Friday, November 28, 2014

Astroturf Illustrated!

Heh. After slagging off on the protesters on Burnaby Mountain for days for being "professional protesters", SunNews ran this headline banner reading "Ineffective Kinder Morgan Protests" under their friendly coverage of four huge pro-oil signs up on the mountain. 

But wait ... haven't we seen those counter-protest signs somewhere before?
Oh here they are
Back in May at the "No Enbridge!" protest on Sunset Beach in Vancouver, representing :  

CodyinCalgary's Canada Action 
"Full Value for Canadian Resources - Support Northern Gateway"

Just a couple of guys on a grassroots website with four counter-protest Canada Action banners big enough to block the view of the ocean.... and

The big banner guys above signed up earlier this year at the email-harvesting site, Power of Canada, part of a public relations campaign meant to mobilize the public called the Partnership for Resource Trade. It's hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

Power of Canada Advisory Council Members include  Perrin Beatty, Martha Hall Findlay, David Emerson, John Manley, Kevin Lynch, Ted Menzies, and reps from CAPP, TransCanada, Enbridge, Rio Tinto, Teck, Suncor, TransAlta, CD Howe, BMO, Asia-Pacific Foundation, Mining Association of CanadaPort Metro Vancouver, etc. etc. 

From the Power of Canada P4RT mission statement (italics -mine) :
"We aim to foster a favourable environment for policy decisions that enable responsible resource development and trade.We will do that by informing, energizing and mobilizing a broad coalition of Canadian thought leaders, stakeholders, small- and medium-sized businesses and informed Canadians in a countrywide fast-to-action, grassroots public education and advocacy campaign."
In May, CCC CEO Perrin Beatty offered a $2000 student scholarship for producing a video on the merits of P4RT and its objectives. Rule # 1
"In order to be eligible for the contest, students must be registered as full-time students as well as like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on Facebook, follow the CCC on Twitter, and subscribe to the CCC’s Youtube channel. In addition, students must sign themselves and five friends up on the PRT website: Power of Canada."

So I guess we can be expecting a lot more 
"fast-to-action grassroots" websites and banners in the near future.

P.S. I'm reliably informed that fake grassroots ad campaigns are commonly known in the adbiz as "blowjobs".

Here's one to get them started : We Heart Blow Jobs.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

TransCanada astroturfers

TransCanada has dumped its US pr firm Edelman 10 days after the Greenpeace leak of documents outlining their joint dodgy strategy to use third party front groups to aggressively attack opponents of the Energy East pipeline, and to do and say what “TransCanada can’t" :
"TransCanada immediately denied it had implemented those tactics, which were widely criticized."
The leaked docs - some adorned with the TransCanada logo - date back to May and include various tactics for targeting opponents like Council of Canadians using forty Edelman employees and nine TransCanada staffers.

TransCanada referred to the "controversy" as "a distraction" and said they would like a do over now please : "We are therefore starting a fresh conversation."

"In the current environment, we can't have the respectful conversation that we want to have with Canadians and Quebecers about Energy East," TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce said Wednesday in a release. h/t CBC

About Edelman's astroturfing, which they describe as "third party support" and "an echo chamber of aligned voices"...

Edelman's pointman for TransCanada "Grassroots Advocacy Vision" astroturf is Mike Krempasky from their DC office. As documented by Greenpeace, Mr.Krempasky - Tea Party promoter and co-founder of - previously had a pretty good run using fake grassroots paid bloggers in their folksy Wal-Marting Across America campaign before one was outed as working for the US Treasury and another a staffer at Washington Post.

"Krempasky’s Energy East “Pressure” team includes Brian McNeill ... director of opposition research for Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. McNeill made national news when it was revealed that he was one of three Edelman employees who were authoring all of the blogs ..." 
on yet another Wal-Mart fluffer campaign. Meanwhile ...
"Edelman was paid $51.9 million to run the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) public relations campaign, which has involved Edelman managing multiple websites and online advertising efforts asking officials to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, support tax deductions for the oil industry and expand access for drilling on public lands.
Central to this strategy is the pro-oil group Energy Citizens”, which was unveiled as an API-sponsored astroturf group by Greenpeace USA. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers recently launched its own version of Energy Citizens in Canada."
So despite CEO Richard Edelman statement in August in response to separate allegations regarding their work with climate change deniers that :
"We do not work with astroturf groups"
let's have a quick look at Energy Citizens Canada, launched by CAPP, and presumed sister site to the US Energy Citizens, launched by the American Petroleum Institute in 2009.

