PMO listserv exploited by anti-Harper activist

I just received this email from pm@pm.gc.ca which was spoofed quite easily on the Conservative Party website willyoubetricked.com

Somebody emailed the PMO listserve address sending this email to whoever signed up on the Prime Minister’s government website for the email mailing list. Someone should look into the legality of using the Government of Canada’s resources to impersonate the Prime Minister.

The email seems to have originated in Winnipeg from an MTS Allstream account from this IP: 142.161.178.253.

Comments

comments

  • truth serum

    That should be worthy of a criminal investigation, should it not? It would be interesting to see who's behind it, especially which party they are affiliated with.

  • http://www.wernerpatels.com Werner Patels

    Three guesses as to who's behind this criminal act.

    The Liberals are going down and they know it, which means they will do anything (literally, anything) do keep fighting the fight.

  • DCF

    Contact <abuse@mts.net> and let them have a go. I'm already irritated by my Conservative lawn sign having been vandalized this weekend and I watched a pick-up truck drive off the road to sideswipe a Conservative sign near here – they are really getting desperate!

  • Liz J

    Of utmost importance, has the media been informed of this?

  • http://www.bluelikeyou.com/ Joanne TB

    So how could someone have acquired that list in the first place?

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca stephentaylor

    You simply have to email a special email address with your content. The listserv program then pushes out to a list of people.

  • harold

    I also just received it. It looks like we have a hack here

  • http://loreweaver.btblogs.ca Lore_Weaver

    If you're gonna spoof, do it right. You kids out there ever hear of a “proxy”? If not, leave the haxxoring to us professionals.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca stephentaylor

    More of an exploit than a hack

  • Sammy

    Stephen big City Lib was just on CTV Newsnet over the latest Cons candidate 'stepping down' over some bad blogging.There was quite a lengthy interview,and not one mention (as seen in G&M article) about the Lib that had some pretty hateful stuff on her blog.Someone from the Cons blogosphere needs to provide some balance,as the msm seems to be pretty one-sided.Can you do it??? Or at least try?

  • http://streetadvisorconsulting.blogspot.com markalanwhittle

    One can only hope the RCMP get right on this. I also recieved this e-mail.

  • steve

    I got this as well. I live in wpg, is there a way to figure out where 142.161.178.253 is?

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca stephentaylor

    Court order to mts

  • steve

    awesome, thanks! please keep us updated!

  • Bridget from Durham

    Hi Stephen,

    I received it and I assumed that it was from a Conservative who was continuing with the “edgy” (read: disrespectful, bullying and below what should be the standard of our wonderful country's governing political party)marketing such Conservative Campaign '08 greatest hits: “Oily”, “Not a Leader”, and “Puffing losing his bowels on an Honourable Canadian” . This is exactly in that same mindset. Live by the Bullying and Juvenile Marketing Campaign and you may Fail by the Bullying and Juvenile Marketing Campaign.

  • http://www.genx40.com Alan

    Just wondering – how do you know that the “email seems to have originated in Winnipeg from an MTS Allstream account from this IP: 142.161.178.253.”?

  • http://www.genx40.com Alan

    Just wondering – how do you know that the “email seems to have originated in Winnipeg from an MTS Allstream account from this IP: 142.161.178.253.”?

  • Gabby in QC

    *sarc. on
    Probably – but hey, it's just a good natured prank, just some kid having fun, right?
    OK, all together now: progressives have a sense of humour, conservatives not so much.
    *sarc. off

  • ontario taxpayer

    under the criminal code of Canada, according to my neighbour who is an RCMP officer, this is a violation and the individual in question when caught can face prosecution. All it takes is someone to swear out a complaint.

  • Soccermom

    Bridget, Stephane makes Gumby look like a bully. Give me a break.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    There is an incredible amount of desperation out there from the left and it seems to be growing quickly and out of control.

    In my riding driving through the neighbourhood I saw dozens of blue signs were knocked down over the weekend on major streets and did not see one single other party's sign down.

    Is it safe to expect that this will increase over the next few weeks?

    Soldiers with guns? Tanks in our streets – in Canada (pronounced Ca-na-duh – the way those nice, non-political folks at the CBC pronounce it..)

