Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Question of the day – Taxes

Thanks to the very rosy economic picture the Conservatives inherited from the Liberals due to the Chretien/Martin legacy of balancing the budget and sound fiscal management, Mike Harris prodigy and Stephen Harper finance minister Jim Flaherty is musing tax cuts.

While there’s certain social program areas I think we should be investing in, I have always favoured targeted tax relief, as has the Liberal Party. In fact, the Liberals introduced massive, broad-based tax cuts over the course of their time in government.

So, you’d think that perhaps Jim might see fit to reverse the increase in personal income tax rates the Conservatives made happen to pay for his one per cent GST cut? As I’ve blogged before, that little tradeoff left average Canadians like myself in the hole. Jim at the time though had other priorities, and said we just couldn’t afford both, and that he needed more personal income tax revenue to finance his misguided GST cut.

Turns out now that we can afford both. So, whadya say Jim, how about lowering my income tax back down to what I was paying in the first half of the year? Not going to happen. It seems Jim is more interested in cutting capital gains taxes. This will cost the government some $2 billion, so all those average Canadians with huge stock portfolios can save a few bucks when they sell sell sell!

And naturally, the more stock you buy and sell, the more you save. Again, to an uneducated eye like mine, that seems like another initiative from the Conservative Party of Canada designed to favour the wealthy. It was the same with the GST cut, the more you spend, the more you save! Unlike, say, personal income taxes, where the savings is on your pay stub and tax rates vary based on income.

Here’s the question:

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. When he brought in his much bally-hoed one per cent cut to the GST, the minister also reversed Liberal cuts to personal income taxes at the same time. We couldn’t afford both, the minister said, and so average Canadians would have to pay more income taxes to finance a cut that would disproportionately favour the wealthiest Canadians.

Now though, Mr. Speaker, thanks to the strong fiscal picture the Conservative government inherited from the previous Liberal government, in stark contrast I might add to the one we inherited from the last Conservative government, it turns out we could have afforded both. So, does that mean the government is moving to reverse the income tax hike, Mr. Speaker? Unfortunately no. Instead, it seems the government’s plan is another tax cut scheme that would again disproportionately favour the wealthy.

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to ask the Minister of Finance, will he start governing for ALL Canadians and bring back in REAL tax relief in the form of the personal income tax relief that would benefit all Canadians that this government cancelled?

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Anonymous said...

Well, as a person born and raised in Ontario and who lived through the Rae Days and the Harris government - I warn you - don't trust that Jim Flaherty smile. He reduced Ontario taxes alright, but he reduced them on "borrowed" money - yup, borrowed money. Hence, the miserable financial mess that Dalton McGuinty walked in to - $6.6 billion debt.

There's a pattern here. The Conservatives leave massive debts, the Liberals have to clean up.

The last time a Conservative government had a balanced budget was in 1912 (I believe).

So folks don't hold your breath. In fact, Flaherty will try to make it McGuinty's fault in Ontario and Liberal's fault across Canada.

Between Bob Rae and Mike Harris, Ontario was a mess for all those years - believe me, I was there.

Ah, don't fall for any of the Irish smiley, smiley thing from Flaherty and don't trust Rae either.

Sara said...

what about dropping the GST and bringing in income splitting?

any thoughts...


Jeff said...

Sarah, I can't pull up the article you've linked to.

Olaf said...


How can you not trust our favourite little Jimmy Flaherty? Leprechauns are nothing if not trustworthy (ok, maybe they're more playfully mischievious, but after that they're trustworthy).

There's no one I'd prefer to look after Canada's 'pot-o-gold'.