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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recipe for a fall election in Canada

Stephen Taylor offers an accurate description of the situation in Ottawa, and a plausible scenario (and good play) for the Conservatives to force an election.
"A simple confidence motion by the Conservatives would do the trick:

This House resolves that a carbon tax would destroy this country and that Canadians do not trust politicians when it comes schemes of tax shifting. This House has confidence in this government to [lower the income tax/introduce tax splitting/decrease the GST to 3%/cut corporate tax] (pick one or two) because such conservative measure(s) are the best way forward for Canadians"

As Taylor notes "if Mr. Dion votes against, we go to an election with Dion defending a carbon tax and the Conservatives proposing tax cuts. The election is then defined on tax policy rather than the environment."

CanWest is reporting that "a general election could be held as early as Oct. 14, the first Tuesday after the Thanksgiving weekend."

In related news, it really does look like we're off to the races.

Here's a question for our readers who think themselves policy wonks: which tax policy or reform would you like to see the Conservative party propose as an alternative to Dion's green shift? If you've got more specific proposals or an option that's not in the poll, feel free to explain it in the comments.

               

                                                                                                                        <p>&lt;p&gt;&amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&amp;amp;BB_id=102386&amp;quot;&amp;gt;What tax policy should the Conservative Party support?&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt; | &amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;http://www.buzzdash.com&amp;quot;&amp;gt;BuzzDash&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&lt;/p&gt;</p>                             

Posted by Kalim Kassam on August 26, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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Comments

If they really wanted to be more fair and to take a different stand, they would campaign on eliminating the income tax and replacing it with a consumer tax.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-08-26 5:52:32 PM


Alain,
I pretty much support any and all reductions of the tax burden, but if such a proposal looked anything like the FairTax (especially the progressive prebate stuff), I wouldn't go anywhere near it. With the complexity of our tax laws and the entrenched CRA and the business interests which take advantage of loopholes, implementation of something like what you're proposing or a flat tax is likely to be bungled unless handled very well.
The idea of no income taxes is awfully appealing though...

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-08-26 6:25:08 PM


A simplified tax system would be nice, but the real problem is that governments take almost half of the average taxpayer's income. How they extract it is secondary.

Governments at all levels need to cut back significantly on spending. Eliminate corporate welfare for starters.

Posted by: Jim Mc | 2008-08-26 8:48:07 PM


Give me a consumer tax with rebates for anyone with an income below a certain level. Combine that with no corporate tax except a witholding tax on any dividends and money leaving the country. Encourage reinvestment in the Canadian economy but leave the witholding tax low enough to still make investment in Canada attractive.

Posted by: DML | 2008-08-26 11:03:40 PM


The Green Shift is no more than the NEP repotted for contemporary tastes. Central Canada fears the economic might of the West. This is not the first time they have attempted to scuttle the economies of West or East (Maritimes) whenever these regions grew too big for their breeches.

If the Green Shift goes through, sign me on for any reasonable plan for seceding from Confederation. It's a delicious bit irony that Dion himself drafted the Clarity Act of 2000 requiring Ottawa to negotiate in good faith with any withdrawing province.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-26 11:36:03 PM


I really can't understand what the frack Harper is thinking. Why go to the polls in the midst of a US election, knowing the result will be the same. Harper is WRONG he can win on character over Dion - Canadian vote PARTY, where have you been Stephen?

Also I suspect Harper doesn't have the gonads to go through with his promise on a Parliamentary Inquiry into section 13 of the CHRC. If he goes to an election before he solves the freedom of speech issue, many of us will find someone else to vote for.

Many think Harper is trying to avoid a convention.

And although technically the fixed election date is meant for majorities, he is breaking the spirit of that by going now.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 12:12:23 AM


A simplified tax system would be nice, but the real problem is that governments take almost half of the average taxpayer's income. How they extract it is secondary.
Posted by: Jim Mc | 26-Aug-08 8:48:07 PM

A few years back the University of Calgary (I think) did a study and found that by the time we pay our income tax, buy all that we need, food, fuel, clothing etc. that we actually fork over almost 70% of our income to taxation. Now that's criminal.

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-27 6:27:21 AM


Faramir, he's most likely thinking that with energy prices at record highs, but due possibly to drop soon, now is the best time to skewer Dion with his Green Shift plan, which would drive high prices even higher.

There's a lot Harper would have loved to have done but couldn't in the absence of a majority. Minority parliaments are usually quite dysfunctional and it really is surprising that this one has lasted as long as it has (and has accomplished as much as it has). Moan about his sad, dreary puss all you like, he's proved himself an able statesman, far more so than his predecessor.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 7:26:31 AM


Shane, why does it seem there is only a handful of conservative voters that actually care about free speech? What happened to the Parliamentary Inquiry he promised us? How about a motion to delete Section 13 and show Canada that Dion hates free speech? Or is it that Harper forgets his NCC roots and hates free speech as well?