  • do they have email addresses

    OrgName: MTS Allstream Inc.
    OrgID: MTSAL
    Address: 333 Main Street
    City: Winnipeg
    StateProv: MB
    PostalCode: R3C-3V6
    Country: CA

    NetRange: 142.161.0.0 – 142.161.255.255
    CIDR: 142.161.0.0/16
    NetName: MTS-142-161-MB-CA
    NetHandle: NET-142-161-0-0-1
    Parent: NET-142-0-0-0-0
    NetType: Direct Assignment
    NameServer: DNS1.MTS.NET
    NameServer: DNS2.MTS.NET
    Comment:
    RegDate: 1992-08-26
    Updated: 2005-05-20

    OrgAbuseHandle: IAD3-ARIN
    OrgAbuseName: Internet Abuse Department
    OrgAbusePhone: +1-204-988-0219
    OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@mts.net

    OrgTechHandle: MIE5-ARIN
    OrgTechName: MTS IP Engineering
    OrgTechPhone: +1-204-988-0219
    OrgTechEmail: netadmin@mtsallstream.com

  • do they have email addresses

    OrgName: MTS Allstream Inc.
    OrgID: MTSAL
    Address: 333 Main Street
    City: Winnipeg
    StateProv: MB
    PostalCode: R3C-3V6
    Country: CA

    NetRange: 142.161.0.0 – 142.161.255.255
    CIDR: 142.161.0.0/16
    NetName: MTS-142-161-MB-CA
    NetHandle: NET-142-161-0-0-1
    Parent: NET-142-0-0-0-0
    NetType: Direct Assignment
    NameServer: DNS1.MTS.NET
    NameServer: DNS2.MTS.NET
    Comment:
    RegDate: 1992-08-26
    Updated: 2005-05-20

    OrgAbuseHandle: IAD3-ARIN
    OrgAbuseName: Internet Abuse Department
    OrgAbusePhone: +1-204-988-0219
    OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@mts.net

    OrgTechHandle: MIE5-ARIN
    OrgTechName: MTS IP Engineering
    OrgTechPhone: +1-204-988-0219
    OrgTechEmail: netadmin@mtsallstream.com

  • Derek Odell

    I just got a different one, something about the 'Kosovo Compromise'. To be honest, once I realized it wasn't real, I stopped reading. Seems more than one person has figured out how to hack the system.

  • paulsstuff

    Janke has tracked it down to this:

    Backtracking the IP address: Allegedly the email originated at IP address 142.161.178.253. Doing a reverse DNS lookup, we find that the IP address maps to the domain 3dprimate, the home of 3D animator Daniel Robertson, who works out of Winnipeg as a “Stand up Comic, Improviser, Digital Animator, Violinist, Jack of all trades, Master of None, Hacker, Software Pirate, Techie, Trekkie, Star Woid, Freelance Mercenary, Technocrat.”

    I wonder if the RCMP is calling on Mr Robertson right this minute. Of course, we ought to assume that Robertson’s computer was also hacked, and he’s just an innocent bystander.

    Funny Dan: Apparently Dan knows how to build servers. I’m not convinced he had anything to do with this. Unless this was an attempt at “performance art” by someone upset the art funding adjustments (he also calls himself a film director).

  • paulsstuff

    Janke has tracked it down to this:

    Backtracking the IP address: Allegedly the email originated at IP address 142.161.178.253. Doing a reverse DNS lookup, we find that the IP address maps to the domain 3dprimate, the home of 3D animator Daniel Robertson, who works out of Winnipeg as a “Stand up Comic, Improviser, Digital Animator, Violinist, Jack of all trades, Master of None, Hacker, Software Pirate, Techie, Trekkie, Star Woid, Freelance Mercenary, Technocrat.”

    I wonder if the RCMP is calling on Mr Robertson right this minute. Of course, we ought to assume that Robertson’s computer was also hacked, and he’s just an innocent bystander.

    Funny Dan: Apparently Dan knows how to build servers. I’m not convinced he had anything to do with this. Unless this was an attempt at “performance art” by someone upset the art funding adjustments (he also calls himself a film director).

  • Liz J

    If this crap continues it will have to be deemed a National emergency and action will have to be taken to restore order.
    Elections are an important and serious part of our Democracy. They’re not meant for desperate clowns to play games. This stuff is criminal. Is it not fraudulent and dangerous to hack the PM’s website and impersonate him?