So far the Canadian version seems to be mostly about harvesting emails of future possible tarsands flufferbots.
As encouragement, the Spotlight on Energy Citizens page profiles Energy Citizens Brittany Allison and Hardave Birk.

Brittany Allison was "a Policy Researcher in the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa" and a "Research Officer in the B.C. Legislature in Victoria", prior to her work as Public Affairs Advisor for Fraser Surrey Docks LP, "working to gain federal approval for a coal expansion project".

Currently Ms Allison is Manager of the astroturf tarsands site, British Columbians for Prosperity
btw Is CBC Power and Politics regular Alise Mills still the "Media Relations Director" for BC4P?
Will she still write columns for 24 Hours, just bought out by PostMedia, with the bi-line :
"Alise Mills is a political commentator who speaks for British Columbians for Prosperity. Visit"

The only other Citizen Spotlight candidate so far is former president of University of Calgary Students Union, Hardave Birk, whose's bio notes he is legislative assistant to Senator Doug Black.

While in no way a reflection upon Mr. Birk, this seems as good a time as any to remind ourselves that prior to becoming Senator Black, Doug Black was president of industry lobby group Energy Policy Institute of Canada, or EPIC, where he worked with vice-chairs Bruce Carson, Gerry Protti and Daniel Gagnier on a national energy program representing their 38 energy member organizations, including TransCanada and CAPP.

Two years ago EPIC put out a presser taking credit for how they have shaped current Con policy on property rights, pipelines, public participation, and First Nations :
"Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced legislative changes that would put EPIC's recommendations into federal law. Regulatory changes within omnibus Bill C-38 reflect recommendations of EPIC surrounding regulatory streamlining." 
"You are the secret sauce," Doug Black once wrote to Bruce Carson, whose trial on illegal lobbying and influence peddling will not begin till September next year.

More Insider Tarsands Astroturf.  We are awash in the stuff.

Update : Energy Citizens Canada has just added another "Featured Citizen" to their Spotlight : Alishia Klein, Communications Coordinator at Canadian Natural Resources Limited.

Upperdate : Astroturf  Illustrated!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Joe Oliver, CFIB, and the Fraser Institute

FinMin Joe Oliver admitted last week that his department had outsourced government policy to the lobby group Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and further, had not done their own analysis of CFIB's work even though the lobby group represents the businesses the new policy was intended to benefit. The new CFIB/FinMin policy takes $500M from the EI fund and gives it to small businesses - ostensibly to create jobs.

CFIB wasted no time taking credit for this piece of government policy.

On their webpage CFIB shows this photo of CFIB President Dan Kelly at the government's "Jobs and Opportunities" dedecked lectern, with FinMin Joe standing demurely off to the side. 
A sidebar on the main page headlined "We Make a DifferenceVictories" boasts :
"Big breakthrough on payroll taxes: CFIB joined federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver to announce the creation of the Small Business Job Credit".

CFIB certainly has the right to flaunt their influence over Con policy. 

Two and a half years ago, they announced their success in lobbying the government "to make the Temporary Foreign Worker Program more responsive to the needs of employers", including a 10-day response time to LMOs, "a simplified online application process", and "a new more flexible wage structure". 

In fact, over the past four years from Nov 2010 to Nov 2014, Con MPs have quoted the CFIB more than 280 times in the House and in committee on everything from the Wheat Board to Canada Post to the temporary foreign workers program to federal budgets.

Here's a few from one week this past October :

With CEO Dan Kelly sitting on the Advisory Committee to the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the CFIB currently have 46 lobbyists listed to lobby 39 separate government institutions on 28 matters of policy for the year 2014, including "fair access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program" and "support for Bill C525 (An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code) that secret ballot voting should be mandatory prior to union certification."

