Friday, March 07, 2008

Ironies, the Conservative Edition

Oh, those wacky Conservatives. It's hard to believe we're so afraid of taking these guys to an election some days.

Take these two stories, both to do with tax policy, both written today.

Story the first:

TORONTO — The federal government has returned a volley in the war of words over Ontario's corporate tax rate.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to Bay Street Friday to urge provinces to cut the corporate rate to 10 per cent by 2012.

Ontario's rate of 14 per cent is one of the highest in the country and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has outraged Premier Dalton McGuinty by saying that makes the province unpalatable to foreign investors

Story the second:
OTTAWA — The chances of Canadian parents getting a $5,000 tax deduction by saving for their children's education grew slimmer Friday as the government vowed to kill the private member's bill and its author offered to compromise.

The Conservative government was taken off guard Wednesday night when Liberal MP Dan McTeague's bill, estimated to cost the treasury $900 million, passed third reading and was sent to the Senate for approval.

Short form version: Conservatives say tax breaks for corporations good, tax breaks for working parents for their childrens' education bad.


Story the first, from a few weeks back:
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has warned the Liberal-dominated Senate to pass the Tory government's violent crime bill by the end of the month or face a possible early election.

And story the second, from today (from story two above):
If passed unamended in the Senate, the bill would likely get Royal assent and Canadians would be able to put up to $5,000 in a registered education savings plan for each child - and deduct the amount from their taxable income like an registered retirement savings plan.

But Conservative Ted Menzies, the parliamentary secretary for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, said Friday that he has confidence the Senate will kill the bill and, if not, the government would resort to other measures.

Short form version: When it doesn't do what we want on crime the Senate is thwarting the will of the elected House, but we Conservatives would love it if they'd thwart the will of the elected house for us on tax cuts for parents to send their kids to school.

And here's a parting shot, from the same story:
One option is for the government to introduce legislation to undo the bill, or seek to amend the budget implementation legislation, making both a matter of confidence.

"But that might be contested because there's a rule in the House that you can't consider the same business twice in the same session, so there's no guarantee it would get through," said Ned Franks, a professor emeritus at Queen's University, who is an expert in parliamentary procedure.

No, no don't contest it! Please! An election triggered by the Conservatives trying to kill a tax cut, and not just any tax cut, but one for RESPs? If the nervous nellies can't get out and campaign on that then there truely is no hope.

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Steve V said...

The Ontario angle proves just how tone deaf these geniuses really are. We had a poll last week, that showed overwhelming support for McGuinty in this fight with the feds, and yet they keep drilling the empty well. All they do, is reinforce the notion, that this government has an anti-Ontario bias. People aren't stupid here, they see how Harper treats Charest, they see how is afraid to tell Stelmach anything, and they see how they love to belittle McGuinty. Within that dynamic, the Premier always gets the benefit of the doubt, because his interest is narrow, he fights for his province. The feds can't win this argument, and yet they keep poking. Asshats.

By all rights, these clowns should be 45% in the polls, but the good news, they're their own worst enemy.

MississaugaJoan said...

Dan McTeague not only pulled a fast-one on Harper and the Conservatives while they were napping, but also on Dion and Rae.

I'm sure Dion and Rae will make it all right (with David Smith) by forcing the Senate to reject it.

Let's replace Dion with Dan McTeague. He has done more for the average Canadian that Dion has.

O.K., not Dan McTeague. How about Dalton McGuinty.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Ah but Steve, they're playing chess while we're playing checkers. We just can't grasp the genius of the Harper strategy...

Joan, I wouldn't be so quick to embrace McTeague. While this bill was good, he was also one of the Liberals that voted for c-484, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, aka let's backdoor in anti-abortion, that same night.

robert.gibbs said...

Mathematicians Have Formulated New Equation To Calculate Flaherty's Geometry Of Hypocrisy

A well respected scientific journal is reporting that Canadian mathematicians have formulated a new equation to calculate Jim Flaherty's geometry of hypocrisy.

The formula is expressed in the following equation:

a^2 = b^2 + c^2


a = "asshole"
b = "bullshit"
c = "cock-and-bull story"

These mathematicians have tested their theory in the "real world" by inputting all statements uttered by Flaherty into the formula and have found the equation to hold true 100% of the time.

Of course, funding for the study was not provided by the Conservative government.

Jim said...

First, the RESP bill is a money bill not a PMB, and with it goes a questionable decision from the partisan speaker...big problem.