    Surely the RCMP are already onto this serious matter.

  • Liz J

    If this crap continues it will have to be deemed a National emergency and action will have to be taken to restore order.
    Elections are an important and serious part of our Democracy. They’re not meant for desperate clowns to play games. This stuff is criminal. Is it not fraudulent and dangerous to hack the PM’s website and impersonate him?

    Surely the RCMP are already onto this serious matter.

  • kalford

    Exploit of a poorly configured list-server might be an even better description for it.

    I would think at the bare minimum, they would have set their authorization levels to require approval by a list owner before any mailings to that list were sent out. (I would be pretty embarassed if I was caught configuring a list server to accept and delivery mailings from unknown sources.)

  • kalford

    Exploit of a poorly configured list-server might be an even better description for it.

    I would think at the bare minimum, they would have set their authorization levels to require approval by a list owner before any mailings to that list were sent out. (I would be pretty embarassed if I was caught configuring a list server to accept and delivery mailings from unknown sources.)

  • John D

    Lots of Liberal signs vandalized here. Do I get to assume some sort of CPC-supported conspiracy?

  • John D

    Lots of Liberal signs vandalized here. Do I get to assume some sort of CPC-supported conspiracy?

  • batb

    Political vandalism. A sign of the times.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that it’s all coming from the Left, the “enlightened,” “tolerant,” and “progressive” side of the political spectrum. This is the result of “magical thinking” which is oh-so-prevalent in lib-left circles: If I either say it or think it, it is.

    So, if I say that my politics are enlightened, tolerant, and progressive, it doesn’t matter if I vandalize my opponents’ signs, it doesn’t matter if I hack into the Prime Minister’s e-mail mailing list, it doesn’t matter if the government-funded news network shills for the Liberal Party, I still belong to the best, gol-darned party in Canada.

    How do I know it’s the best, gol-darned party in Canada? Well, because we’re the most progressive, tolerant, and enlightened party going.

    I hope the person who’s responsible for this latest hack job is found, charged, and prosecuted. And the Canadian MSM needs to report it. This is a serious infraction to and interference in Canada’s election campaign and needs to be meticulously followed up, otherwise our democracy isn’t worth a hill of beans.

    What’s Mark Steyn’s name for us north of the 49 parallel? The Deranged Dominion? At this point, that moniker just about sums us up.

  • batb

    Political vandalism. A sign of the times.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that it’s all coming from the Left, the “enlightened,” “tolerant,” and “progressive” side of the political spectrum. This is the result of “magical thinking” which is oh-so-prevalent in lib-left circles: If I either say it or think it, it is.

    So, if I say that my politics are enlightened, tolerant, and progressive, it doesn’t matter if I vandalize my opponents’ signs, it doesn’t matter if I hack into the Prime Minister’s e-mail mailing list, it doesn’t matter if the government-funded news network shills for the Liberal Party, I still belong to the best, gol-darned party in Canada.

    How do I know it’s the best, gol-darned party in Canada? Well, because we’re the most progressive, tolerant, and enlightened party going.

    I hope the person who’s responsible for this latest hack job is found, charged, and prosecuted. And the Canadian MSM needs to report it. This is a serious infraction to and interference in Canada’s election campaign and needs to be meticulously followed up, otherwise our democracy isn’t worth a hill of beans.

    What’s Mark Steyn’s name for us north of the 49 parallel? The Deranged Dominion? At this point, that moniker just about sums us up.

  • http://www.wernerpatels.com Werner Patels

    That same criminal has just paid a visit to my blog. Looks like he is scouring the blogosphere to admire “his work”.

  • http://www.wernerpatels.com Werner Patels

    That same criminal has just paid a visit to my blog. Looks like he is scouring the blogosphere to admire “his work”.

  • anonymous

    Leadership? Here’s Ten Reasons Why the Tax on Income Trusts Was a Public Policy “Train Wreck”

    There’s considerable evidence to indicate the Harper government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax.

