Alberta votes to keep the right progressive. With the Federal Conservatives looking more like the Wildrose party and working to help the party, and not the Progressive Conservatives, has the relationship been strained?
What is happening to Toronto? It’s simple, Toronto is broke! Year’s ago we talked about the hollowing out of Toronto, forcing families to move to the suburbs, such as Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa and farther. I am not saying that this is the reason. The majority of jobs are still in Toronto, however what will Toronto look like in 20 years? Yesterday Rob Ford said “he is all business”, and he will entertain any business idea. I am not sure if Torontonians would have supported Ford Nation if they knew what the vision was for Toronto. This is definitely not in the same scope of David Miller. As a mayor he seemed to have a different vision for the city. The question is what happened to the debate over these ideas? I am starting to hear rumblings of dissatisfied voters in Scarborough and other parts of the city. Sure, I am not taking stock from a large base, but these are individuals who were stark supporters of Rob Ford coming in to clean house.
Toronto Residents: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”? Toronto Residents: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies over Toronto! The Don river and Lake Ontario boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…Mel Lastman rising back to power! Human cooperation, politicians actually working together… mass hysteria!
Français : Thomas Mulcair le 23 avril 2011 à Montréal lors de la campagne électorale fédérale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Seems that the first round has shown Thomas Mulcair leading in the NDP leadership race. Thomas Mulcair won 30% of the vote on the first ballot. However, can the Quebec MP get enough support to win the race to succeed Jack Layton?
Well a historic election has just taken place in Canada. The Bloc was decimated in Quebec, and almost wiped off the map. Newfoundland told Conservatives what to do with themselves. The Greater Toronto Area is painted blue and Toronto has gone NDP Orange. Also, it looks like we have our very first Green member of Parliament. So what went wrong for the Liberals? They took their support for granted. Canadians were looking for change and they did not see it in the Liberals, in Ontario. Yes, there was a lot of vote splitting, however lets be honest. Ontario has been red for a long time. This is a breakthrough for the Conservatives in Ontario. The question is, can they live up to that support?
The G.T.A is an important battleground and they better take note. As for the NDP, they better not take their Quebec support for granted. The Bloc imploded, Liberals were yesterdays news and they did not like the Conservatives. So we are left with the NDP. Jack the time to start working is now. As for the Liberals, there is a lot of soul searching.
However I will offer this advice to all parties. (1) Liberals, you need to go back to your roots. Your party is not dead. I’d rather say that it is in hibernation and healing. Canadian’s have not forgotten you, rather the opposite happened. You forgot them. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Otherwise, what is the point of the Liberal Party. It is time for you to reconnect. (2) NDP you have been given the chance to prove your worth, so do not disappoint. From the people I have spoken to many parked their vote with the NDP. Also, in Ontario, people simply love and trust Jack Layton. It will be important, despite a majority Conservative government, that the NDP choose their battles well and fight for those who voted for them. Less we forget, as often Canadians do! (3) Conservatives fought a simple and straight-forward campaign. You delivered your message and Canadians listened. We are concerned about the economy and trust in that has been given to you. However, do not take that trust for granted. A lot of Canadians still do not trust the Conservative Party and a lot of seats were gained from vote splitting. Be careful how you govern. Canadians are watching. Do not slip to the right with arrogance. As Harper said, keep a steady ship. If you can prove your worth maybe your quality will be remembered. (4) Finally, to Elizabeth May and the Green Party. You have made Canadian history! Despite the media ignoring you, thank you for running and not giving up. The Green Party should be a wake up call to ALL parties. People voted for Elizabeth May and the Greens across Canada. Their ideas and policies should not be ignored! Summed up in Elizabeth May’s own words “amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic”. People are wary in Canada and if the status-quo parties cannot deliver, Canadians may decide someone else can.
Congrats to Prime Minister Harper, who has finally gotten a majority government for the Conservative Party. We will all watch, wait and see what policies are implemented and what happens in the next Parliament. See you in 2015!
With the 2008 presidential election, Americans face a pivotal choice between not just two candidates, but two paradigms. We need someone who understands the complexity of our time. Someone who believes in investing in renewable energy, in education, in women’s rights, in civil rights, in healthcare for Americans. Someone who believes in dealing with global issues with diplomacy so we can restore our respect in the world. Barack Obama represents the change we need and can lead us into a brighter future.
“Vote For Hope” was written to encourage and inspire the hip hop generation—and everyone—to get involved, and contribute their time, energy, creativity, and other resources to be the change they want to see in the world. We have been inspired by the artistic and musical contributions that have been pouring out accross the nation in support of Barack Obama’s campaign. Vote for Hope is our offering to this creative movement. It is our way of adding our small voice to the collective voice of millions of Americans calling for a change.
