Friday, September 11, 2009

More ConservaThug Ideology

What is it with today's Conservatives? I swear that they are either deliberately stupid, or that they really don't understand the tools of governance.

Echoing Ed Stelmach yesterday, Jim Flaherty declared that taxes would not be increased to kill off the deficit:

Yesterday, finance minister Jim Flaherty forecast a deficit in 2014-15 of $5.2-billion. Though he insists that’s a manageable number from which to restore a balanced budget, he’s not telling us how or when he’d do it. As to how Mr. Ignatieff would go about implementing his fiscal plan, here he echoes Mr. Flaherty’s clarity on what he wouldn’t do, and lack of clarity on what he would do to cut federal expenditures:

Let’s be clear: I don’t want to increase taxes for individuals and businesses, particularly when we’re trying to get out of an economic crisis. That’s crucial. We’ll have to examine everything in the federal budget to see where we can make savings. Avoid transferring the burden to the provinces. That’s another mistake we made in the 90’s and must not repeat.”

Bullfeathers, Flaherty. One way or another, you're downloading it onto the taxpayers. We're not stupid. Whether it comes in the form of "user fees" (a polite fiction that is still taxation at the end of the day), or program cuts (which, like user fees, merely downloads the expense entirely to the individual).

By taking taxation off the table, Flaherty has made the same crucial error that Stelmach has - he's tied one hand behind his back before he's even started dealing with the deficit. This is at best an election promise, and at worst an outright lie that only George H. W. Bush used in 1988 - it was a lie then too. Bush had to renege on that promise after 1988, and the economic downturn then was comparatively mild.


Anonymous said...

I'm definitely voting Harper after this post. I don't want my taxes to go up. It's time to slash services that both Liberals & Conservatives have allowed to get out of control.

MgS said...

Apparently history eludes your grasp.

In Canada, every time we have had a Conservative government during a downturn, government debt and deficit has achieved record levels - hardly a stellar endorsement of their ability manage finances.

Further, current day Conservative (neo/theoCon influenced) thinking fails to acknowledge the responsibility of the government towards its citizens.

... and before you cite Ralph Klein as an example of "good stewardship", remember that under Ralph, government revenues were at an all time high - and during that same time the Heritage Savings Trust fund languished sitting at the same net asset value for the bulk of his years in power. My own investments more than doubled in value during that same time period.

Taxation is a tool of government - and it takes many forms. The Conservatives merely lack the intellectual honesty to admit that.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:43 September 12

1) The Harper Cons are lying about not increasing taxes. For proof just look at information surrounding a HUGE increase to the EI premiums and payroll taxes, and that's just one example.

2) In order for the Harper Cons to achieve a balanced budget without raising taxes they will be unloading financial burdens to the provinces, which really doesn't balance just shifts numbers around. The Harper Cons will also have to cut services and implement user fees (which are nothing more than TAXES). User fees are even worse than taxes because they are far more costly on an individual level which means that the not so privileged of our society will not be able to afford them.

3) The Harper Cons are already setting the stage for balancing the books, on the backs of the provinces, by harmonizing the sales tax. This means that they will be collecting both the GST and the PST. They may claim that the PST portion will be payed back to the provinces, but the record for this is abysmal, look no further than what has happened in Alberta with the province collecting the school taxes. They now short fund the schools which puts programs in jeopardy, causes schools to be either closed or under staffed, etc.

4) Taxes are used for a lot of things that you take for granted. A lot of it is in the form of infrastructure that you use every day. You are already the beneficiary of the tax system in Canada. I'm assuming you've driven on the Trans Canada highway??? (as an example). You probably use a restroom facility a couple of times a day.....where did those sewer pipes and water treatment facilities come from??? TAXES!!

5) Removal of services due to having to balance the books because of a lack of taxes coming in has caused the removal of programs like the 'Court Challenges Program' which has allowed under privileged people to challenge the government in court.

6) I could go on at length but if you haven't figured it out by now.........


Anonymous said...

The "court challenges program" should have been removed and I'm glad it was. Using taxpayer dollars to fund others who sue the government? What a joke.

MgS said...

@Anonymous 3:02PM:

Frankly, I'd rather have a government which has the humility to admit that it can write unjust laws that marginalize and discriminate unnecessarily.

The court challenges program reflected that humility.

Or do you only believe that justice belongs to those wealthy enough to pursue a case to the Supreme Court?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:02 PM Sept 12

I need you to answer the following for me, please support your answer with examples;

1) Are all Canadian Citizens entitle to equal treatment under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

2) Are all Canadian Citizens equal to each other?


Anonymous said...

Does the charter require the government to give money to Canadian citzens to finance private law suits?


The only people who win here are the lawyers.

MgS said...


I didn't say the court challenges program was a "charter right".

That said, there is a wisdom to the program's existence - namely that it recognizes that governments can - and do - right legislation which violates the charter rights of its citizens.

The existence of that program gives an avenue for those who are affected to challenge the government's actions regardless of their economic situation.

Access to remedy in the courts should not be contingent upon someone having access to millions of dollars - the court challenges program addressed that.

As I have written in a numerous entries in this blog, the Harper government keeps introducing legislation that would collapse like a house of cards if subjected to scrutiny under a charter challenge.

By removing that program, Harper has simply tried to write himself a blank cheque to further his program of discrimination and marginalization - by removing the one thing that would make his government accountable for its actions and laws.

Coming from a PM who campaigned on "greater government accountability", that is nothing less than hypocrisy.

Do you have a million dollars to challenge the next time the government attacks your rights?

MgS said...

One last point - Charter challenge suits are not "personal lawsuits" - anything involving violations of the Charter by the government affects all Canadians, not just the litigant.