    By W.T. Stanbury (Professor Emeritus, UBC) Sept. 22,2008
    The Hill Times

    Introduction: Let’s start with Stephen Harper’s proposition that the central issue in the current election campaign is “leadership.” Effective leadership should produce good public policies. In this piece, I argue that there are ten reasons why the huge tax on income trusts announced on October 31,2006, and made into law on June 22,2007, is the greatest public policy “train wreck” in decades. It puts in question Mr. Harper’s leadership skills, and that includes his willingness to tell the truth. The tax may also be an albatross for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

    1. Harper Denied He Reversed Himself

    The income trust tax was an obvious reversal of repeated promises by Stephen Harper when he was Opposition Leader in 2005 and during the last election campaign. This reversal was widely perceived to be a serious ethical fault and Harper provided no convincing reason why such a reversal was justified. Harper did not lie because he did not intend to mislead the public with his promises. However, on November 1,2006 in the Commons, Mr. Harper did lie about what he said during the election campaign. The clearest statement was in the party’s election platform released on January 13,2006. “A Conservative government will…preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them.”

    During Question Period on November 1,2006, the PM said: “The commitment of this party ….. was a commitment to protect the income of seniors”. On November 2, the PM said, ”this government will not apologize for trying to protect the interests of individuals and a tax system that makes big business pay its fair share.” You decide.

    2. Huge Capital Losses

    The S&P/TSX Income Trust Index. closed on October 31, 2006 at 164.86. Two days later, the index was at 138.21. That represents a loss of $32.5 billion to the owners of trust units. Two weeks later the index was at 135.51 representing a loss of $35.6 billion. To the extent that the Trust Index later rose to higher levels does not diminish this loss for two reasons. First, some investors had to have sold shortly after the announcement—otherwise the index would not have fallen. The index reflects real transactions at real prices. Second, any subsequent increase in the index is the result of the myriad variables that affect market value, such as interest rates, and energy prices (particularly
    important to the energy trusts), and the further one gets from the initial announcement date the more one has to factor in the relative price movement of other indices to which the trust index is historically correlated, i.e., the broader TSX common share stock index and/or the energy subsector thereof.

    3. Using a Methodology Known to be Greatly Biased

    The Department of Finance’s methodology used to estimate the so-called “tax leakage” of $500 million for the federal government in 2006 omitted the present value of deferred taxes on the 39% on trust units held in tax deferral accounts like RRSPs. The officials knew as early as March 2004 and again in the summer of 2005 that their methodology was seriously biased toward generating revenue losses when income trusts were compared to regular corporations. When these deferred taxes are included, there was no “tax leakage.” Thus a serious omission may well have resulted in misleading policy advice by officials to their Minister, and the PM.
    4. An Orwellian “Tax Fairness Plan”

    The stated justifications for the 31.5% tax on income trusts were at best seriously questionable. The Government’s use of language in the so-called “tax fairness plan” was reminiscent of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

    The government made a great effort to frame the new 31.5% tax on income trusts as a matter of “tax fairness.” A frame is a conceptual structure intended to call up a wider/deeper set of constructs that will help to define a concept or issue in the way the framer desires. It makes use people’s prior modes of classifying information and issues; it takes advantage of embedded mental habits. The objective of such framing is to “ make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” The trust tax was bundled with three small tax cuts, two of which benefited seniors. But the benefits for seniors amounted to about 2% of their capital losses on trust units.

    An analysis of the new tax on some income trusts shows that the measure did not achieve “tax neutrality” as repeatedly claimed by the government. The tax added to the variegation in effective tax rates across types of business organizations, and by types of owners of these assets. The tax did not “level the playing field” as the Minister claimed so loudly and repeatedly. In fact, the tax was highly discriminatory— it exempted REITs ( which accounted for about 15% of the total market value of trusts on the TSX), and private flow through entities like those used by many law and accounting firms.

    5. Phony Crisis to “Sell” the Policy

    There is considerable evidence to indicate that the Harper Government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax. The government proceeded in secret during 2006, then made a dramatic announcement of strong action. Then it justified the move by claiming that there was a crisis which forced it to act as it did. The claims were couched in emotive rhetoric, primarily by Finance Minister Flaherty. Here is one of many possible examples. On November 9,2006, before the Commons Finance Committee, Flaherty was asked: “if we had maintained the status quo, was there any threat of it driving us into the red?” He said: “Over time, yes. There was a clear and present danger that Canada was going to become an income trust economy…” Ridiculous! The claimed tax revenue losses of $500 million in 2006, were a minute fraction of corporate income tax revenues of over $37 billion, and the current surplus of over $12 billion in 2006.