A real statemen wouldn't give money to a French company, Bombardier, would not increase spending by 11% or go silent on free speech.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 11:54:31 AM


If Harper calls an election we can thank Garth Turner for providing Professor Dion a venue on an August evening in Oakville where Dion attempted to explain his Green Shift policy.
This,according to Garth,so scared the Conservatives they're rushing into calling an election to stem the outpouring of adulation for the incoherent Professor Who Couldn't Cry Vote.


"I hate to be modest. But let me try. I know why Stephen Harper is going to call a federal election next week and it’s because, well, of me."

Blah,Blah, Blah.

"And this is why we’re having an election.

posted by Garth Turner on 08.26.08 @ 11:04 pm"

Posted by: Bocanut | 2008-08-27 11:57:16 AM


Faramir, be realistic. To follow up on any such promises will require the spending of political capital (read: support), because anything the government does is bound to offend someone. That's why governments push through the really big reforms right after the election, so those who incur grudges will have time to forget them before the next election. Also, don't forget that Harper leads a minority Parliament and requires the cooperation of at least one Opposition party if he wants to do anything but kvetch.

No one despises the HRC's more than I (except perhaps for their actual victims). But pushing through a controversial measure just before an election call is political suicide--in which case we'll end up with the "Natural Governing Party" in power again, and probably end up with even more of the same curbs on our liberty.

The fact that the Tories are not perfect is not an excuse for refusing to vote for them on principle, because that's exactly how the Liberals will be returned to power. And don't forget that Harper has jurisdiction only over the Canadian HRC and Section 13; he has no direct control over the provincial HRCs and provincial human rights codes.

Oh, and a Constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority vote of the Commons, the Senate, and the Legislatures of at least seven provinces representing at least half of the national population, subject to vetoes by Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, the Prairie Region, and the Atlantic Region.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 12:39:21 PM


P.S. You say a real statesman wouldn't give money to a French company. Left unsaid is whether he would give money to an English company.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 12:41:39 PM


Shane, I being a little bit of an a-hole with the French comment just to get attention. A better question is where is the money for BC's failing lumber industry?

I don't why everyone thinks it suicide. Don't you think if the public finds out that Dion hates free speech they will neauter him?

Also, I still don't get it. Why now when they are down in the polls? And Harper did promise an inquiry? Why the silence?

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 2:30:54 PM


A better question is where is the money for BC's failing lumber industry?
Posted by: Faramir | 27-Aug-08 2:30:54 PM

You've asked that question before and I asked how much you want. So how much do you want?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-27 2:48:00 PM


Faramir, people don't care about free speech in general, provided they don't get busted for their own words. As a rule voters couldn't care less about the rights of other voters. Dion's massive Green Shaft, on the other hand, hits Canadians straight in the pocketbook, the Western provinces especially, and even a property-hating hippie will pummel you if you try to pry his pennies away. If Dion gets run out of town on a rail it'll be because of his environmental and economic policies, not his inaction on Section 13.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 3:13:10 PM


P.S. Suppose you did manage to secure funding for B.C.'s forest industry. What would you spend the money on?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 3:13:43 PM


What I WANT to know is why PQ and Ontario industry is always more important than BC industry? Good God, Ontario is not the fracking centre of the world.

Instead of assuming I want corporate welfare, which I don't, why not explain to me why YOU think it is OK for Harper to keep dying industries on life support?

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 3:14:31 PM


Shane, I would spend the money on an advocacy group to remove Canada from NAFTA, since clearly NAFTA works only to profit lumber barrons in the US, and is a completely one sided agreement.

I would also sue the US government for our money back.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 3:16:39 PM


P.S.S. Why now, when they are down in the polls? Because with the economy turning sour and energy prices set to slide, they have nowhere to go but down. Liberal support has stalled and with Dion at the helm will likely remain so, so the lost ground will go to the Greens, the NDP, or spoiled ballots. The Conservatives have little to gain and much to lose by waiting. That's why now.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 3:16:46 PM


Shane, your arugment works FOR me. If people don't get their titties in a knot over free speech then why would they care if Harper gutted Section 13? It would a riskless move, no?

Also, as someone on the CBC forum suggested, if Harper call the GG to disolve parliament, the other 3 parties could create a coalition and wrest power from Harper.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 3:18:22 PM


Shane, thanks for your patience with me. I do enjoy discussing this with you.