At left, also from Press Progress, is the short version of the apparently joint $550M CFIB/FinMin EI policy. 
Estimated to create 25,000 person-years of employment over the next several years, this figure was later corrected by the parliamentary budget officer to 800 jobs at a cost of $687,500 per job.

However CFIB President Dan Kelly explains the whole jobs jobs jobs thing wasn't even the point :
"The job-creation benefit of it is essentially secondary to the fact that this is essentially an EI cut because employers and employees should not have to pay higher EI premiums than is needed to pay for the cost of the program. So this is essentially returning EI rates back to their break-even level."
No fault to the CFIB here - they're just doing their job for their guys, 109,000 small and medium Canadian businesses and franchises.

Perhaps notable though is that according to their Contact page, the CFIB Exec Vice President was formerly Director of Environment and Regulatory Studies at the Koch-funded Fraser Institute while the VP of Communications interned there.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Kinder Morgan: Taking the BY out of NIMBY

h/t Waterbaby

That's very good, isn't it? "Kinder Morgan has solved the NIMBY problem by taking the backyard".

I also liked his debunking of the attempt to de-legitimize protest itself - the argument that "protesters undermine the rule of law by claiming to speak for the whole community".

Hey, here's one now from the senior editorial board of the Vancouver Province!
Mountain mob don't speak for the rest of us

The Province senior editorial board wonders why the protesters are available to protest in the middle of the day and aren't at work "generating taxes", and whether the protesting "clever university professors" understand where their salaries come from. 
My personal fave here - Are their tents made from oil products? Oh, the hypocrisy! 
This one is akin to the argument that First Nations should only have 'preferential fishing rights' if they are restricted to using 14th century tools.

But then of course the protesters don't speak for you, Province editorial board, because you're already speaking for your editorial partner CAPP, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

And a bang up job you're doing of it too -  introducing Postmedia stories that "CAPP needs to bring to the forefront of Canadian consciousness".

Last month, backed by its major shareholder New York hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management, Postmedia added to its stable of CAPP-promoting opportunities with its purchase of Sun Media and 175 more newspapers and websites across Canada, including the 24 Hours daily. 
At left is the before and after effects of the buyout - just another day of tarsands-friendly media concentration in your backyard.

Fun story : Seven years ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry was pushing to build the Trans-Texas Corridor, a quarter-mile-wide swath of truck-only toll lanes, railway lines and multiple traffic lanes rolling from Mexico to the Oklahoma state border. The prime bidder was Cintra SA, Macquarie Infrastructure Group's partner in the Ontario Highway 407 ETR 99 year lease, of which Australia's Macquarie is the largest shareholder. 

To many Texan ranchers and farmers, Perry's superhighway just looked like a royal pain in the ass and opponents of privatizing roads came out against it in the thousands. All up and down the proposed route, ads and editorials critical of the proposal ran in the local newspapers. Macquarie bought those local newspapers out. All 40 of them. 
Update : Carol Linnitt : Canada’s Petro-Politics Playing Out on B.C.’s Burnaby Mountain

Meanwhile on BC's Burnaby Mountain, RCMP act as Kinder Morgan's private security force, protecting a foreign corporation against the municipality of Burnaby and the people protesting in a public park who actually live here.

Updates from Burnaby Mountain

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Arthur Finkelstein: "We have to convince Canadians to drink pig piss"

In his bestseller Party of One, Michael Harris cites a lecture the usually reclusive Republican Party backroom political strategist Arthur Finkelstein gave to a conservative free market private college in Prague in May 2011. I've uploaded it below. 

In introducing Finkelstein, aka "the merchant of venom", the college president lauds his work with Ayn Rand and his successful campaigns for Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu : 
"He pioneered the concept of independent expenditure campaigns which would operate as a third force in an election beyond the control of candidate or party officials." 
One of those "independent expenditure campaigns" in Canada was the occasion of the pig piss quote.  Finkelstein, Harris tells us, had been working in Canada with the the National Citizens Coalition since the 1980's, teaching them "the art of commando politics as practiced in the US" and the 15-second attack ad that will end a career.   Harris:
"In 1988, Finkelstein did a poll that alarmed the far right, suggesting that Canadians might be on the brink of electing NDP leader Ed Broadbent as prime minister. Broadbent stood at 40% in the polls. ... Since there were difficulties driving a scandal-ridden Brian Mulroney's numbers up, the NCC decided to bring Ed Broadbent's down. They spent half a million dollars doing it. .... [A]s [NCC's] Gerry Nicholls reported in his book Loyal to the Core, Finkelstein told his colleagues at the NCC, "We have to convince Canadians to drink pig's piss."       They did."
In the Prague lecture, Finkelstein explains this technique of "rejectionist voting." 