    A few minutes later, the Minister claimed that the “ erosion of the tax base [ said to be due to trusts ] would have meant that, to pay for… the health transfers, the post-secondary education transfers, the social transfers, and infrastructure, we would have had to tax more and more individuals and their families…” This apocalyptic rhetoric is false.

    6. A Zero Revenue Tax?

    The income trust tax is an extremely unusual tax.. No revenue will be collected, but the entities subject to the tax will disappear from public capital markets — which was the apparent point of the effort. The Department of Finance never gave any estimate of the amount tax revenue the new tax was expected to generate in any of its documents. This was most unusual; the officials evidently knew that no revenue would be collected because the tax did not apply until 2011 and by then there would no longer be any of the income trusts subject to the tax.

    7. Many Misleading Statements By the Minister

    Finance Minister Flaherty was the point man for the trust tax. He made endless misleading statements in support of the government’s action. He claim that the tax would result in $2 billion in revenue losses for the provinces over four years was unfounded as it failed to take into account the redistribution affects among provinces. Flaherty claimed that the proposed conversion of Telus and BCE to trusts would cause huge tax losses was false since both companies had already stated that their cash corporate income taxes would be negligible for the next several years.

    The Minister ( and an official!) testified on January 30,2007 that the drop in the market value of trust units immediately after the announcement of the new tax was evidence of so-called “tax leakage.” This is an elementary, but serious error. The drop was due to the introduction of the tax. Asset values and changes in taxes on those assets move inversely to each other. The fall in value would have occurred even if the tax rate on trusts had been higher than on corporations!

    8. Very Large Adverse Economic Consequences

    Most serious, was the evident failure of the Harper Government to anticipate the reasonably predictable adverse consequences of the tax. They have been huge (and are still being felt in September 2008). One of the most important induced effects of the tax has been (and will continue to be) a decline federal (and provincial) tax revenues due to the takeover of the devalued income trusts by entities which pay lower taxes than did the trusts, i.e., foreign interests, domestic-private equity funds, and domestic pension funds. With some leveraging, foreign owners, subject only to the 15% withholding rate, can reduce the effective tax rate to near zero.

    9. Punitive Remedy, When Better Alternatives Were Available

    The government’s “remedy” for the purported problems associated with the rapid growth of income trusts ( a 31.5% tax on the distributions of some publicly-traded trusts ) was far hasher than it needed to be. What were the practicable alternatives? a) Suspend the advance approval of proposed new trusts as the Liberals did on September 19, 2005 (recognizing that that such an action would likely cause a drop in the market price of income trust units due to uncertainty). – and simultaneously announce a transparent, consultative process to review the issue with a public report in three months; b) Declare a moratorium on new trusts – and simultaneously announce the same process; c) Impose a tax on income trust distributions at source of 7% to 10%. Witnesses made it clear that such a tax would be sufficient to actually level the playing field based on the effective corporate income tax rates—which vary by sector and firm; d) Apply alternative c), but make the tax refundable to Canadian residents. (This might violate the “national treatment” provision of NAFTA.); e) Lower the corporate income tax. The Liberals had started to lower the corporate income tax (and they increased the dividend tax credit) to reduce the gap between the two different legal forms of organization of businesses, trusts and corporations. On October 30,2007, Flaherty—but it came far too late for the trusts. announced much larger cuts in the corporate income tax. One expert, Dennis Bruce, pointed out that the various reductions since 2004 effectively eliminated the claimed “tax leakage’—even using Finance’s biased methodology.

    10. Closed Process—But Secret Lobbying by Certain Interests.

    There was no public consultation process in 2006 preceding the imposition of the 31.5% income trust tax like that which occurred in 2005 under the minority Liberal government. The growth of income trusts could have been temporarily halted in the fall of 2006 by doing what the Liberals did on September 19, 2005: suspending advance tax rulings for proposed trusts by the Department of Finance.

    There was secret lobbying in 2006 of the PM and Finance Minister by CEOs and company directors ( see Globe and Mail, Nov.2,2006 ). They wanted the trend to convert corporations to income trusts stopped due to the pressure of competition, and the reduced discretion they would have as head of an income trust. It appears that contrary arguments were not heard. How come only the opponents of trusts knew it was a good time to lobby?

