Sunday, November 05, 2006

Income Trusts: Harper's "National Energy Program"

It's rare that you pass through any political discussion in Alberta, tell someone you're a Liberal, and not get the usual mouth-foaming seething angry comments about the NEP, Trudeau, and Liberals in general. There are Albertans that were never directly hurt by it, who talk about the NEP like it was the boogey man, or maybe a curse brought to them by the Devil himself... (regardless of how painfully obvious it is to any non-foaming-at-the-mouth person that a global recession was more to blame for Alberta's early 80s woes than any federal policy designed to keep the nation running).

For decades the "mouth-foamers" couldn't stop their furious hateful rants - I mean, you gotta see one of these folks - you honestly would think they need a straightjacket. Now, it appears PM Shrub has given the rest of Canada (and a lot of Albertans) something new to seeth over... the whole income trust scenario.

Now, we will need to put this into perspective: the global economy is doing quite well right now (with the exception of some key players - like the US), so we probably aren't going to see a whole lot of bankruptcies due to this. Still, thousands of people stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was sad to see them on TV with their woeful stories. A lot of people are very upset. Funny thing is a lot of these folks are Albertans.

One thing is for certain - Liberals, by our very nature, tend to be a lot less likely to be raving seething, or "angry". So while an Eastern, Ontario-based company's moves led to Harper's quick "fix", it likely won't lead to the blanket dislike we saw in Alberta. As a matter of fact, Harper's henchmen probably never even realized they were punishing the oil barons of their "home province" more than some Eastern corporation...

Will the income trust issue become a major election matter? Will it remain on people's minds for years to come? It remains for history to tell. At the very least we can expect a lot of (formerly) wealthy Alberta Conservatives to donate a lot less (if anything) to the federal Cons in the upcoming election. Good for us.


GreenNeck said...

I predict the Income Trust reversal will be quickly forgotten. This guy explains it better than I would:

Most seniors didn't own income trust stocks, but will welcome the income-splitting just introduced by the Tories.

You seem to imply the NEP was a non-event, but people won't recall non-events 25 years later. Just like they won't recall the income trust thing.

VanLib said...

The funny thing is that the income trust decision is good policy.