Monday, February 26, 2007

Does Singleton have memory problems -- or did Huey simply get it wrong?

Still nursing this flu ... so we've been on the web and watching TV for a good part of the day.

And having done so, we need to ask whether the Winnipeg media are stupid, or worse, complicit in putting forward a lie?

Here's what we mean. This is the new "news" of the day:

Huey says as to the 2000 Cabinet paper that has the media in a tizzy: "I phoned [Singleton] at home and he said that he had no recollection of seeing that document; if he had seen it he would have remembered it, because it was a very significant document."

However, spending a couple of minutes looking online through the Crocus report, which anyone could do, here is a quote from Singleton's report (found in full here) on this very topic of liquidity concerns back in 2000! That's right, 2000.


    - Pacing requirements (new share sale proceeds) that are net of redemptions or removed altogether in favour of a more aggressive maintenance test (70% versus 60%). CIF was very up front with IEDM as early as mid-2000 on the fact that they would run into liquidity problems if pacing continued to be based on 70% of gross sales;
    - The elimination of the $30 million sales cap; and
    - Increasing the allowable size of investees by using a net asset test rather than a gross asset test


So, either Singleton has a bad memory -- because in the report he seems clear that he understood the liquidity issue goes back to the same time as the cabinet paper. Or Hugh is either purposefully or accidentally mischaracterizing Singleton.

That the opposition is happy to confuse the liquidity and pacing issue with the actual problems with the value of Crocus's investments that led to shares stopping trading in 2004 is not at all surprising.

They want the confusion.

But that Manitoba news outlets are happily following along, confusing the issues is doing their public a great disservice.

In effect, they are lying to Manitobans.