A few quotes transcribed from his lecture:
"The most overwhelming fact of politics is what people do not know rather than what they do know. And in fact in politics it's what you perceive to be true that's true, not truth. This is a very difficult concept for people who are rational, but for those of us who are engaged in politics, it has become the norm. 
... if I tell you one thing is true, you will believe the second thing is true even though you haven't a clue whether I'm telling the truth or not. That is the way politicians behave and a good politician will tell you a few things that are true before he tells you a few things that are not true because you will then believe all the things he has said, true and untrue.
I think we may have caught up with this one actually. When Calandra or Poilievre speak, no one pays any attention because it's all just deflection spin regardless of whether it's true or not. However when Steve or Airshow or Shamwow or Kenney speak, we wait patiently for the important untruth - the only reason they are speaking at all - to make its inevitable appearance.

Tribal or structural voting. 
"Most of an election is over before the first vote or even before the candidates are chosen because the electorate votes according to who they identify with and it doesn't move much. Structural voting takes up 60 to 90% of the vote so almost all of the votes are already decided before you get started which is why you shouldn't spend a lot of time trying to get votes. There is a difference however - there are campaigns where you try to get people not to vote for candidates. I call it rejectionist voting. .... 
In New York there are 2.7 million more Democrats than Republicans. You cannot win in New York as a Republican. But you can if you can create a negative vote against the Democratic candidate among Democrats and the Republicans are irrelevant." 
Finkelstein explains how he never once allowed his NY Republican candidate to go on tv : 
"He was completely irrelevant to the campaign. The campaigns were vicious and mean - we attacked the opponent over and over again and never showed our candidate. It was totally negative." 

Stephen Harper joined the NCC in 1997, resigning as its president in 2002 to run for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance Party. 

Emily Dee introduced us to Finkelstein's influence on Canadian politics three and a half years ago while Montreal Simon reminds us of four Finkelthink attack ads the Cons launched against Dion, Ignatieff, and Layton. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Brownbag Jesus - Mulroney, Del Mastro, and Dykstra

Jason Kenney's parliamentary secretary Rick Dykstra and Steve's former parliamentary secretary Dean Del Mastro yuck it up here at a Del Mastro legal fees fundraiser headlined by brownbagging Muldoon and subsidized by you as political contributions.
"These were funds that were raised separately and essentially moved through the EDA. They were put into the EDA and moved straight back out again " 
explained Alan Wilson, head of the Peterborough Conservative electoral district association, without once using the phrase in-and-out scheme to describe the apparently legal tax receipts they issued to the $600-a-plate donors after funneling them through the EDA in May 2013. Del Mastro's brother Doug sits on the board. 

Del Mastro, found guilty on three counts of violating the Canada Elections Act including faking documents to cover it up, will be sentenced along with his accountant to fuck all this Friday. He resigned his seat in the House of Commons two weeks ago in a move that allows him to retain his pension of some $44,000+ per year starting in the year 2025. 

Why, Mr. Speaker. Why?

In 1997, Brian Mulroney, PM of Canada from 1984 to 1993, received a $2.1-million defamation settlement from the taxpayers of Canada for unproven RCMP allegations that Mulroney had accepted bribes in the Airbus affair concerning government contracts. Mulroney testified under oath that he "never had any dealings" with arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, knew him only "peripherally" and they had a cup of coffee "once or twice." 

Ten years later, Mulroney admitted to having received three secret payments of $1000 dollar bills in brown paper bags from his business partner Schreiber. Totalling $225,000 to $300,000 and beginning when he was still a member of parliament, this represents a much smaller haul than he received from us for not having disclosed this information under oath ten years earlier .