    To summarize—the income trust tax is an outstanding example of how not to make tax policy. It resulted in a “train wreck” whose effects continue to reverberate—perhaps in the current election campaign.

  • anonymous

    Leadership? Here’s Ten Reasons Why the Tax on Income Trusts Was a Public Policy “Train Wreck”

    There’s considerable evidence to indicate the Harper government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax.

    By W.T. Stanbury (Professor Emeritus, UBC) Sept. 22,2008
    The Hill Times

    Introduction: Let’s start with Stephen Harper’s proposition that the central issue in the current election campaign is “leadership.” Effective leadership should produce good public policies. In this piece, I argue that there are ten reasons why the huge tax on income trusts announced on October 31,2006, and made into law on June 22,2007, is the greatest public policy “train wreck” in decades. It puts in question Mr. Harper’s leadership skills, and that includes his willingness to tell the truth. The tax may also be an albatross for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

    1. Harper Denied He Reversed Himself

    The income trust tax was an obvious reversal of repeated promises by Stephen Harper when he was Opposition Leader in 2005 and during the last election campaign. This reversal was widely perceived to be a serious ethical fault and Harper provided no convincing reason why such a reversal was justified. Harper did not lie because he did not intend to mislead the public with his promises. However, on November 1,2006 in the Commons, Mr. Harper did lie about what he said during the election campaign. The clearest statement was in the party’s election platform released on January 13,2006. “A Conservative government will…preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them.”

    During Question Period on November 1,2006, the PM said: “The commitment of this party ….. was a commitment to protect the income of seniors”. On November 2, the PM said, ”this government will not apologize for trying to protect the interests of individuals and a tax system that makes big business pay its fair share.” You decide.

    2. Huge Capital Losses

    The S&P/TSX Income Trust Index. closed on October 31, 2006 at 164.86. Two days later, the index was at 138.21. That represents a loss of $32.5 billion to the owners of trust units. Two weeks later the index was at 135.51 representing a loss of $35.6 billion. To the extent that the Trust Index later rose to higher levels does not diminish this loss for two reasons. First, some investors had to have sold shortly after the announcement—otherwise the index would not have fallen. The index reflects real transactions at real prices. Second, any subsequent increase in the index is the result of the myriad variables that affect market value, such as interest rates, and energy prices (particularly
    important to the energy trusts), and the further one gets from the initial announcement date the more one has to factor in the relative price movement of other indices to which the trust index is historically correlated, i.e., the broader TSX common share stock index and/or the energy subsector thereof.

    3. Using a Methodology Known to be Greatly Biased

    The Department of Finance’s methodology used to estimate the so-called “tax leakage” of $500 million for the federal government in 2006 omitted the present value of deferred taxes on the 39% on trust units held in tax deferral accounts like RRSPs. The officials knew as early as March 2004 and again in the summer of 2005 that their methodology was seriously biased toward generating revenue losses when income trusts were compared to regular corporations. When these deferred taxes are included, there was no “tax leakage.” Thus a serious omission may well have resulted in misleading policy advice by officials to their Minister, and the PM.
    4. An Orwellian “Tax Fairness Plan”

    The stated justifications for the 31.5% tax on income trusts were at best seriously questionable. The Government’s use of language in the so-called “tax fairness plan” was reminiscent of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

    The government made a great effort to frame the new 31.5% tax on income trusts as a matter of “tax fairness.” A frame is a conceptual structure intended to call up a wider/deeper set of constructs that will help to define a concept or issue in the way the framer desires. It makes use people’s prior modes of classifying information and issues; it takes advantage of embedded mental habits. The objective of such framing is to “ make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” The trust tax was bundled with three small tax cuts, two of which benefited seniors. But the benefits for seniors amounted to about 2% of their capital losses on trust units.

    An analysis of the new tax on some income trusts shows that the measure did not achieve “tax neutrality” as repeatedly claimed by the government. The tax added to the variegation in effective tax rates across types of business organizations, and by types of owners of these assets. The tax did not “level the playing field” as the Minister claimed so loudly and repeatedly. In fact, the tax was highly discriminatory— it exempted REITs ( which accounted for about 15% of the total market value of trusts on the TSX), and private flow through entities like those used by many law and accounting firms.

