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November 28, 2005
Insider Trading In Liberal Management?

The Canadian opposition wants an independent investigation into the Finance Ministry after a spike in trading for trusts occurred just as the government was expected to announce new policies governing trusts and their tax liabilities. The call for investigations came from both the Conservatives and the NDP:

As federal politicians prepare to hit the campaign trail, the Conservatives and NDP are calling for investigations of alleged insider trading arising from tax policy announcements by Finance Minister Ralph Goodale.

The Tories said Sunday they are writing to the Ontario Securities Commission to demand an inquiry, while the New Democrats want the matter turned over to the RCMP.

At issue are events last Wednesday, when there was a spike in trading in income trust units amid speculation that Mr. Goodale was going to change the tax rules that applied to them.

In fact, he left the trust rules unchanged. But he did announce new guidelines that will reduce personal income taxes on corporate dividends, a move intended to level the financial playing field between corporations and trusts.

Some commentators, including noted forensic accountant Al Rosen, have suggested the intensive trading in trust units that preceded Mr. Goodale's announcement may be an indication that advance word on the new policy leaked to some investors.

Anyone who has read the Gomery report would not expect to find such an intricate way of paying off potential Liberal supporters. After all, Adscam consisted of taking government contracts and awarding them to political and financial cronies in return for kickbacks, featherbedding on behalf of the party, and all sorts of illegal behavior. Insider trading would not only continue the payouts, but it would be harder to trace and harder to prove.

The longer the Liberals remain in power, the more opportunity they have to warp more of the public institutions for their private profit. Tonight's no-confidence motion gives Canadians the chance for at least a temporary respite.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 28, 2005 6:20 AM

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