Jason Kenney attended the above funder but not shown in photo.

Update : Peterborough Examiner takes a closer look at the numbers :
"The Examiner reported shortly after the dinner in 2013 that roughly 120 tickets had been sold.
Yet the financial returns for the riding association for 2013 show 53 people bought tickets. Of those, 23 people - including Brian Mulroney - bought two tickets, while the rest were single ticket-buyers.
It all adds up to 75 tickets sold. [Note : 76, actually]
It's unclear why the initial reports of 120 tickets sold do not agree with the riding association's financial return, and Wilson wouldn't comment."
Are 44 tickets missing payment and if so, were tax receipts issued for them?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Deep integration revisited

Hey, remember the Task Force on the Future of North America, brought to you by the US Council on Foreign Relations and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives back in 2005? Sure ya do. Co-chaired by blue dog liberal John Manley who also co-authored the resulting book:
"The Task Force's central recommendation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter."
OK, so they are a wee bit behind their 2010 deep integration schedule here.  And way way behind the Fraser Institute who in 1999 published a paper in favor of a continental monetary integration date - also for 2010.

The Case for the Amero: The Institutions of a North American Monetary Union
"On the day the North American Monetary Union is created--perhaps on January 1, 2010--Canada, the United States, and Mexico will replace their national currencies with the amero. ...  At the same time, the national central banks of the three countries will be replaced by the North American Central Bank. The board of governors of the North American Central Bank will consist of members from the United States, Canada, and Mexico chosen by their respective governments in numbers that reflect their economic importance and population." 
The Fraser Institute article credits Reform Party MPs Jason Kenney, Rob Anders, and Rahim Jaffer for "spearheading a debate in parliament over the issue of monetary union for North America" in 1999.

CFR, minus the help of John Manley and the CCCE this time, is apparently still in 'community-building' mode with the release of a new paper, North America : Time for a New Focus:
"The Council on Foreign Relations has convened an Independent Task Force on North America, co-chaired by David H. Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (and head of leveage-buyout corp KKR Global), and Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank (and Chair at Goldman Sachs).
The Task Force will provide a comprehensive analysis of North American integration in areas including trade, security, migration, energy, and infrastructure, and will generate policy recommendations designed to enhance U.S. and regional competitiveness and well-being."
“Now is the moment for the United States to break free from old foreign policy biases to recognize that a stronger, more dynamic, resilient continental base will increase U.S. power globally.”
Not really new or news though, is it? :
US bid to "shore up" Harper from the day he was elected in 2006

In his 2011 re-election campaign, Harper put out a CPC ad giving it a jobs jobs jobs edge : 
"so we commit to expanding our management of the border to the concept of a North American perimeter" :

The same month as Harper's 2011 speech, WikiLeaks released one of US Ambassador Paul Cellucci's 2005 cables from the US Embassy in Ottawa.  In it he suggests that "Canadian policy makers" support a "security perimeter" via an "incremental and pragmatic package of tasks" emphasizing "security and prosperity" (SPP!) to pave the way for a future North American "single market and/or single currency."  
He also notes that due to its benefits for "law-enforcement and data-gathering", "our governments may always want to keep some kind of land border in place". Excerpted :
"An incremental and pragmatic package of tasks for a new North American Initiative (NAI) will likely gain the most support among Canadian policymakers. Our research leads us to conclude that such a package should tackle both "security" and "prosperity" goals. This fits the recommendations of Canadian economists who have assessed the options for continental integration. While in principle many of them support more ambitious integration goals, like a customs union/single market and/or single currency, most believe the incremental approach is most appropriate at this time...
Canadian economists in business, academia and government have given extensive thought to the possible options for further North American integration.
Paradoxically, the security and law enforcement aspects of the envisioned initiative could hold as much - or more - potential for broad economic benefits than the economic dimension.
ORDER VS. PERIMETER: Even with zero tariffs, our land borders have strong commercial effects. Some of these effects are positive (such as law enforcement and data gathering), so our governments may always want to keep some kind of land border in place."
Nine years later, the only real difference is that this is starting to sound normal to us.