We warned you during the election that the numbers did not make sense. As with others in the past who promised no deficits it seems that Harper has retracted on what he said during the election. Flip-flop? We focused so much on the Green Shift that other issues were put to the side. Now we are stuck with this situation. Are Canadians prepared for deep cuts to funding? Show me the money!
LES PERREAUX , KAREN HOWLETT , GLORIA GALLOWAY and BRIAN LAGHI
With reports from Joe Friesen in Toronto and Ian Bailey in Vancouver
October 18, 2008
QUEBEC, TORONTO, OTTAWA — Stephen Harper refused yesterday to rule out the possibility of a deficit next year despite his promise during the election campaign that he would not allow one if re-elected.
While the Prime Minister said he intends to maintain a balanced budget this year, he did not say the same for 2009-10.
“I don’t think we’re in a position yet to know all the information in that regard,” Mr. Harper said in Quebec City, where Canada is hosting a summit of French-speaking governments. “It would be premature to speculate on that. I will just say that the Government of Canada will maintain responsible fiscal policies and the Government of Canada will ensure that whatever we do is in the long-run interests of the Canadian economy.”
The government will unveil an updated economic statement this fall. Should revenues be affected by economic turmoil after this year, the Tories would have to choose whether to run a deficit, cut spending or find other revenue sources such as increasing taxes.
Jonathan Kay raises interesting points about the carbon tax and posits that it’s actually quite a “conservative” tax. I’d like to refer readers to Kay’s article, in which he makes a number of very valid observations – apart from the fact that Stéphane Dion should be sacked, he also reminds people that conservatism is not the mean-spirited ideology that the less-than-intellectual always make it out to be:
Many people casually associate the word “conservative” with unfettered capitalism and mindless consumerism. That is a fallacy. A true conservative in the Edmund Burke mold is suspicious of any revolutionary creed that challenges the established qualities of a humane society, especially a creed — such as unbridled materialism — that corrodes family life and human spirituality.
Absolutely true. This is why a real conservative won’t be the typical frenetic Bible-thumper, because he or she has realized that a fundamentalist Christian is often no better or worse than a fundamentalist Islamist, for example.
I fully agree that Dion deserves to be sacked — not only over his Green Shift, but quite generally. He’s not cut out for politics and should be sent back to his Ivory Tower at university where he belongs (or some Marxist summer camp in Paris) – back to your real roots, Monsieur Dion!
Having said that, it was a high-profile conservative who made a very strong case for shifting taxation away from income and on to consumption: David Frum, in his excellent book Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again.
So, a carbon tax is actually quite a good concept in theory, one that fits right in with the green-blue environmental conservatism championed by none other than one of Canada’s greatest politicians ever, if not the greatest, Preston Manning.
Manning formed the Reform Party in 1987. His chief policy adviser was Stephen Harper, a student at the University of Calgary and now the Prime Minister of Canada. Harper designed the Reform Party’s 1988 campaign platform. The Reform Party was a combination of fiscal conservatism and populism, though aspects of social-conservatism grew, branding the party as “very right-wing.”
With all the apocalyptic warnings coming from Conservative MPs about the Liberal Green Shift plan, it is eerie how silent they have been about their own plan — especially the part of their plan that will raise energy prices for Canadians.
The Conservative government’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy is included in their document, Turning the Corner. When it comes to energy prices here’s what Turning the Corner has to say: “Our modelling suggests that Canadians can expect to bear real costs under the Regulatory Framework. For the majority of individual Canadians … these costs will be most evident in the form of higher energy prices, particularly with respect to electricity and natural gas.”
For a plan put together for political, rather than environmental or economic purposes it is rather strong. Overly timid and chooses progressivity over efficiency, but a solid plan nonetheless.
Basics of the Liberal Carbon Tax Plan
The Liberal plan is relatively straight-forward – a $40/tonne on carbon dioxide emissions, phased in over a 4 year period. This tax would replace a number of existing excise taxes on carbon based fuels. Since the existing federal gasoline tax is equivalent to the rate 42 dollars/tonne of carbon, gasoline taxes are not unchanged with this new tax.
Once fully implemented the carbon tax is expected to bring in 15 billion dollars. With this revenue, the Liberal plan is to reduce other taxes by 9 billion. The plan is to reduce both corporate tax rates (1 percent for both the regular and small business rates) and income tax rates (a 1 1/2 percent reduction in the lowest tax bracket, 1 percent reduction in each of the middle two tax brackets and no change to the top tax bracket).
The remaining 6 billion dollars is allocated to a grab-bag of tax rebates, largely aimed at low income families with children.
Strengths of the Liberal Carbon Tax Plan
There are a number of things to like about the Liberal plan.
