnt argument being made above this comment, it's not even really worth replying to anymore because that argument was discredited months ago now / remains discredited to this day. I think the Liberal Party needs some new talking points for the NDP if you ask me...

Jeff said...

Robert, I'm more interested in why the NDP is supporting the Harper Conservatives on this issue. The experts say the Liberal proposal will end the tax advantage of income trusts, and ensure the corporations pay their fair share of taxes, I'd think the NDP would be onside with that. And more importantly, for those investors, average, hard-working folks, that lost billions because Harper mislead them, the Liberal proposal would give them some help. I don't understand why the NDP doesn't want to help those senior citizens that lost billions of their retirement savings. I thought those were the folks the NDP was dedicated to speaking for?

Joshua, sure, obviously pandering was going on, by ALL parties. I don't deny that. I do think the Harper no-tax promise and his later election on that platform increased the move to income trusts, because they took his word for it. But anyway, we can't change the past. Yes, changes did have to happen to restore tax balance. Corporations do need to pay their fair share. But average Canadians shouldn't have to lose billions of their retirement savings, and this Liberal proposal is designed to help them. We can't change the past, but we can take action now. So, why not help them?

Anonymous said...

"Economists thought it was a great plan; some of us wondered at the time how the NDP would react. Well, now the answer would seem clear: the NDP is siding with the Conservatives, and against average working Canadians and seniors."

Try getting the facts straight. A number of economists testified before the commitee on the trust issue.The major percentage agreed with the Conservative decision. Goodale and McCallum cherry picked the few who agreed with their proposal.

Of course Liberals did the same with the enviroment report slamming Dion and the Liberals kyoto plans. If i remember right it was over 200 pages, and the Libs quoted two paragraphs favorable to them, never mentioning the other 200 plus pages of criticism.

Jeff said...

Anon, everyone agrees that action had to be taken on income trusts. I'm not disputing that. I'm just saying there's a way to help the innocent average Canadians here that got screwed.