Saturday, November 04, 2006

Gloria In Extremis: Shattered Trust

Whenever there's news that a member of the Conservative Party is feeling even slightly disgruntled about the direction of the government and the party, Gloria Galloway is right there, rushing to the scene, ready to churn out an article that suggests the beginnings of her long-expected leadership revolt.

And with the decision to tax income trusts, she doesn't disappoint:

Sean Ahern helped organize a $500-a-plate brunch last Sunday to raise money for the Conservatives in the Montreal constituency of Westmount–Ville-Marie where he was riding association president.

Yesterday, in response to the government's decision to tax income trusts, he tore up his party membership.

The Conservatives have targeted Quebec in their drive to win the seats that could give them a majority in the next election; Prime Minister Stephen Harper will announce just outside Montreal tomorrow that his government is promising to help fund highway construction in the province.

But Mr. Ahern is spitting mad, and he says there are lots of people like him — both in Montreal and across the country — who will make their voices heard at the polls.

“If the Liberals promise to leave things the way they are for existing unit holders, I'll vote for them. I've never voted for a Liberal in my life. But I will vote for them,” said Mr. Ahern, a financial planner in his 60s who has been a Conservative party member since he was 16.

“There will be hundreds of thousands of people who will never forget this. Because every day you look at your bank balance and you say, ‘those sons of bitches.'”

In a long and angry letter yesterday to the Prime Minister, Mr. Ahern said the government's actions on income trusts this week have “permanently” reduced his net worth by a “substantial” amount. Neither the increase in the seniors tax credit, nor the plan to allow pension-income splitting between spouses — both of which were announced in conjunction with the income-trust changes — will compensate for the loss, he said.

To summarize:

The president of a riding association where the Conservatives have less than zero chance of electing an MP in our lifetimes put all his nest eggs in the income trust basket and will vote Liberal if the Grits promise to put the eggs back together again.

Mind you, we don't know how much Mr. Ahern has lost--but why quibble over such minor details as actual dollar figures?

More than likely, if he is a financial planner imprudent enough to risk most of his own money on one form of security, he probably convinced his clients to do the same.

So no doubt his clients have been burning up the phone lines screaming at him for losing their money on his promises of infinite income trust wealth.

This is not a story about a disillusioned life-long Tory reluctantly abandoning the party over a crisis of conscience, but another investor looking for someone else to blame for his losses.

Source: Globe and Mail


Alberta Girl said...


Kitchener Conservative said...

Don't forget Gloria's husband works for the Liberal Party [Mark Dunn].

Is it any surprise that the Liberals are crying about Income Trusts and this story appear in the Globe

SUZANNE said...

If that's all it takes to quit a party...

I mean, if he's ready to quit the party over one move, in his 40+ years of voting conservative...there's more to this story.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good post. Gloria Galloway would seize upon anything to discredit the government.

Still there were a lot of angry party members out there. You hit somebody's investment portfolio in a big way, and they're not going to take it philosophically.

Steve said...

I suspect this guy put his clients heavily into trusts and quit the party to save face.

Financial advisors and planners have a fiduciary duty to ensure their clients have diversified portfolios. If, as a result of his advice, his clients put too many eggs into the income trust basket, he probably deserves to have his license or professional accreditation removed.