• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Weird election slogans: Save the GST, vote Liberal

Rodahn said:
Western Canadian Wheat Board??? I was always under the impression that it was the Canadian Wheat Board........

True, it is called that. However, only farmers west of Ontario need submit their product to the CWB... pretty fair eh?
TCBF said:
- You must mean the fishery, because farmers don't get to go on pogey once their wheat is siezed by the Western Canadian Wheat Board.

Not farmers....fishery and forestry sectors in Atlantic canada...but there's no culture of defeat down here...no siree!
The Natural Ruling Party on fundraising. Anyone want to call Elections Canada and ask for an opinion?


Liberal fundraising, alive and well!

Just landed in my inbox, this alleged Liberal fundraising flyer:

According to the flyer, items to be auctioned off to raise money for eight Ottawa-area federal Liberal riding associations include among other things:

- Golf with Paul Martin
- Hockey tickets with Ken Dryden

It is specified that "the sky is the limit" during the auction and according to the flyer, "A successful bid does not count as a political contribution and is not eligible for a receipt for income tax purposes" and conveniently, "your successful bid will not affect your annual political contribution limit of $1100." And "bids" from corporations? Why not!

Well, that's reassuring...

It would appear that the Liberals claim that the federal Elections Act doesn't apply to this kind of political fundraising because the Liberals say so.

The Liberals used to "raise money" outside of the oversight of the Elections Act by giving hockey tickets to Quebec advertising executives. It's good to see that if the Liberals go through with this fundraiser as described, they are opening up the process outside of that exclusive network to their Ottawa membership. If so, it's too bad for Canadians that the Liberals think that circumventing the law is different from breaking it.
You know, for a really smart guy, an acknowledged expert on Canadian politics, Jeffrey Simpson can be really, really thick. Consider his latest, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail:

Here's your platform, Mr. Dion


From Saturday's Globe and Mail
April 11, 2008 at 8:16 PM EDT

The $60-billion question – that's what the next election should be about. Campaigning should start soon.

At issue should be the $60-billion that the Harper government has “spent” on cutting two points from the GST. If the Liberals could ever get their act together – a very large if – they would explain a quite different way of “spending” $60-billion.

Stéphane Dion is a well-meaning, intelligent man. But he's been engulfed in a sea of troubles since becoming Liberal leader. Worse, the Liberal Party has long since ceased being the “natural governing party of Canada,” with all the discipline and cohesion that came with governing.

The Liberals have spent about as much time out of power as exercising it since 1984. Along the way, they've picked up the bad habits of opposition: unrequited ambition, factionalism, backstabbing, a preference for the shouted denunciation rather than a considered alternative, a dance to the 24-hour news cycle.

All those unhappy habits plagued the party during John Turner's leadership in the 1980s. They now make Mr. Dion's life miserable. But he makes his own life miserable with political errors and, worse, vagueness about where he stands.

Mr. Dion was supposed to be the green leader, but who knows where he and his party are on climate change? Indeed, where do the Liberals stand on almost anything, except on their feet in the Commons denouncing everything the Harperites propose? (The parties did work together on the Afghan resolution.) Mr. Dion will never be a charmer or a schmoozer. But, then, is Stephen Harper? Mr. Dion will never speak Churchillian English, but then the Prime Minister's French isn't exactly from l'Académie française. Leaders of the opposition almost always trail prime ministers in popularity, but Mr. Dion's standing is still startlingly low.

Mr. Dion, appearing weak, overcompensates by trying to look strong. He draws lines in the sand, and then has to retreat, thereby making himself look weak again. Tactically, Mr. Harper runs rings around the Liberals. Strategically, too, because the Liberals haven't rallied around Mr. Dion or, more important, a set of ideas.

So, the Liberals should throw down the gauntlet and make the next election, and the months that precede it, the $60-billion question.

The Liberals should say: Elect us, and the GST is going back up to 7 per cent from 5 per cent. Over five years, that will bring in about $60-billion, or $12-billion a year, or $6-billion a year for each GST point.

Sixty billion dollars is not pocket change. A lot can be done with that money to make Canada greener and more competitive.

