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CMHC officials lied about possible home equity tax

Homeowners currently do not pay tax on the sale of a primary residence.

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Officials with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation lied in a social media campaign to conceal their research on a home equity tax, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Access To Information records this week disclosed by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show the agency, and its CEO Evan Siddall, withheld details of research into Canadians who “get rich” on home ownership, and sought to discredit Blacklock’s reporting on the tax study.

Records show Siddall specifically contacted researchers to produce a study on home equity taxation.

“I like the idea,” Siddall wrote in a May 22, 2019 email.

“Very worthwhile.”

Homeowners currently do not pay tax on the sale of a primary residence. The Canada Revenue Agency since 2016 has required tax filers to report the sale of a primary residence under threat of an $8,000 fine even though sales are not taxable.

Blacklock’s last July 17 revealed CMHC awarded $250,000 to researchers at the University of British Columbia to study taxation of home equity.

Then Siddall and his staff at the time told the Wall Street Journal the story was “misleading,” and assured a Yahoo Finance reporter the article was “not accurate.”

Siddall went even further in posts on his Twitter account, calling the story “untrue and poor reporting,” “not true,” “horrible reporting” and “untruths by substandard news outfits without checking the facts,” “inaccurate, “a non-story” and “insistent, argumentative reporting that ignores the facts.”

“CMHC is NOT spending $250,000 to consider any tax on housing,” Siddall tweeted last July 20.

“I know you got this info from media sources. You’ve been a victim of irresponsible reporting.”

But despite the denials, CTF records confirmed a home equity tax was the primary focus of the research despite CMHC denials.

CMHC in one briefing note wrote: “Why deliver? Remember purpose. Before COVID-19 housing costs had shot higher than many could afford. Why? In part because we allowed them to, knowing many Canadians bank on profits from home ownership to secure their financial future and gain wealth.”

“We must unravel this pre-existing catch-22,” wrote staff.

“We need to rethink the policies that, by encouraging the financialization of housing, push the cost to buy or rent a home even further out of reach.”

Professor Paul Kershaw of UBC, the lead researcher, in a memo to CMHC spelled out the equity tax plan.

“Currently there is an inequitable and uneven playing field,” wrote Kershaw.

“One key source of this intergenerational inequality is tax policy that privileges home ownership and shelters housing wealth, especially in principal residences, from taxation

The research “will examine tax and other public finance policy opportunities to level the intergenerational playing field.”

Kershaw in a June 19, 2019 email to CMHC complained homeowners were trying to “get rich,” and Parliament was “sheltering much housing wealth from taxation.”

Kershaw added: “There is a potential for a tax shift.”

The taxpayer-funded research has not been released.

Kershaw in a 2019 podcast with CMHC’s Siddall complained that “some people won the lottery” on home ownership.

“People who bought homes decades ago now, especially in our big cities, can be living in multi-million dollar properties,” said Kershaw.

“Amazing, eh?” replied Siddall. “Amazing.”

“Home ownership has become a driving source of inequality in Canada,” said Kershaw.

“For sure it has,” replied Siddall.

Kershaw nor Siddall did not comment.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Jivraj admits planting fake stories with Press Progress, CBC

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm of the NDP.

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Western Standard News editor Dave Naylor has spent two weeks investigating the story of Caylan Ford. Ford seemed a rising political star – intelligent, photogenic and a working mother. She was recruited by Jason Kenney to run provincial for the UCP.

Ford seemed to be on the path to stardom when she was shot down in flames by rumours and planted news stories in a NDP-linked news site.

Ford blames one man for her downfall – Kiram Javrij. 

Over the next week, Naylor will tell their story backed with court documentation and interviews.

Karim Jivraj, under testimony during a deposition, detailed just how complex his undercover harassment of UCP candidate Caylan Ford, and other women was.

Under withering questioning by Ford’s Lawyer, R.E. Harrison, Javrij admitted to planting fake stories with the NDP-linked Press Progress and the CBC.

In October 2018, Jivraj wrote a letter accusing Ford of committing “residency fraud” and claimed she was ineligible to stand as a candidate for election in the riding of Calgary Mountainview.

“He asked nine members of my constituency association board to sign the letter, but did not sign it himself,” said Ford in an exclusive interview with the Western Standard.

“Then he sent it to the media, and invited journalists to report on his allegations. Press Progress did.”

The following is a portion of the Q and A between Harrison and Jivraj.

Harrison: You say that you helped author the letter?
A: Yes.

Harrison then ask Jivraj who else on the board helped author the letter to then UCP Executive Director Janice Harrington.

Q: Now, after authoring the letter, you circulated it to the other board directors to seek their signatures?

A: Yes. I — I and others circulated it.

Read Javrij’s letter to the Mountainview board

Harrison then got Jivraj to admit he didn’t sign the letter he letter. Jivraj then detailed how he was the one who sent the letter to the NDP-linked news website, Press Progress.

Q: The October 13, 2018, article from Press Progress is entitled “UCP Constituency Association Accuses Jason Kenney’s Handpicked ‘Parachute Candidate’ of Breaking Party Rules.” Do you see that.

A: Yeah.

Q: Do you recognize this article?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, do you know who sent the October 1, 2018, letter to Press Progress?

A: I believe I did.

In November 2018, Jivraj purchased Google attack ads on searches of Ford’s name. These ads included a fabricated quotation, which Jivraj attributed to Ford. Harrison asked Jivraj who bought them.

