Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Trustscam: Brison Springs A Leak

Some well-connected insiders made a lot of money after being tipped off about former finance minister Ralph Goodale's pre-election decision not to raise taxes on income trust dividends.

Speculation had the leak coming from Goodale's office; now it appears Scott Brison may have been the leaky pipe dripping all over Bay Street:

TORONTO and OTTAWA — The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has turned over an e-mail received from Liberal MP Scott Brison to police and regulators as part of a probe into the income-trust controversy that dogged the Liberals in the recent election campaign, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Sources said the former public works minister, a potential contender for the Liberal leadership, sent an e-mail to one of CIBC's employees the day before Ottawa announced its much-anticipated policy on income trusts last November, in which he suggested the recipient would likely be pleased by the decision.

The bank did not learn of the e-mail until after the federal election campaign began, but when it did, it launched an internal review of its trading activity in the lead-up to Ottawa's announcement. The sources said the review did not turn up anything unusual, but CIBC still decided to bring its report to the attention of the RCMP and the Ontario Securities Commission.

Trading of income trusts spiked considerably on Nov. 23, the day former finance minister Ralph Goodale unveiled his policy on the booming sector, prompting speculation that there may have been a leak from the federal government.

Soon after, the Mounties launched a criminal investigation into whether news of Ottawa's plans had somehow found its way into the stock markets and fuelled improper trading.

Sources said Mr. Brison sent his e-mail on Nov. 22, the day before the decision.

Don't forget that while still a sitting PC MP, Brison was also a vice-president at Yorkton Securities, and as plugged into Bay Street as anyone in an economic portfolio. He'd know who to tip off, when, and how.

The timing of this announcement could not be worse for Brison, as he prepares to mount his Liberal leadership bid. Which may have been the whole point of this leak to the press about the leak inquiry's look into Brison leaking.

Time to call the plumber.

Source: Globe and Mail


Platty said...

Mr. Brisons loose lips seem to have sunk his leadership bid, whether he had inside info or not, his decision to send this e-mail was an extremely poor one.

And you used the word "leak" too much!! Now I have to go take one....:)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brison's leadership bid has just ended. The Liberals need a leader who shows good judgement. This was not good judgement and no matter how Brison dissects the email etc. he broke his Privy Council oath by commenting on sensitive government policy before it was announced. Criticizing environment policy on the opposition benches is what he deserves and shows how the party views him. He can run but he cannot hide and the party has taken note.

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Get real, Liberals!

Harper and his New Tories are doing a wonderful job of slow-motion implosion on the ethics side, which Harper rode to victory on.

The next leader of the LPC should not have any ethics-related baggage which Harper can campaign against.

Brison will make a good target for the New Tories who successfully imported the US neocon “framing” tactic during the recent election. They framed the election as a rejection of corruption, with Harper being Mr Clean. And they won on that framing. Imagine how Harper would frame Brison …. The New Tories would hang two millstones around his neck: either he was involved in tipping a banker off about the income trust change, or he was incredibly incompetent for a senior cabinet minister in exchanging those kinds of emails with a banker. In both instances Harper will claim that it is “business as usual” with a Liberal Party which clearly has not learned anything from the spanking administered to it by the voters. Either tag probably will be enough for Harper to resurrect his Mr Clean image, and move on to a minority government.

Stronach has the weakness that she takes away from the LPC the ability to hammer Mr Clean on his MP-switcheroo tactics and arrogance in claiming imperial powers as prime minister. She also is a relative newcomer to the LPC and open to claims of Liberal-of-convenience. So she, too, is highly vulnerable to New Tory framing.

Get real for another reason: the way Harper is carrying on, another election could come well before the LPC have chosen a new leader. In that case, guess who will choose the leader he wishes to run against? You got it – Mr Clean. Imagine the framing opportunities if he can go through a list with Brison and Stronach on it and hammer away at them as his chosen targets! Be handing him a majority government on a platter.

Politics is about power, and about reality, as much as about idealism. It is foolish to start off the next campaign (against a US-style perpetual campaigning party such as the New Tories now are) by making yourself vulnerable.

Time to move on to other candidates, who come to the table with less baggage or no baggage. The next Liberal leader should be the Mr or Ms Clean, in contrast to a tarnished Harper.

Time for Brison and Stronach to gracefully exit from the leadership contest.

Anonymous said...

So come on then, Curiositykilled thepretentiouslongname; who exactly is the ONE Liberal with no ethics baggage?

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Hillary-Lite ...

I would wager a friendly bet that the next leader of the Liberal Party will not be Belinda Stronach. For the life of me I cannot understand the reason so many seem to favour her as leader of the party and probable next Prime Minister. She is a fresh face, at least in the Liberal benches, but if you compare her with Hillary Clinton, you soon see the differences, to her disadvantage:

Issue: Hillary Belinda
Female Yes Yes
Wealthy Yes Yes
astute Yes Unproven
experienced Yes No
principles Yes Unproven
Small-l-Liberal Yes, but wavering ... No
Charismatic Apparently, to the faithful No
Electable as
leader of
country No No

Stronach seems to me to be a flash-in-the-pan, Hillary-lite contender. I would expect her to show well in the first round of voting at the Liberal leadership contest but then to fade while another candidate emerges.