For starters, personal income taxes should be lowered, especially the marginal rates on low- to moderate-income taxpayers. Almost every economist would say this makes for better social policy and makes the economy more competitive than cutting the consumption tax. (The GST tax credit can be adjusted upward for very low-income people.) Another chunk of the $60-billion could be used, with the income tax cut, to help the party fulfill its promise to reduce poverty.

Another chunk should be put into upgrading the country's infrastructure that, as every municipality in the country can attest, badly needs more money. A very ambitious government would be investing in high-speed rail in the Toronto-Montreal and Calgary-Edmonton corridors.

In other words, the Liberals should take the $60-billion, slap it on the electoral table, and bet their political life on a different use for that money. A set of such policies would (a) give the party something to rally around instead of spending time dreaming up alternative leadership scenarios, (b) give Mr. Dion, a cerebral fellow, something constructive to promote, (c) present the country with a clear alternative, and (d) attract green and NDP votes.

If the Liberals wanted to up the ante, they would call for a carbon tax that, within five years or so, could bring in another $20-billion or more, depending on how the tax was structured. With that money, and a chunk of the GST “spending,” Canada could have one of the lowest rates of personal income tax in the world – and that would do more for competitiveness than what's happening with today's policies.

The bottom line is, Mr. Dion has got to stand for something, since his own persona won't cut it as a political winner. Liberals might worry that, even if they thought these thoughts, they should keep them under wraps until the election.

Wrong. It takes months and months of solid pounding to get more than a fraction of the electorate clued into an idea a party proposes. It's especially hard for the Official Opposition, since the media are mostly interested in the noise it creates rather than its constructive alternatives.

The nature of contemporary politics suggests waiting to present ideas is bad tactics. But first, of course, a party has to have ideas. Making the $60-billion question the ballot issue would be one such idea.

Now, I believe that Mr. Simpson wants almost anyone other than Stephen Harper to win the next election, but I cannot believe that this advice – ”Bring back the GST! Vote Liberal!” – is designed to do anything other than to consign poor, bumbling Stéphane Dion to the political trash heap.

First, however, Mr. Simpson is right: ”personal income taxes should be lowered, especially the marginal rates on low- to moderate-income taxpayers,” and money needs to ”be put into upgrading the country's infrastructure that ... badly needs more money”. On top of that, even though Simpson would disagree, we need to spend more on the military and on foreign aid.

Second, and I’m pretty sure Simpson would disagree again, we need to continue paying down the complete national (government) debt – federal and provincial – until it is about 25% of GDP.

The solution, the one I think Prime Minister Harper understands is that:

• We, all of us, at the federal and provincial levels, must spend less – programme need to be cut; and

• We, all of us, at the federal and provincial levels, must spend smarter – less overlap, less duplication, less pork-barrelling.

The rest of us need to remember that “we”- all of us – pay all the bills, all the time. We are entitled to good management from our employees: the MPs, and MPPs, and MLAs.

As a card carrying, dues paying Tory I really hope Cityoen Dion is stupid enough to follow Simpson’s advice. I want Harper to get a majority government.

Bring back the GST! Vote Liberal!

If the Liberals wanted to up the ante, they would call for a carbon tax that, within five years or so, could bring in another $20-billion or more, depending on how the tax was structured.

Well, this would be dumb.  We here the Interior of BC are getting ready to toss out the BC Liberals because of their new carbon tax coming in July.  The scary thing is, the NDP is criticising this tax because it will disproportionately hurt us in the hinterlands than the latte-sucking yuppies in Vancouver. 

If Dion repeats this, he can say goodbye to any votes outside of the major metropolitan ridings.

Handing the federal government another $20 billion does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling either.

Edited for punctuation.
Simpson has a hidden agenda!! He's a under cover Tory. People love the GST so much I'm sure they'll go for a platform where you raise it 2 per cent. this guy's been listening to too many old liberal speeches. People want to give less to the Government not more.....promising to raise taxes does not get you elected. I want a Tory majority also so if Dion wants to follow this hare brained advice.....well he can fill his boots.
The Good Grey Globe’s Jeffrey Simpson, the commentariat’s leading Blue Liberal (and very occasional Red Tory), who never met a tax he didn’t like or a Harperite he did (he cannot force himself to call Harper and his minions Conservatives because he cannot stomach a conservative who is not in the Robert Stanfield/Joe Clark mould), weighs in with more advice for Prince Michael, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail:

To be a credible alternative, the Liberals need to be fearless
The opposition needs bold economic ideas, not copycat Harperism

Jeffrey Simpson

Tuesday, Oct. 06, 2009

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has the opposition parties exactly where he wants them.