    5. Phony Crisis to “Sell” the Policy

    There is considerable evidence to indicate that the Harper Government created the appearance of a crisis or phony crisis to sell the tax. The government proceeded in secret during 2006, then made a dramatic announcement of strong action. Then it justified the move by claiming that there was a crisis which forced it to act as it did. The claims were couched in emotive rhetoric, primarily by Finance Minister Flaherty. Here is one of many possible examples. On November 9,2006, before the Commons Finance Committee, Flaherty was asked: “if we had maintained the status quo, was there any threat of it driving us into the red?” He said: “Over time, yes. There was a clear and present danger that Canada was going to become an income trust economy…” Ridiculous! The claimed tax revenue losses of $500 million in 2006, were a minute fraction of corporate income tax revenues of over $37 billion, and the current surplus of over $12 billion in 2006.

    A few minutes later, the Minister claimed that the “ erosion of the tax base [ said to be due to trusts ] would have meant that, to pay for… the health transfers, the post-secondary education transfers, the social transfers, and infrastructure, we would have had to tax more and more individuals and their families…” This apocalyptic rhetoric is false.

    6. A Zero Revenue Tax?

    The income trust tax is an extremely unusual tax.. No revenue will be collected, but the entities subject to the tax will disappear from public capital markets — which was the apparent point of the effort. The Department of Finance never gave any estimate of the amount tax revenue the new tax was expected to generate in any of its documents. This was most unusual; the officials evidently knew that no revenue would be collected because the tax did not apply until 2011 and by then there would no longer be any of the income trusts subject to the tax.

    7. Many Misleading Statements By the Minister

    Finance Minister Flaherty was the point man for the trust tax. He made endless misleading statements in support of the government’s action. He claim that the tax would result in $2 billion in revenue losses for the provinces over four years was unfounded as it failed to take into account the redistribution affects among provinces. Flaherty claimed that the proposed conversion of Telus and BCE to trusts would cause huge tax losses was false since both companies had already stated that their cash corporate income taxes would be negligible for the next several years.

    The Minister ( and an official!) testified on January 30,2007 that the drop in the market value of trust units immediately after the announcement of the new tax was evidence of so-called “tax leakage.” This is an elementary, but serious error. The drop was due to the introduction of the tax. Asset values and changes in taxes on those assets move inversely to each other. The fall in value would have occurred even if the tax rate on trusts had been higher than on corporations!

    8. Very Large Adverse Economic Consequences

    Most serious, was the evident failure of the Harper Government to anticipate the reasonably predictable adverse consequences of the tax. They have been huge (and are still being felt in September 2008). One of the most important induced effects of the tax has been (and will continue to be) a decline federal (and provincial) tax revenues due to the takeover of the devalued income trusts by entities which pay lower taxes than did the trusts, i.e., foreign interests, domestic-private equity funds, and domestic pension funds. With some leveraging, foreign owners, subject only to the 15% withholding rate, can reduce the effective tax rate to near zero.

    9. Punitive Remedy, When Better Alternatives Were Available

    The government’s “remedy” for the purported problems associated with the rapid growth of income trusts ( a 31.5% tax on the distributions of some publicly-traded trusts ) was far hasher than it needed to be. What were the practicable alternatives? a) Suspend the advance approval of proposed new trusts as the Liberals did on September 19, 2005 (recognizing that that such an action would likely cause a drop in the market price of income trust units due to uncertainty). – and simultaneously announce a transparent, consultative process to review the issue with a public report in three months; b) Declare a moratorium on new trusts – and simultaneously announce the same process; c) Impose a tax on income trust distributions at source of 7% to 10%. Witnesses made it clear that such a tax would be sufficient to actually level the playing field based on the effective corporate income tax rates—which vary by sector and firm; d) Apply alternative c), but make the tax refundable to Canadian residents. (This might violate the “national treatment” provision of NAFTA.); e) Lower the corporate income tax. The Liberals had started to lower the corporate income tax (and they increased the dividend tax credit) to reduce the gap between the two different legal forms of organization of businesses, trusts and corporations. On October 30,2007, Flaherty—but it came far too late for the trusts. announced much larger cuts in the corporate income tax. One expert, Dennis Bruce, pointed out that the various reductions since 2004 effectively eliminated the claimed “tax leakage’—even using Finance’s biased methodology.

