Daily Archives: October 30, 2007

Awash in cash, Tories expected to cut GST to 5 per cent


The Harper government is expected to announce plans to cut the GST to 5 per cent when it updates Canadians this afternoon on Ottawa’s swelling budget surplus. The timing of the fall economic statement has been moved up, sources say, to give the Conservatives one last chance to goad opposition Liberals into triggering an election.

Today’s move also helps the Harper government drown out anger expected to surface tomorrow, the first anniversary of its controversial income trust tax, when the Tories broke an election pledge to protect trusts.

Ottawa is awash with cash because a commodity price boom for resources such as oil is swelling its coffers with corporate and personal income tax revenue. Toronto-Dominion Bank chief economist Don Drummond now forecasts Ottawa is headed for a surplus of $14.5-billion this year, before any measures announced today – up from the $3.3-billion the Tories forecast in March.

Mr. Drummond, who met with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on the fiscal outlook last Friday, said he expects tax measures because the Tories are anxious to unload an embarrassment of riches. They attacked the former Liberal government for hoarding surpluses and do not want to be painted as hypocrites. n fact, Mr. Drummond says, Ottawa has enough surplus cash in years ahead to afford to cut the GST to 5 per cent from 6 per cent, and still have room for an across-the-board one-percentage-point cut to personal income tax rates, as well as a one-point reduction in the corporate tax rate.

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Toronto unveils ambitious works agenda


“The TTC takes up 46 per cent of the 2008 capital budget. It has to replace aging streetcars, buses and subway cars. Some $79.4 million will be spent on 234 subway cars to replace aging ones and boost capacity. A further $175.5 million will pay for 193 conventional and 50 Wheel-Trans buses and $55 million to start buying 204 low-floor, accessible Light Rail Vehicles to replace existing streetcars. Also, $54.8 million will be spent to improve train control and signals on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line.”

One of the problems I have with the subway going to York University, and beyond, is understanding the need. Do we really need a subway going to York University or would it be better served with a Light-rail network? We should note that if the money, currently tied up to expand the subway to Vaughan, were used instead to fund LRTs, then we would have enough funds to expand the light-rail network throughout the entire city. This expansion would benefit more users of the TTC, rather then the select few. I guess, I am also at odds with the money being spent because they are building a “bus rapid transitway” to York University, despite the expansion of the subway. If they can build a BRT, than why not just keep it simple and make an LRT. The problem is the province seems to be in control of transit expansion and the TTC, not David Miller.

By Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

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Ontario Liberal Cabinet shuffle puts focus on poverty


McGuinty to put new cabinet minister in charge of poverty reduction bid; Duncan moving to finance. Premier Dalton McGuinty is today dropping four ministers and bringing a slew of new faces into a radically different cabinet that will make fighting poverty a priority in his second term.

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