The Election: Day 22

For the past week Martin has been playing the "Stand Up to Uncle Sam" card to the hilt,impugning Stephen Harper's patriotism in the process.Blogger Stephen Taylor has put together a plausible case that the the flare-up with the Americans was carefully orchestrated by the Martinites with ads filmed in advance/see Taylor

Harper is finally striking back, pointing out that it is "hypocrisy" for Martin to doubt anyone else's patriotism when he moved business holdings offshore for tax purposes.

"The problem with Mr. Martin's passion is it's all phoney," Harper said. "It's great to wrap yourself in the flag but when your own business interests are at stake you fly the flag of another country."

That's a reference to Canada Steamship Lines, the firm Martin transferred to his sons after becoming Prime Minister in 2003. The company has long had vessels registered in places like the Bahamas and Vanuatu to avoid paying higher Canadian taxes. According to CSL's website, the line — which employs 700 people, 500 of whom work in Canada — has 15 Canadian-flagged vessels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

It also manages an international pool of 18 ships, eight of which are wholly owned by European companies.

"Another five are indirectly owned by companies in which CSL Group holds a non-controlling 50 per cent stake. CSL Group and its subsidiaries wholly own just eight international ships, five of which are in the pool," the website says. "In addition, the Group participates in joint ventures which include four ships which are owned between 25 and 50 per cent — none of these joint ventures are controlled by CSL Group."

At least two bulk cargo vessels in the fleetwere built in 1996 at a Shanghai shipyard with lower-paid Chinese workers. Harper said voters appreciate the irony of a Canadian leader exploiting loopholes such as flying flags of convenience on ships registered to tax havens.

"We all know Mr. Martin's game. I don't think ... he's had a free ride in the sense that it hasn't been noticed. I'm not sure Canadians are fooled," he said, after a breakfast rally to 250 people in Victoria.

"When he gets up and waves (his arms) and does the windmill things and `I love Canada and this is my flag and you'll never take it away from me,' ... I think people know there's a fair degree of hypocrisy there."

Today Harper claimed that the federal Liberals in Quebec would like nothing more than a separatist government. Harper said that the Liberals are fighting a phoney war against separatists in Quebec hoping to distract voters from their own record of corruption. The Liberals would like to see the Parti Québécois form a government in Quebec so the Liberals could assume the mantle of heroes of national unity.

Campaigning in Toronto,Jack Layton wants an immediate boost in the gas-tax transfer to municipalities. He wants to immediately boost the transfer to five cents a litre.
The Liberal government currently gives 1.5 cents a litre. Mr. Layton says the hike would give towns and cities $1.4-billion extra each year for transit.

Meanwhile Paul Martin today released a plan to support the agriculture sector by handing millions of dollars to farmers. Many of the details included in the announcement are not new, but were introduced by the Liberal government before it fell on Nov. 28.

Included among the planks of the Liberal agriculture policy are:

a review of the Agriculture Policy Framework, guided by the so-called "Easter Report" written earlier this year by Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development Wayne Easter, beginning in 2006;
amendments to the Agriculture Marketing Programs Act (AMPA) in order to provide a previously announced $104 million in advances to the livestock sector;
a legislative amendment to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act that would provide $104 million for the livestock sector;
$5 million per year, previously announced, for the promotion of Canadian agri-foods products overseas;
the creation of "offset credits" for farmers who adopt low-till or zero-till practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
In addition, Martin said the extended lifetime capital gains exemption he offered small business owners earlier this week -- to $750,000 from the current $500,000 -- would benefit all Canadian fishers and farmers.

Martin's announcement also promised continued support and possible expansion for the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), which promotes sustainable rural economy, starting with a pilot project in B.C.

Martin also announced continued funding for conservation and green-cover incentives of $30 million per year after the current program expires in 2008, and $100 million over five years to improve broadband access to rural and remote communities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent election coverage! I've given up reading the paper to concentrate on following your blog.