The plan is revenue neutral, if one considers tax rebates equivalent to tax cuts. Even if you take the view that a tax rebate is a spending program in disguise (which I do), 60 percent of the revenue from the carbon tax is still allocated to tax cuts.
The two types of taxes being cut, corporate income taxes and income taxes are two of the most damaging taxes to the economy. Cutting these two taxes should largely offset the economic damage caused by the carbon tax.
Since this tax replaces a number of existing taxes, it may be possible to keep the administrative and enforcement costs of the tax relatively low.
The progressive nature of the plan and the fact that almost all of the benefits go to consumers (whereas much of the carbon tax will be paid by businesses) may make the idea of a carbon tax easier to swallow for consumers. Particularly if they realize that in the short-run the plan acts as a transfer of wealth from businesses to consumers.
Weaknesses of the Liberal Carbon Tax Plan
The plan is relatively timid – a higher carbon tax rate would allow for more dramatic cuts to corporate tax rates. The three most damaging marginal tax rates – the small business corporate rate, the regular corporate rate and the highest marginal income tax rate receive the smallest rate cuts (in the case of the top income tax bracket, it sees no cut at all). That, along with the tax rebates make the plan more economically damaging than it could have been.
It is far from an optimal plan, but as a plan designed to help win an election, it still contains a great deal of economic benefits.
You can’t do your job as Leader of the Opposition. I don’t know what you’re doing running for Prime Minister. It’s a very unusual political situation when every voter knows even before the federal election that Canada’s next prime minister will be Stephen Harper. Like or loathe it, the Conservatives will be returned to power on October 14.
But two other important questions are far from decided – who will be Opposition leader and whether it will be a minority or majority government.
After last week’s debate and two years of Harper government one thing is very clear – the only real federal opposition in the House of Commons is the New Democratic Party. And the only real choice for Opposition leader is Jack Layton.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a smart, decent man. But Dion and the Liberals don’t stand up to Stephen Harper – they prop him up.
On 43 separate occasions in Parliament, Dion’s Liberals voted to keep Harper in power and accept his very conservative legislation.
By continually abstaining, the “Official Opposition” has abdicated its important role of serving the majority of Canadians who reject Conservative ideology.
But it wasn’t just fear of losing an election that led to the Liberals becoming Conservative Lite – they actually agree with Harper’s wrong-headed positions on many key political issues.
Dion and the Liberals support Harper’s massive $50 billion corporate tax cuts that reward companies which have eliminated more than 400,000 manufacturing and forest industry jobs since 2000.
And the Liberals and Conservatives want huge tax cuts despite the fact that Canada’s tax rates are already lower than many industrialized nations, including the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan.
And Canada also has a much lower Goods and Services Tax than most countries.
Dion and the Liberals joined with Conservatives to vote to extend till 2011 the deadly mission that sent brave Canadian troops into a hopeless situation in Afghanistan.
Dion and the Liberals say they want a “Green Shift” and carbon tax to protect the environment but oppose a proposed NDP moratorium on new Alberta tar sands oil projects – Canada’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
BRIAN LAGHI , HEATHER SCOFFIELD and STEVE CHASE AND TARA PERKINS Globe and Mail Update
October 9, 2008 at 10:48 PM EDT
OTTAWA, RICHMOND, B.C. and TORONTO — The federal government is moving to backstop the Canadian banks’ capacity to lend money in an acknowledgment that not even the country’s sturdy banking system is immune to the global financial crisis.
A plan originally earmarked for Friday morning would see the government assume some mortgages currently held by the banks by giving them to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp., a Crown corporation. In turn, the banks might receive CMHC paper – possibly bonds – against which they could use as collateral for their own loans from other banks.
In recent weeks, the big banks have faced a sharp rise in the cost of borrowing money in international markets to cover Canadian mortgages – a situation that puts them at risk of losing ever-increasing amounts of money on one of their core businesses.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the banks say no bailout is on the table and the plan falls short of an intervention, but sources told The Globe and Mail Ottawa now recognizes the fast-changing economic landscape requires action to help the banks access cheaper funds to fuel lending.
With the double whammy of the last days of an election combining with the global economic slowdown, the federal government and senior bank executives are hypersensitive. The Conservative Party has been insisting throughout the election campaign that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. But in the past 24 hours a new reality has set in.
Mr. Flaherty, who is expected to be in Washington Friday at an emergency G7 session of finance ministers, had been preparing to make the announcement of a banking plan Thursday, but after word leaked Wednesday night, the plans were delayed, sources say, in an illustration of how important it is for the government to try to control the message.
Pressure from the banks is growing, with executives arguing their sector needs federal help immediately to ease their credit pressure.
Banks want it right now but the Harper government has to reconcile calls for immediate assistance with its insistence the Canadian banking system requires no extraordinary measures.