Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Since the ol' browser tabs need some clearing out...

- Tom Bradley comments on how the HST will affect the financial sector:
Canada's regulatory patchwork, cut up by geography, product type and ancient history, has already inadvertently shaped how investment products are designed and sold. Structured products, for example, fall between the regulatory cracks and have been given freer rein to make marketing claims and obscure their fees and risks. A whole industry has been built around this regulatory arbitrage (playing one off against the other).

The HST will distort the industry more broadly, however, because some financial services are HST-able, while others are not (Note: The tax experts I consulted with are cringing at the simplification). The relative competitiveness of every product on the shelf will be affected, some good, some bad. The inequity lies in situations where there are products that are indistinguishable as to their objectives, risks and underlying investments that sit on opposite sides of the HST line.
- Devin points out what Stephen Harper used to consider contempt of Parliament until he decided to engage in it himself.

- Michael Geist makes Tony Clement's weird decision to point to a frequent critic of his government as the leading authority for those interested in copyright issues into all the more of a head-scratcher.

- And of course there's the latest from Brian Topp's series on the progressive coalition - with this instalment detailing the negotiations between the Libs and the NDP on the composition of a coalition government. For those of us who remember the outcome, it's especially remarkable that the NDP seems to have ended up getting more than it asked for originally: six seats in a 24-member cabinet along with six parliamentary secretary positions, rather than eight cabinet seats alone.

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