    10. Closed Process—But Secret Lobbying by Certain Interests.

    There was no public consultation process in 2006 preceding the imposition of the 31.5% income trust tax like that which occurred in 2005 under the minority Liberal government. The growth of income trusts could have been temporarily halted in the fall of 2006 by doing what the Liberals did on September 19, 2005: suspending advance tax rulings for proposed trusts by the Department of Finance.

    There was secret lobbying in 2006 of the PM and Finance Minister by CEOs and company directors ( see Globe and Mail, Nov.2,2006 ). They wanted the trend to convert corporations to income trusts stopped due to the pressure of competition, and the reduced discretion they would have as head of an income trust. It appears that contrary arguments were not heard. How come only the opponents of trusts knew it was a good time to lobby?

    To summarize—the income trust tax is an outstanding example of how not to make tax policy. It resulted in a “train wreck” whose effects continue to reverberate—perhaps in the current election campaign.

  • Jamie

    Oh my god, you conservatives need to get yourself a sense of humour! I cannot believe people here are actually suggesting criminal investigation against what seems like an innocent light hearted prank. Jesus!

  • Jamie

    Oh my god, you conservatives need to get yourself a sense of humour! I cannot believe people here are actually suggesting criminal investigation against what seems like an innocent light hearted prank. Jesus!

  • Big Daddy

    Wait a minute… People who signed up for the Prime Minister of Canada’s emails had their email addresses sent to the Cosnervative Party attack site?

    Is that quite … legal?

  • Big Daddy

    Wait a minute… People who signed up for the Prime Minister of Canada’s emails had their email addresses sent to the Cosnervative Party attack site?

    Is that quite … legal?

  • http://streetadvisorconsulting.blogspot.com markalanwhittle

    I just got a reply from MTS. Apparently they have caught the culprit. In reply I asked if they would reveal the identity of this person and whether they would turn him in to the proper authorities. Stay tuned.

  • Honey Pot

    The liberals know they don’t have a chance. They are desperate and will now do anything to try and cause chaos. They have no understanding of just how obvious they are. The funny thing is, that Canadians have already decided it is going to be a Conservative majority, and they have tuned out. The election was over as soon as the word tax from the liberal camp was spoken Let them play their games, let the media record it. No one is paying any attention to them.

  • Honey Pot

    The liberals know they don’t have a chance. They are desperate and will now do anything to try and cause chaos. They have no understanding of just how obvious they are. The funny thing is, that Canadians have already decided it is going to be a Conservative majority, and they have tuned out. The election was over as soon as the word tax from the liberal camp was spoken Let them play their games, let the media record it. No one is paying any attention to them.

  • Jesse

    Is the listserve’s address included when you get an email from the PMO or would this guy have had to get it some other way?

  • Jesse

    Is the listserve’s address included when you get an email from the PMO or would this guy have had to get it some other way?

  • Beer and Popcorn

    I love how when the left does something like this that is meant to scare away voters with views that do not represent those of the PM it is an “innocent, light hearted prank”, but when the PM runs commercials which actually show footage of the Liberal convention it is a “mean spirited, republican style, draconian attach add meant to further the extreme right wing agenda of the PM.”

    Just highlights the difference between and the people behind the two options on the table I guess – I’ll leave it for Canadians to decide..

  • Beer and Popcorn

    I love how when the left does something like this that is meant to scare away voters with views that do not represent those of the PM it is an “innocent, light hearted prank”, but when the PM runs commercials which actually show footage of the Liberal convention it is a “mean spirited, republican style, draconian attach add meant to further the extreme right wing agenda of the PM.”

    Just highlights the difference between and the people behind the two options on the table I guess – I’ll leave it for Canadians to decide..

  • Casual observer

    Here’s two ideas, from the humble opinion of a casual observer, which would not only secure a Conservative majority, but would be large enough to even overtake the Lib-NDP coalition Layton has hinted at.
    1) that they will change the EI rules, so that working parents can now get 80% for EI, instead of 55%, for parental/maternity leave benefits, and even add some time to it (16 months?). This would address the huge problem of the unprecedented low birth rate in Canada, which is a huge problem for our near future labour force, and funding our future social program costs.
    2) on the subject of hand gun bans……just need to say something like….”if we thought for a minute that a handgun ban would be a solution, we’d do it in a minute – but it wouldn’t, because the thugs, and gang members who are committing these crimes have no respect for laws about handguns…”