Update : From Thwap in comments : Diane Francis, Editor-at-Large at the National Post, has a new book : 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Lux Leaks in Canada

I thought we'd have a look at a few of the 35 Canadian corps mentioned by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in their Luxembourg foreign tax fiddling leaks but first ...

On Monday, Minister of National Revenue Kerry-Lynne Findlay proclaimed in the House: 
"One of our government's key areas of concern is the issue of international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance."
By Wednesday, courtesy of CBC, NDP Megan Leslie shot back : 
"An international investigation has revealed a Canadian crown corporation uses phony Luxembourg shell companies to avoid paying foreign taxes. So how are Canadians supposed to trust the Conservatives to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance when they're busy setting up shell companies of their own?" 
Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, responded that the Public Sector Pension Investment Board is "at arms length, arms length from the federal government." 
And just in case that wasn't clear enough, Joe Oliver leaned into the mike to crossly repeat "arms length". You can watch this above exchange in Montreal Simon's excellent account.

ShamWow Tony is trying to be at arms length from his own job here.
From the Public Sector Pension Investment Board website :
"Directors are appointed ... on the recommendation of the President of the Treasury Board.   Candidates for directorships are selected from a list of qualified Canadian residents proposed by an external nominating committee established by the President of the Treasury Board.   The Chair of the Board is designated from among the Directors ... on the recommendation of the President of the Treasury Board."
The board seem like a highly qualified and capable bunch, all appointed since 2006 for four year terms and variously coming from backgrounds in banking, insurance, and Vampire Squid Canada. 
It must get tricky though - one of them is on the board of Husky Energy Inc., a company 70% owned by Li Ka-shing and one of the companies profiled in the ICIJ leak. 

Here's a three minute primer on how these Luxembourg tax loopholes work : 

OK, on to a few of the Canadian companies mentioned in the ICIJ leaks, as written up by PricewaterhoseCoopers.

United Technologies Corporation (UTC) - multinational billionaire owner of Sikorsky Helicopters, Otis Elevators, Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines, etc etc - uses a Canadian company so small it's housed inside Pratt & Whitney to set up shell companies in Luxembourg and funnel money to them :
"HAMILTON STANDARD CANADA, INC., a company incorporated under the laws of Quebec (Canada) , with offices c/o Pratt & Whitney Canada ...
"In view of facilitating the cash redeployment out of Hamilton Standard Canada Inc., UTC envisages the use of a Luxembourg-based finance company.
Hamilton Standard Canada Inc. ("HSC"), a Canadian incorporated entity, acting as Limited Partner, will set up Arlington Luxembourg SCA ("Arlington") together with Berkeley Luxembourg S.a r.l. ("Berkeley"), acting as an Unlimited Partner.
Subsequently, Hamilton will transfer funds to Arlington in exchange for issuance of Mandatory Redeemable Preference Shares ("MRPS"). Arlington would then finance in its turn various subsidiaries of the group, as necessary.
Such entities will therefore be considered as Luxembourg tax residents.

Sinopec - 
"TIPTOP Energy Limited, a Hong Kong company, is a fully-owned subsidiary of SIPC. 
TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari, created on 10 October 2008, has incorporated a fully owned Canadian subsidiary (hereinafter referred to as "Bidco"). Bidco has launched a public takeover of Tanganyiak Oil, a Canadian listed and incorporated company. TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari's existing share capital is EUR 12,500. To fund the Canadian acquisition, TIPTOP Energy Limited plans to increase TIPTOP Luxembourg Sarl's equity from EUR 12,500 to about EUR 1 million and to change the denomination of the share capital at the same time to CAD. For the additional financing of its participation in Bidco, TIPTOP EnergyLimited will grant TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari an interest free loan in an amount of about CAD 2.1billion.
In case it is necessary, for dividends and net wealth tax, the double tax treaty concluded between Luxembourg and Canada also applies, should TIPTOP Luxembourg Sari hold at least a participation of 10% in the capital of Bidco since the beginning of its fiscal year (particularly, there is no requirement for a minimum taxation)."
UK's Doughty Hanson set up a Luxembourg shell, Luxco, loaned itself $3M and bought preferred shares in a Canadian solar inverter tech company. 
Only interesting because one of DH's former principals, who focused on Benelux markets, made the jump from DH last December to do private equity in the Toronto office of our other pension board, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Li Family Trusts   Mr Li Ka-Shing, who owns a good deal of Vancouver, loaned its Husky Energy shares to a Luxembourg shell through two of its Barbados companies. The shell was entitled to all Husky dividends for the period of the loan : "The securities lending agreement for [the shell] will be neutral both from an accounting and tax perspective." 

