Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ontario numbers that will make Gordon Campbell cry

I was writing yesterday about the politics of the debate around the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Well, interesting to see some polling numbers for Ontario drop this morning for Ipsos Reid. Here they are:

Ontario Liberal Party: 37 per cent
Progressive Conservatives: 32 per cent
Ontario NDP: 20 per cent
Greens: 11 per cent

Clearly it's going to take more than just HST anger to unseat the McGuinty Liberals. The Conservatives' "it's bad but we won't scrap it" position isn't credible, and the NDP will need more than anti-HST rhetoric to convince Ontarians it can govern. I'd like to think these numbers are a sign people accept and respect the need for governments to make hard choices, and that may be part of it, but I also don't think they're enamored with their alternatives.

Meanwhile, on the left coast Gordon Campbell must be looking at the Ontario numbers and sobbing softly in a dark corner of the legislature. An Angus Reid poll from earlier this month paints a bleak picture for the BC Liberals:

BC NDP: 46 per cent
BC Liberals: 26 per cent
Greens: 14 per cent
BC Conservatives: 8 per cent

And while the NDP is poised for victory currently, it should be noted this is a continuation of the see-saw nature of BC politics. Were there a credible third-party, a centrist alternative, polling shows it would win the next election. And BC has semi-workable (more workable than I thought, actually) recall and referendum legislation.

As I hinted at yesterday, and others mentioned in the comments, there are substantial differences between Ontario and B.C. I think Ontario is more steady-she-goes by nature, while B.C. is more populist rough and tumble. The HST was also rolled-out much differently in B.C., with Campbell having denied plans to harmonize during the last election and then announcing plans days after the vote.

It's the perceived dishonesty that gives the anti-HST campaign momentum in BC, as well as years of building fatigue with the Campbell government. I still think it's good policy, and that the referendum attempt to overturn it is a mistake, but I understand the anger. I just think the place to express it is the ballot (and I'm sure they'll express it there too). But a referendum to overturn good policy because you're mad at the government is a bad idea, and will be bad for the province in the long run.

Back to Ontario though, on the topic of getting the word out, McGuinty has turned to the inter-webs with this video to help do that:

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RuralSandi said...

Perhaps Campbell should talk to them, not at them.

Ontario knew it was coming and apparently B.C. didn't.

The NDP don't give a fiddler's damn about taxes - they're using for political reasons. Why do B.C.'rs fall for it?

A Eliz. said...

I may be wrong, but I think Ontario has had both those taxes on quite a few items, for a long time and we are sort of used to it.

The Mound of Sound said...

Don't worry Jeff. The people in BC are fixing to solve this at the ballot box which is right where these things wind up if recall is successful. We just bring the election to the issue instead of the other way around. And it doesn't help to discover that Victoria and their colleagues at the Fraser Institute have understated the HST impact by more than two-thirds.