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Harper urges Liberals not to destroy income trust documents

[PoliticsWatch Updated 2:20 p.m. December 7, 2005]

OTTAWA  — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said Wednesday he wanted the Liberal government to commit to not destroying any documents related to an announcement on income trusts that has come under a cloud of insider trading allegations.

Harper's comments came on the campaign trail a day after an investigative report by CTV News provided more suggestions that people in the financial community were aware in advance that the government planned to make a tax cut in dividend yielding stocks after the market closed on November 23.

"I would certainly expect the government to commit that there would be no destruction of documents relating to the mini-budget or relating to this announcement prior to a new government taking office," Harper said when asked to comment on the latest developments. 

"I think it's a very serious matter and I'm very troubled by it. It is yet another indication of one of the things we've talked about that insiders benefit and ordinary people don't."

CTV News reported Tuesday evening that "several credible sources in financial circles" confirmed they had heard about Goodale's plan before the markets closed on that day. 

As well, CTV discovered postings on an investor Internet forum before the market closed on November 23 that said Goodale would cut dividend taxation. 

One post from that day said "(Goodale) will soon announce a reduction on dividend taxation to 'even the playing field'."

The words "even the playing field" strangely appeared in quotes and were similar to the language Goodale used at in press conference after the markets closed. 

"We're going to help to level up the playing field as between corporations and trusts and we're going to be doing that by ending double taxation on dividends," Goodale said. 

Goodale has repeatedly denied a leak came from his department.

The RCMP is currently reviewing whether an investigation should be conducted into situation. 

Speaking with reporters in Montreal, Prime Minister Paul Martin said he was not aware of any leak coming from finance. 

"You may have information that I don't have," he said. "I certainly don't know of any such leak. But as far as any examination of this the appropriate authorities are obviously set up to do this kind of thing and those are decisions they will take."

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