Saturday, November 26, 2005

Liberal's Real Crime of the Week

Lost in the whole fracas of the last couple of days, is the fact that the market leaped at the news that the government was lowering the dividend tax for corporations and reversed its public announcement that it was going to tax Income Trusts.

While the MSM and blogosphere are full of stories on the Harper comments on the Liberals being in cohouts with 'organized crime', this little bit of scandal was relegated to the back pages.

Barry Critchley writes in his Financial Post column yesterday;

"I was talking to some prominent lawyers and bankers and they were up there in Ottawa earlier this week and they were basically told this was going to happen," added the banker, who over the years has won his share of the deals that are up for grabs. "It's all over the street. All the people are talking about who had a heads up and who didn't." The events left the banker wondering whether Ottawa was interested in consultation or more interested in passing on inside information. "The government then tells a bunch of Bay Street insiders what it is going to do so they can profit." Clearly some people had better information than others about what has happening and there is only one place that information could have come from: the nation's capital.How else are we to explain the sharp jump in the price of income trusts over the past few days, a rise that climaxed on Wednesday, the day of the federal government's announcement that there would be no new taxes on income trusts. On Wednesday, the S&P/TSX capped trust index rose by 1.49%, with the bigger business trusts posting even larger gains. For the week ending Wednesday, the index was up by 3.61% .And how else to explain the action in the high dividend-paying stocks, such as BCE, on Wednesday. The stock, which hit a six-month low the previous day --jumped by 4.9% on Wednesday, on twice the normal volume.

CBC is finally reporting on this today on their website.

But trading in many trusts and dividend-paying stocks became much heavier than usual in the hour or two before the market's close on Wednesday, and share prices rose sharply.Forensic accountant Al Rosen said it looks to him that Bay Street knew the details of Goodale's announcement well before he made it. "Clearly, there was a leak between 2 [p.m. ET] and 4 [p.m. ET]," he told CBC News.

This is a very real organized crime, and the Tories said nary a word about.

Oh sorry the Harper did mention the words 'Income Trusts' in his non confidence speech, but with no reference to the fact that the market leaped on information provided in advance by the Liberals to their Bay Street Cronies.

That is the real scandal of this week.

But since it benefited Bay Street neither the Harper nor Monte Solberg were about to challenge the Liberals over this very real crime of insider trading especially since it was a Tax Break, something they have been ranting about for the last six months.

And clever Paul Martin created a smoke screen, with his faux outrage over the Harpers organized crime comments, with his threats to sue. Lost in the smoke was the Liberal insider trading leak.

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