The Shotgun Blog
Friday, May 28, 2004
New deal for the PMO - stop meddling!
Here’s a new deal the federal government could consider – stop meddling in provincial jurisdiction. Believe it or not, if we want to fund cities with a gas tax today we are perfectly capable of doing so without any involvement by the PMO whatsoever.
I don’t have much sympathy when the Quebec chattering classes mutter about the supposed fiscal imbalance – the idea that Ottawa has too much revenue and other levels of government too little – but Paul Martin essentially is admitting that they are right. He is saying that the federal government is collecting 5 cents/litre in gas taxes for which they have no use whatsoever at the federal level. The military evidently has all the money they need, every federal department is fully funded, the debt is being repaid at an acceptable rate and he has 5 cents/litre burning a hole in his pocket that he has to go looking into other jurisdictions to spend. Fine, if that’s the case then stop collecting it!.
Once they stop collecting it each province can determine whether they wish to replace it with their own tax to fund cities, fund something else, or let their citizens keep their money themselves. I already elect a provincial government and a city council. I don’t need the PMO to tell them what they can or can’t do, or to benevolently hand out grants like a paternalistic uncle. I very much prefer that they be accountable to me, the citizen, not be a sycophant to the PMO to grovel for handouts. There’s only one taxpayer, and a tax paid at the pump has no need to be laundered through PMO cronies before reaching its destination.
Clearly the only purpose of this deal is to expand the power of the PMO, not to improve Canadian governance.
(Also posted at Trudeaupia).
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Math question: how many "New Deals" can there be before people start asking "what is so 'new' about this one?!"
Posted by: Kelvin | 2004-05-28 10:42:32 PM
Damn right. The idea that the Feds should have the right to collect and then redistribute cash on behalf of cities is preposterous. Most of these "deals" are a pork barreller's dream policies.
If municipalities jack up their taxes too high to pay for gold-plated light rail systems then it's much easier for people and businesses to "opt out" by voting with their feet and moving to a rural / suburban municipality than it is at the federal level. The gas tax rebate essentially launders money from people in the sticks to the urbanites or vice versa as the political winds shift.
Posted by: Jay | 2004-05-29 8:35:20 PM
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