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Thursday, May 27, 2010 

Why Is Harper Providing 'Corporate Welfare' To Oil and Gas Companies?

We used to call it 'corporate welfare'. Stephen Harper and his Conservatives call it a 'subsidy'. It seems to me that the bottom line for most Canadian oil and gas companies is healthy enough to do without tax dollars from 'Joe & Mary Average'.

Conservative political dishonesty shines through on this story. Harper refuses to comment on it ... and Finance Minister Flaherty has put duct tape across his lips when it comes to comment.

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government sidestepped questions Wednesday about whether it will cancel specific incentives and subsidies that favour oil and gas companies as part of a commitment on the agenda at next month's G-20 economic summit in Toronto.

Although a leaked internal memorandum from the Finance Department obtained by Canwest News Service has recommended a list of programs that the government should eliminate in order to show leadership and honour a G-20 commitment made last year, Harper dismissed criticism from Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton that he ignored the advice.

"Canada is a world leader in the elimination of these subsidies," Harper said in the House of Commons. "Compared to other countries, we have virtually none. I am not sure what specific subsidies the leader of the NDP is talking about."

The memorandum, prepared for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and marked "secret," outlined two existing tax incentive measures for exploration and development (the Canadian exploration expense and the Canadian development expense), as well as a sanctioned tax shelter (flow-through shares), as possible candidates to be eliminated by the government in order to honour the commitment made at a G-20 summit last year."

-Calgary Herald

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