Income trust critic to challenge Flaherty
A vocal critic of the Conservatives' 2006 change to the rules governing income trusts is going to challenge Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in his Ontario riding of Whitby-Oshawa.
Brent Fullard, the head of the Canadian Association of Income Trust investors, will carry the flag for the Liberals.
"This is 100 per cent my initiative, I approached them, I identified the riding," said Fullard, 55.
Fullard's nomination must be confirmed on Tuesday at a riding association meeting.
Fullard formed his group following Flaherty's Oct. 31, 2006, decision to alter the tax rules governing income trusts, removing much of the incentive for companies to convert from a corporation to an income trust.
Until Flaherty's Halloween announcement, trusts had been a booming sector, with many corporations joining the parade of firms converting to trusts. Two of the country's giant telecom companies — Bell Canada and Telus Corp. — had even announced plans in the summer and fall of 2006 to convert.
Even though Conservative Leader Stephen Harper vowed during the 2006 election campaign not to touch income trusts, Flaherty was faced with the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. His decision stunned the market, and billions of dollars of investors' holdings were wiped out
Although he started out as a critic of the income trust policy, Fullard said he was broadening his criticism of the Conservatives.
"There are lots of parallels to be drawn between income trust policy, and its false premise, and other issues taking place in the day-to-day affairs of this country," he told CBC News.
A Flaherty spokesperson said the Conservatives would not offer much comment until after the Liberals' riding nomination meeting.
Fullard is the executive managing director of Catalyst Asset Management Inc., a Toronto-based investment banking and advisory firm he founded in 2005.
Prior to starting up Catalyst, Fullard spent 20 years in the Canadian investment banking industry, including a stint as executive managing director and head of equity capital markets for BMO Nesbitt Burns.
With files from the Canadian Press