Meanwhile it was almost exactly one year ago that 270 unionized welders and pipefitters contracted to the Husky tarsands project were laid off and replaced by cheaper temporary foreign workers.
These are the corporate legal loopholes and tax avoidance schemes feeding the 1% and fueling growing wealth disparity and austerity bullshit - and there's no evidence any of it is illegal!
CNN Money
"Luxembourg is like a corporate version of extraordinary rendition, a place where companies can do their dirty work that would not be permitted at home," said Crawford Spence, professor of accounting at Warwick Business School.

The Tax Free Tour is an excellent doc on this.  To see what holding corps to account for their foreign tax fiddling actually looks like, skip to the 33:33 minute mark.

Dec 11 2014 Update : Bombardier among companies exposed for controversial Luxembourg tax plan
"Drafted for the company by consultants Ernst & Young, the proposal involved a complicated restructuring that would send $500 million from Bombardier's U.S. unit to a Luxembourg subsidiary in exchange for mandatory redeemable preferred shares, which are treated as debt.All payments made by the Luxembourg-based company are treated as interest payments and thus deductible and subject to low tax rates in the grand duchy.Bombardier can then repatriate the money to Canada in the form of dividends, which are not taxable under a tax deal between Canada and Luxembourg.
Bombardier has been the recipient of millions of dollars in federal and provincial subsidies to boost the aerospace industry."
Upperdate : 28 year old Antoine Deltour, LuxLeaks leaker and former PwC auditor, is being prosecuted by Luxembourg for theft, violating secrecy laws, and violation of trade secrets.
Fuck you, Luxembourg.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Eat the banksters

Between September 2008 and August 2010, Scotiabank received a $25 billion bailout amounting to 100% of the bank's value - or as Steve and Jim preferred to call it at the time : "liquidity support" ***.

Last year Scotiabank made a record $6.7 billion in net profit and CEO and president Brian Porter netted a total compensation package of $6,902,242 for the same year.

Nonetheless, Scotiabank announced yesterday it will cut 1,500 jobs, including about 1,000 in Canada.

Aren't you glad you moved your bank account to a local credit union as soon as you heard about their use of temporary foreign workers over Canadians?

Meanwhile, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz - estimated salary for 2013 of $436,100 – $513,000 - suggested that unemployed Canadian youth should work for free to pad out their CVs if they can't find paying jobs .

Kids in the Basement Should Take Unpaid Work, Says Poloz
"The Bank of Canada estimates about 200,000 young people want to work or work more, and Poloz said they may be scarred by prolonged unemployment that prevents them from moving out on their own. “I bet almost everyone in this room knows at least one family with adult children living in the basement,” Poloz said."
Poloz did not mention that "scarred" Canadian youth suffering twice the unemployment rate of the general population are having to compete for jobs with a global market of temporary foreign workers encouraged by the same cabinet that approved his Bank of Canada appointment. 

Nor did he mention that an average student debt of $25,000 also likely precludes moving out of the basement, should your parent(s) be fortunate enough to have one from which to subsidize business with your free employment.  
Marginalised communities, people with low-income backgrounds, and single parents are less likely to be in a position to assist their youth to upgrade their education to a marketable skill so that they will be in a position to compete with the 285,000 "higher calibre immigrants" Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander intends to import next year.

Yeah, you pretty much have start off rich, Poloz did not exactly say.

*** During the 2008 to 2010 crisis of confidence in global credit markets, "liquidity support" granted to Canadian banks was a pre-emptive bailout relieving them of the necessity of having to sell off assets to pay down their debts.  

Blog Archive