The New Democrats fear bringing down the government and the Liberals fear ideas. As a result, Mr. Harper defines the debate. When a leader frames the issues, he's in charge.

The Liberals decided some months ago that fatigue with Mr. Harper (and his sometimes brutish style) and the recession would so weaken the government that they would win power. These assumptions have been proved false. The Conservatives developed an economic agenda that is politically bulletproof: spreading tens of billions of dollars around the country, accompanied by maximum publicity, as the government response to the recession.

To this, the Liberals had no credible alternative. They had voted for the budget that authorized this spending, after all, so they could only complain (wrongly) that money wasn't being spent fast enough, while arguing (implausibly) that the deficit was too high.

The Liberals essentially agreed with what the government was doing. They then played in Mr. Harper's ballpark by promising not to raise taxes and not to reduce transfer payments to provinces or touch the defence budget.

In the process, the Liberals became copycat Harperites. Their criticisms were carping ones about timing and procedure. More serious disagreements were over secondary issues. In other words, they are allowing the Prime Minister to set the agenda and define the terms of political debate.

The Liberals remain spooked by the memory of the last election, when they put an arresting idea for a carbon tax in the political window and got steamrollered by the Conservative attack machine. Chastened, they now recoil from anything but political Pablum – another plus for Mr. Harper.

So why don't the Liberals think about redefining the national debate? Why don't they call their redefinition The $70-Billion Question?

Their new pitch would be: Elect us and we will eliminate the federal deficit fast and pay down the debt that Canada incurred to fight the recession. Not for us the Conservative approach of stringing out deficits and building up debt, thereby leaving Canada more vulnerable than it would otherwise be to external shocks such as inflation. We Liberals balanced the budget and kept it in surplus when last in government, and we'll do it again.

How? By raising the goods and services tax by two points, thereby bringing in about $70-billion over five years. With that money and reasonable growth, Canada would almost balance the books in 2012-13, and run a surplus the next year.

With budgetary surpluses, Canada would better prepare itself for the aging population. It could invest more money in health care or higher education. It could have some left over for reducing taxes on individuals and businesses.

Of course, the Conservative attack machine would go into overdrive, just as it did some months ago when Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, acting responsibly then, said that as prime minister, he might have to consider tax hikes, among other options. When the attack ads started, Mr. Ignatieff retreated. He hasn't said a sensible thing since about an alternative to Conservative economic policies.

Canada is now headed for a less-than-optimal postrecession landing. We'll get deficits stretching until almost the end of the next decade, with an accumulation of debt (although a declining debt-to-GDP ratio).

This will leave government accounts more vulnerable to external shocks and the looming “fiscal squeeze” caused by an aging population. Under the Conservative plan, big program spending cuts are inevitable.

Politics aside, the risk of a tax hike is slower growth. But if the Bank of Canada knew fiscal policy would be tightened, because a government had been elected on that platform, it could ease monetary policy in a few years. Or the government could phase in the GST increase if a tax hike would unduly threaten growth. Or it could offset some of the GST hike with lower taxes on incomes – something almost every economist would applaud.

Post-Trudeau Liberals have more credibility than Conservatives in balancing Canada's books. Liberals curtailed government spending, when needed, whereas spending has soared under Mr. Harper.

The Liberals, of course, would consider anything brave political suicide. Maybe, sadly, they are right, because Canadians do seem to fear a real debate on anything of substance.

Maybe, though, they might be surprised by what a combination of a sales-tax increase, fast deficit elimination, debt reduction, critical investments and lower personal taxes might evoke.

Great political advice: ask Canadians to vote for you because you plan to raise the tax they hate. With friends like Simpson Iggy Iffy Icarus doesn’t need enemies.