Does It Have Legs?

My question: does this story have legs?

As Warren K. (who deserves a big hat-tip for this) has said, sometimes (often?) the coverup is worse than the original story. What is truly baffling is ever-changing story from the good people at the Department of Finance.

A (very brief) recap:

  1. This all came about because of Ralph Goodale's early Christmas present, in the form of increasing the tax credit on corporate dividends and not messing about with income trusts.
  2. According to this story, from last Wednesday, the associate executive director of "Canada's Association For the Fifty-Plus" (confusingly known as "CARP"), one William Gleberzon, said that he was called by "a senior policy advisor" in Goodale's office on the day of the announcement and told that something big was on the way.
  3. Exactly what was coming was apparently left unsaid, but the implication was that it would be good news for CARP members.
  4. Problem: Announcements such as this are made after the markets have closed for the day, and everyone is to be told at once. Otherwise, people who are in the know could make a tidy bit of money, while others would be left behind.
  5. Yesterday (Thursday), CARP and Gleberzon issued a press release, which said that CARP knew nothing in advance, and that this was all mischief-making on the part of that charming scamp, Warren Kinsella.
  6. So, the CTV goes back to Gleberzon, and gets the story that I originally linked to at the top of this post. It's a doozy.
  7. In the course of his interview, he changes his tune from "nobody called me" to "well, except for the finance ministry's communications director, John Embury." {not exact quotes}. Apparently, Embury had already admitted that he called Gleberzon.
  8. The story now goes that Embury gave Gleberzon a "heads up" that CTV and perhaps others would be sniffing around.
  9. Embury, for reasons that baffle me, then proceeded to tell CTV's Robert Fife that Gleberzon was "old and confused."
  10. Gleberzon - who, let's remember, is involved with a seniors' organization - did not exactly appreciate being compared with this guy. Apparently, Embury has since apologised.

Now, we still may not have a "smoking gun" - proof that anyone from the Dept of Finance briefed investors and others in advance. But some Bay Street characters have said that they were tipped off, and invested accordingly.

The details can be a little hard to follow, especially to those of us who are pretty dimwitted when it comes to investments, etc.

But giving preferential treatment to your friends, and doing a sloppy job of covering it up? That is something pretty much anyone can get.

I don't know what, if anything, will come of this. It could get burried alive in the back pages. On the other hand, if CTV keeps on digging up juicy stories like the one above, its competitors could get into the act, too.

And if the Ontario Securities Commission, which is supposed to investigate unusual stock-trading activity and the like, gets in on the act, there could be even bigger trouble for the Libs.

Note that I'm focusing on the political fall-out of all of this. I don't practice securities law, and those that do would be in a better position to say what, if anything, has been done wrong from a legal point of view. As far as I can tell, nothing bad has been proven in a court of law. But you would think, after Gomery, that the Libs would have taken great pains to be super-squeaky-clean on things like this in a political sense. If it turns out someone in the Ministry improperly tipped off anyone as to Goodale's announcement, heads should - and hopefully will - roll.

In any event, this is a story that deserves to be told - so if you have a blog, and you haven't referred to this, you may want to. I wouldn't exaggerate and say that the Libs have been found guilty of a criminal or even regulatory offence - but I would point out that a somewhat well-known media outlet called "CTV" has found a few interesting stories to tell.

More later.


At 12:00 p.m., Blogger Len Kutchma said...

CARP and Gleberzon may or may not have any involvement - I don't know. But what I do know is that someone said something to somebody. How else can we explain the big spike in trading that preceeded Goodale's announcement? How else can we explain this story from Bloomberg. (note the timestamp) Additionally, CTV News claims that several credible sources from within financial circles have admitted to hearing advance info.

At 2:02 p.m., Blogger PGP said...

I've been on top of this story since the first minute Ralphy G. pulled his stunt with a comment about developing new policy on taxation for Income Trusts! Months ago!

The fact is that he should never have said ANYTHING! about the policy in the first place.

Since that initial gaff there has been billions of dollars lost to investors. All because the fool and his LIberal cronies don't know what the F**K they are doing.

So why be surprised... that as things develop there is more incomptence and lack of respect for ethics?

But....mark my words! Do not expect that anyone will ever face criminal prosecution. It is not illegal in Canada to leak government policy!
Unethical? YES! Prosecutable? NO!
Much as I wish it were!!!


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