Second, WTF is with Ontarians? You want a fat manufacturing sector, fat paycheques for everyone, yet you want to tax business through the nose? In this instance you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Wake up! Business invests where it is profitable to do so. Who would have thought that something so rudimentary would be so hard to comprehend.

Look to the west and wake the f**k up!

Steve V said...


What an ignorant asshole you are, seriously.

Jim said...

Why would that be Steve? Please enlighten me instead of falling back to the leftist standard of hurling insults. Honestly I am a minarchist libertarian and a realist, you my friend seem to be a rabid liberal...but what does that mean anymore.

Like I said. enlighten me or shut your partisan cakehole. I have to wonder how realities can be right in front of someone's face, yet they refuse to see them.

Justin Socie said...

I know this isn't really the point of your post, but there are a lot better things that the government could do with $900 million to improve access to post-secondary education than that plan. Of course, I know that isn't why the Cons are opposing it, because they couldn't care less about post-secondary access.

I don't want to hijack the thread though.

burlivespipe said...

True, the bill doesn't address serious inequities already built into the system, however, it does follow the line of thinking that was JUST discovered by the Harper gov't after a couple budgets going against the grain -- that providing incentives to save actually enhance the national system and productivity in the long term.
So in that way, its a good bill, not a perfect bill.
As to asshat Jim, Ontario's gov't has made many steps to reduce the burden of taxes in its province --- a burden that was made worse during the tumultuous times of Flaherty, Clement, Baird et al. Ontario has the population base that can't afford to neglect its infrastructure to the extent that Alberta has. While Albertans may feel its completely reasonable to provide free rides to its business sector -- including ones like oil and gas that can't completely pick up their balls and go home (because they'd have to leave our oil and gas with us) -- that doesn't mean Dalton, who has a completely different economic structure to deal with, one that is being hammered by the US [neo-conservative-inspired] downturn, has to follow suit when Flaherty barks.
No doubt if McGuinty was doing that, Harper and his band of uptight white men would find something else to denigrate them for. It's just in the CON genes, after all.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Justin, true enough. I think in an election platform the RESP measure would just be one part of a larger package of post-secondary initiatives, to the extent we can act within the federal sphere. For now though, it's a nice strategic move politically.

The Rat said...

It's a nice strategic move, Jeff, but an irresponsible one. If the Liberal Speaker let this stand it calls in to question his supposed impartiality. What this does is allow the opposition parties to make fiscal policy without the responsibility that goes with it. Why not lower income tax another %? Why not raise the GST back to 7%? Apparently that is all on the table now.

If the Liberal party wants to govern they should defeat the current government and take their tax cuts to the people where they would be held accountable for them. This maneuver is an abuse of Parliament. I guess I just don't expect much better from you, though.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Gee, I always feel sad when I fail to live up to "the rat"'s expectations of me. And don't lecture me about abuse of parliament until you condem all the BS the Cons have pulled in this parlaiment. They had a manual published for their commitee chairs on how to abuse parliament, for crying out loud. So don't make me laugh.

Don't blame the speaker wither, no one honestly believes he's biased. Not even the Conservatives. The speaker ruled according to the letter of the law, that's his job. McTeague found a loophole, and the Cons were asleep at the switch. For once, they got outplayed.

The loophole will probably have to be closed, as the opposition shouldn't be setting tax policy through private members bills. Although, it's ironic because the CPC used to argue all the time until they were blue in the face that tax cuts aren't spending. Now they've chanegd their opinion to suit circumstances. Unlike the Cons, I'll be consistent in my views though, tax cuts are spending.

Until the lopphole is closed though, the speaker ruled properly and Harper got outplayed, at least in round one. Now he gets to explain to Canadians why he wants to kill a tax cut. And he can argue all he wants about parliamentary procedure, all Canadians will hear is Harper kills tax cut.

Good luck with that.

The Rat said...

"Until the lopphole is closed though, the speaker ruled properly and Harper got outplayed, at least in round one. Now he gets to explain to Canadians why he wants to kill a tax cut. And he can argue all he wants about parliamentary procedure, all Canadians will hear is Harper kills tax cut.

Good luck with that."

Ahh, but all that depends on your guys growing a set of balls big enough to defeat this government.

Good luck on that!!!!

A BCer in Toronto said...

Ahh, but all that depends on your guys growing a set of balls big enough to defeat this government.

Yeah, I'm not exactly holding my breath.

The Rat said...

Sorry Jeff, cheap shot.