So you agree then with the economic argument that the National Post and others have been made? Harper knows the party in power will be blamed for a bad economy?

Whatever happens now they HAVE to have an election Nov of 2009. So aren't they just forestalling the inevitable. Things will be even worse next Nov as we go into either a massive worldwide recession or a hyper stagflation (my belief) environment.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 3:21:15 PM


What I WANT to know is why PQ and Ontario industry is always more important than BC industry? Good God, Ontario is not the fracking centre of the world.
Posted by: Faramir | 27-Aug-08 3:14:31 PM

Interesting question especially in light of the death a couple of weeks ago of Geoff Ballard. Did the federal government ever give money to Ballard Power Systems of Burnaby, BC?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-27 3:46:35 PM


What I WANT to know is why PQ and Ontario industry is always more important than BC industry? Good God, Ontario is not the fracking centre of the world.
Posted by: Faramir | 27-Aug-08 3:14:31 PM

Ummm This just in... Ontario actually is the center of the world. (ask anyone in Ottawa or TO)The rest of us are mere colonists/taxpayers with the exception of Que. which is simply to vote rich to ignore.

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-27 4:24:27 PM


I don't know Stig, did they b/c that would be a first?

I agree JC, Western Canada is essentially the Russian whore chained to a bedpost, for all the Russian mafios friends to use and abuse.

Rape the oil sands for cheap energy for Torontarians.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 8:03:28 PM


I don't know Stig, did they b/c that would be a first?
Posted by: Faramir | 27-Aug-08 8:03:28 PM

Ballard Power has gotten millions from the feds. You still haven't told me how much you want the BC forestry industry to get.

Rape the oil sands for cheap energy for Torontarians.
Posted by: Faramir | 27-Aug-08 8:03:28 PM

Very little goo from the tarpits comes east. Most goes to the US.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-27 8:09:41 PM


Faramir,

Hah! You're preaching to the choir on the matter of Toronto being the centre of the Universe, buddy. It's hard to think of an example of a town being more full of itself, although Los Angeles, London (UK), and Paris are certainly in the running. Hollywood, of course, is in another dimension altogether.

I wouldn't lose too much sleep over the election. As I said, I don't think the picture will be any better for the Conservatives down the road, so they're likely deciding to cut their losses and perhaps even score a little against Dion, whose Green Shaft is going to be tremendously unpopular, if reaction to B.C.'s carbon tax is any indication. And the only way the other three parties could form a government is for one of them to win more seats than the Conservatives.

I agree Harper's vote-buying is pretty cynical. However, that's frequently the price of holding public office. This is like the parable of the prodigal son who is treated to a lavish feast after years of dissipation, and the faithful son who has never had such treatment looking on in consternation. It sucks--but the alternative is the Liberals. Choose wisely, my son.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 8:38:36 PM


It's hard to think of an example of a town being more full of itself, although Los Angeles, London (UK), and Paris are certainly in the running
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 27-Aug-08 8:38:36 PM

What about New York, Washington DC, Rome or Moscow? Every world class city thinks it's at the center of the universe.

Hollywood, of course, is in another dimension altogether.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 27-Aug-08 8:38:36 PM

What dimension is that? And what Hollywood are you referring to, West Hollywood, North Hollywood? Or are you referring to the LA entertainment industry in general? Only Paramount is still in Hollywood all the others have long gone.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-27 8:51:32 PM


Stig, how about NONE. I want no corporation to be on the public teat. It is just interesting how much money flows to the auto parts sector and Bombardier. How much money do you think the auto sector and Bombardier should get Stig?

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-08-27 9:07:00 PM


How much money do you think the auto sector and Bombardier should get Stig?
Posted by: Faramir | 27-Aug-08 9:07:00 PM

In theory nothing. However reality is a lot different.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-27 9:25:11 PM


The Stig wrote: "What about New York, Washington DC, Rome or Moscow? Every world class city thinks it's at the center of the universe."

Washington DC, Rome, and Moscow have the distinction of being national capitals and therefore the seats of government. New York has for decades been the cultural, economic, and live entertainment capital of the world. So where does that leave Toronto?

The Stig wrote: "What dimension is that? And what Hollywood are you referring to, West Hollywood, North Hollywood? Or are you referring to the LA entertainment industry in general? Only Paramount is still in Hollywood all the others have long gone."

Hollywood has a long history of flaky activism (remember the U.S. Presidential election of 2004). These people are professional emoters and have long been known for their colourful eccentricities.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-27 9:32:10 PM


New York has for decades been the cultural, economic, and live entertainment capital of the world.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 27-Aug-08 9:32:10 PM

As a frequent visitor to both New York and London UK)I give the nod to London.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-27 9:37:12 PM



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