Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Only in Canada...

Elton John is getting married tomorrow. At least that is what the papers would lead you to believe. Elton and his Canadian partner David Furnish indeed plan to tie the knot, but they are not getting “married.”

Under Britain’s Civil Partnership Act 2004, same sex couples will be permitted to enter into civil partnerships beginning December 21, 2005. The act, however, says nothing about gay marriage. Nonetheless, the reviews from UK’s gay and lesbian community are generally positive.

Canadian-born film-maker Furnish said the act was "hugely significant" for society.

"It is one of the defining issues of our times," he said.

"And I applaud Britain for embracing the diversity of our society."

Here in Canada, Conservative Party of Canada leader Stephen Harper continues to be vilified for proposing essentially the same thing.

Only in Canada you say? Pity.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Smoking gun

The initial accusation that the Finance Department leaked inside information about imminent changes to the taxation of income trusts and dividends, while compelling, lacked any real evidence. In that context, Finance Minister Goodale's explanation that suspicious market activity was merely speculation was plausible, if not convincing.

All that has changed now that evidence has surfaced about a senior advisor in the Finance Department calling CARP, an advocacy group for Canadians over 50, to notify them of a policy announcement later that day with the unspoken understanding that they would get what they wanted on income trusts.

The chart below shows the S&P Canadian Income Trust Index (^GSPRTCM) rising in the second half of the trading day, particularly just before the close, relative to the overall TSX Index (^GSPTSE). The movement in some individual issues, where trading volumes sky-rocketed, is even more pronounced.

Notwithstanding recent backtracking by CARP, there is now enough smoke for the Ontario Securities Commission to investigate allegations of insider trading. Ralph Goodale has some explaining to do.

Where's the PM?

Last election, the Liberals tried to rebrand themselves as Team Martin or L'équipe Martin in Quebec. Despite their efforts, the strategy only had limited success. For some candidates such as Yolande Thibeault (see photo from the last election below), the stench of AdScam was simply too strong to overcome, as they went down to well-deserved defeat.

This election, the Liberals seem to be doing all they can to distance themselves from Paul Martin, as well as their own party. The vacillating, flip-flopping, Liberal leader is no longer the asset they thought he was. For example, the campaign pamphlet I received from local Liberal candidate Sarmite Bulte does not mention Martin's name at all, while the Liberal logo on the pamphlet is dwarfed by her name.

With unintended irony, the Liberals seem to be playing their own version of Where's Waldo? with a "where's the PM?" button on the front page of their site (h/t, Warren K). Mention of Paul Martin's name is typically several pages deep on the candidates sites I have visited. Some candidates don't even mention his name at all.

Somehow I think the Liberals are going to have a hard time playing the "Stephen Harper is scary" card when they are afraid of their own leader.

Monday, December 05, 2005

And why is that?

Duceppe...said he doesn't necessarily want to see a Conservative government led by Stephen Harper.

Gilles Duceppe and other Quebec sovereignists are salivating at the possibility of another Liberal minority or majority government. Such an outcome would be rightly viewed as a snub to Quebec and put in place a key winning condition for a future, successful referendum on Quebec independence.

Quebecers are deeply embarrassed by the sponsorship scandal. Not only does it reflect badly on the Liberal government, it reflects badly on them. That is why they will massively reject Paul Martin’s Liberals in the upcoming election.

Gilles Duceppe knows that if the rest of Canada re-elects the federal Liberals, his dream of an independent Quebec is at hand. Maybe it’s time for the rest of us to pull our heads out of the sand.