A: I’m not sure if “purchase” is the right word. I received a free $50 budget on Google Ads, and so that was used for this. So there was no monetary investment.”

Q: Okay. So these ads were posted by you?

A: Yes.

In November 2018, Jivraj used a pseudonymous email account to send defamatory statements about Ford to 1,300 of her electors. The emails included another fabricated quotation which he attributed to Ford.

Q: You see the last attack ad has a quote: “My family has lived in southwest Calgary for generations. I could never live in north Calgary. Anywhere above the Bow is basically a suburb.” Do you see that quotation?

A: Yes

Q: Did you create that quotation?

A: I don’t believe so.

Q: Where did you get that quotation from?

A: I’m not sure. I think Ms. Ford may have said something along those lines when I was looking for a place in Calgary.

Q: You’re aware that Ms. Ford has lived in the neighbourhood of Sunnyside?

A: I became aware of that afterward.

Q: And why did these attack — why did these ads link to Press Progress?

A : That’s a good question. I don’t know.

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm for the NDP.

Q: Did you email or call PressProgress to disclose this conversation?

A: I can’t recall. I don’t — I can’t recall if I reached out directly to Press Progress. I think the — what initiated the cycle of events was my meeting, my physical meeting at (Calgary coffee shop) Vendome.

Q: What I want to know is whether you phoned Press Progress to provide them with the contents of the conversation or provide them information

A: I can’t recall.

Q: Why did Press Progress call you out of the blue as you’ve insinuated.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press Progress previously to discuss provincial and federal politics.

Q: OK, How many times would you have spoken with Press Progress previously to their phone call to you?

A: Again, I don’t want to guess, but several, several times.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press progress since 2015. Ford herself then jumps into the questioning, asking Jivraj about his dealings with the CBC.

CBC Logo (photo credit CBC)

Ford: Did you disclose additional private messages between yourself and me to the CBC?

A: Yes

Ford: Have you created any other pseudonymous Twitter accounts?

A: Yeah. In my various political activities, yes, I’ve created many.

Ford is suing Jivraj, Press Progress and several media outlets for a total of $7 million.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

The saga of Karim Jivraj’s campaign against Ford and other conservative women is just too incredible to be told in a single feature article.

That’s why the Western Standard decided to break it down into a series, which will dive into several of the actions taken by Jivraj. It’s a story we did not believe until we obtained the evidence.

COMING NEXT: Tap on back leads to assault allegations from Rivraj against Ford

PREVIOUSLY: 
How a Conservative candidate worked with the NDP to bring down star UCP candidate
Tory candidate admits using a fake Twitter account to spread false sexual rumours
Jivraj admits to undercover online campaigns against women

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EXCLUSIVE: UCP MLA says Shandro approved barricading GraceLife Church

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

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Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro personally approved the AHS-RCMP raid and barricading of the Grace Life Church according to a UCP MLA that spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity.

RCMP and Alberta Health Services conducted a Wednesday dawn raid on the church in Spruce Grove, Alberta after it repeatedly refused to comply to lockdown and capacity orders from the government.

“Shandro directly signed off on the raid,” said the MLA.

The MLA said the public backlash against the raid has rocked the government, and they are considering removing the wall before an expected large service is held there Sunday.

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

“Minister Shandro did not direct or sign off this action. The law gives AHS independent authority to carry out such an action. The Minister is not required to sign off on enforcement activity such as seen at GraceLife, nor did he sign off. “

The move against the church came the day after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney threw the province back into a COVID-19 lockdown for the third time, discarding the policy of phased reopening based on measurable targets.

The move infuriated even members of his own caucus, with 17 UCP MLAs signing a public letter denouncing Kenney.

Another UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney will be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A new Angus Reid poll this week showed a whopping 75% of Albertans oppose Kenney’s handling of the pandemic, including those that believe he has gone too far in restrictions, and those who believe that he hasn’t gone far enough.

Former federal Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day the Alberta government for barricading the GraceLife Church, saying it would bring “gleeful howls” from dictators around the world.

The church’s pastor, James Coates recently spent 35 days in the Edmonton Remand Centre after refused to agree to stop preaching as a condition of his bail.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney urges GraceLife protesters to wear masks

“I call on those who believe in the sanctity of life, to act accordingly,” he said.

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Premier Jason Kenney is warning anyone planning to take part in Spruce Grove’s GraceLife Church protest Sunday to practice COVID-Alberta Health Services (AHS) safety protocols.

Kenney said it would be “tragic” if the protest “lead to a super-spreader event.”

On Tuesday the AHS, aided by the RCMP, raided the GraceLife Church and built a wall around it.

People outraged by the move are planning to protest outside the barricades on Sunday and perhaps even hold a service.

The church’s pastor, James Coates was jailed for more than a month for repeatedly holding packed Sunday services that exceeded the COVID-19 limit.

Asked at a Saturday press conference what he’d say to the protesters, Kenney replied: “I would tell them to take COVID seriously…to keep people safe.”

“I call on those who believe in the sanctity of life, to act accordingly,” he said.”If people are going to gather, please do social distancing and wear a mask.”

Kenney claimed Alberta had the most freedom of religion in the entire country, noting the province hasn’t closed places of worship like they’ve done in other jurisdictions.

“Thank you to those faith communities (who have followed the law) for respecting the sanctity of life.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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