The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Elliott attacks Hudak & Hillier's calls to dismantle OHRC
Progressive Conservative leadership contender Christine Elliott is on the attack over a proposal to scrap Ontario's Human Rights Tribunal, a policy she says will poison the party's chances of forming the next government.
She singled out her rival Tim Hudak twice in an all-candidates lunch, saying the proposal would be a "gift" to the ruling Liberals who will use it to their advantage in the next election.
Elliott is warning that the Liberals will exploit the issue just like they did with the Tories' ill-fated campaign promise to extend public funding to faith-based schools.
It's unfortunate that Elliott (and apparently Klees) would take this position. Not only have the actions of human rights commissions across the country become indefensible, but it's not as politically explosive a position to take as Elliott makes it out to be.
Scrapping or severely reforming the OHRC has growing support among most people to whom the issue has been explained. Like faith-based funding, scrapping the OHRC would require careful messaging (FBF lacked it) but would be doable, especially if PCs had a substantial platform with other planks to talk about next time around.
Ezra Levant has a post detailing why he thinks including abolition of the OHRC in the PC platform will turn out differently from John Tory's faith-based school funding proposal.
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-05-20 9:34:54 PM
The Klees campaign posted the following note on its Facebook account yesterday under the heading "Frank's position on the Human Rights Commission":
"The Human Rights commission is not working as intended. It needs to be fixed, not annihilated. People need access to a system that will help them against wrongs without having to enter into our expensive legal system.
But the abuses must stop. Section 13 needs to be repealed. Giving the Commission the right to investigate the views and opinions of the citizens of Ontario threatens the freedom of expression and is counter to the importance of that right in Canadian society. Freedom of expression is a core value of democracy from which all other rights naturally flow. Without that, our democratic system of government itself is at risk.
The message that needs to be sent is clear - the PC Party of Ontario is inclusive, not reactionary, and the Human Rights Commission needs to be refocused on it original mandate."
Posted by: Ker | 2009-05-20 10:48:52 PM
As I have maintained from the start Elliott is no conservative. She is in the wrong party and should never be allowed to run in the leadership race.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-21 10:22:54 AM
So Elliott is in favour of a flat tax, but would keep a surtax on high incomes and exempt people with low incomes. Does she even know what a flat tax is???
Elliott supporting a flat tax was hard to believe. Now she won’t even defend it. Does she think that conservatives who support tax reform are that easy to trick?!?
Posted by: Old Tomorrow | 2009-05-21 10:46:14 AM
Old Tomorrow - I haven't seen that, but I'd be interested to read more. Do you have a link?
Posted by: Janet | 2009-05-21 10:50:41 PM
If that is the entirety that the Klees campaign has to say about the HRCs in this country, Klees is on the wrong side of this one. Since no mention is made of Ontario's own HRC (only Section 13 of the Federal Act), I am left to assume that Klees does not intend to make any changes to it.
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-05-22 6:57:18 AM
you will find this information on Christine Elliott's website. It is in the backgrounder to her flat tax propsal. The entire purpose of a flat tax is that all income is taxed at the same rate with zero exemptions or exceptions. That is why they work. Because you don't have the farmers coming along and saying we should have an exemption for this and the consultants coming along and arguing they should have an exception for that. Flat taxes are fair because no income earner is treated differently. Christine Elliott's "flat tax" which we will have to place in quote marks is not really a flat tax because she is raising the basic personal amount to $18,000 from $8,881. ! What you have is a "flat tax" that will not wash with real conservatives and what will be called a regressive tax by the liberals. It is electoral suicide like faith schoosl.
Posted by: Old Tomorrow | 2009-05-22 10:44:06 AM
Old Tomorrow - I'm actually not sure why we wouldn't consider a flat tax flat unless it has a personal exemption rate of 0% - though I'd agree it's not a proportional tax.
I see no reason that Conservatives will reject it. Though I agree it could be improved seriously by removing all the exemptions, surtaxes, etc. that will likely remain, I think many of those (particularly exemptions for farmers, families, etc.) will, unfortunately, have broad support among conservatives.
Regardless, Elliott's proposal would constitute a serious flattening of the tax rates and would be a huge improvement for Ontario.
It's disappointing that she's not showing not also making a principled stand for free speech.
Posted by: Janet | 2009-05-22 12:05:42 PM
We agree on the merits of flat taxes. The first thing I said when I heard Elliott announced a flat tax was "she won my vote". At the time it seemed out of character for Christine Elliott to sound so conservative. Conservatives support flat taxes, this is true. However Christine Elliott hasn't explained to the fiscal conservative wing of the party how she is going to make up for the immediate budget shortfall of $6.5 BB. (Her estimation - it will likely be much more with the slow recoving economy even in 3 yrs.) We are going to need big cuts in spending and a clearly laidout plan to achieve a balanced budget. Can you imagine Janet what the librals will do with tax cuts for the highest income earners and a budget shortfall of $6.5 billion? Why else have Klees, Hudak and Hillier distanced themselves from this policy?
Posted by: Old Tomorrow | 2009-05-22 1:45:26 PM
Where has Hillier distanced himself from Elliott's flat tax proposal?
I saw him tell Stephen Taylor that he was interested in the idea.
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-05-22 5:14:46 PM
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