They’re coming after your family

Days into a contest of meanness, a surprisingly clear contrast on honest-to-goodness platforms has suddenly emerged

by John Geddes

Election 2011: They're coming after your family

Photograph by Cole Garside

In the final days leading up to the campaign of 2011, Stephen Harper largely dropped out of sight. The Prime Minister stopped showing up for question period when his government’s fall became inevitable. After the opposition voted down his Conservative minority, he read a muted response from a podium in the ornate foyer of the House, and took no questions. There was reason to suspect he might be setting the tone for the race to come. After all, polls showed him well ahead, and a classic, minimalist front-runner’s strategy would be to do nothing to risk shaking things up. But Harper had other ideas.

From the steps of Rideau Hall after visiting the Governor General to set the campaign in motion, and at every stop after, he lashed out at his main rival, Michael Ignatieff—accusing the Liberal leader of intending to break his word and join forces with the NDP and Bloc Québécois. In return, Ignatieff indicted Harper for “a systematic pattern of falsehoods.” “He wouldn’t recognize the truth if it walked up and shook his hand,” he said.

All federal elections have their elbows-up moments, but few have featured the key combatants portraying each other so bluntly as liars from the outset. The unusually bitter tone springs from Harper’s insistence that if his Conservatives win only another minority, Ignatieff’s secret plan is to forge a coalition with the NDP’s Jack Layton and the Bloc’s Gilles Duceppe to seize power. He bases this allegation, of course, on the late 2008 bid by Ignatieff’s predecessor, Stéphane Dion, to do just that, after Dion had vowed not to during that fall’s campaign. “Their record is clear,” Harper says. “Deny it in an election and do it afterwards.” And so he brushes off Ignatieff’s vow to let whichever party wins the most seats, even if it’s a third consecutive Tory minority, take the first crack at forming a government.

Harper’s insistence on the inevitability of the coalition—if voters again deny him a majority—did more than make the campaign’s early days uncommonly rancorous. The theme also invited a heavy dose of arcane debate about Parliament’s conventions regarding unstable minorities. The combination wasn’t promising: a campaign dominated by a mix of personal invective, from which most voters recoil, and constitutional nuances, which make most eyes glaze over. But wait. Only three days into this contest of meanness and minutiae, a surprisingly clear contrast on platforms—honest-to-goodness policy—suddenly entered the picture. First, Harper announced an income-splitting plan for parents that could cut taxes for 1.8 million families. Next, Ignatieff counterpunched with a plan to give every student who enrolls in college or university $4,000—$6,000 for students from low-income families.

These centrepiece policies introduced something beyond mutual contempt into the rivalry between Harper and Ignatieff. The Conservatives’ family tax plan is classic Harper. It targets two-parent, middle-class families, and is particularly valuable when a mom decides to stay home to raise kids. The promise is to let couples split their income for tax purposes. That means shifting some income from the parent earning the most to the parent in the lower tax bracket. It would cost $2.5 billion a year and save 1.8 million families an average of $1,300. “We will make it easier,” Harper declared in the tidy backyard of a family near Victoria, “for parents to cover the day-to-day costs of raising their kids.”

But not right away. The weak link of his plan was the long lead time: Harper said it would only be introduced after he balances the federal budget, likely not for five years. Ignatieff said his so-called “Learning Passport” could be implemented in just two years. If the Liberals win the election, Ottawa would start paying $4,000 into the Registered Education Savings Plan of any student who goes to college or university, or $6,000 for low-income students. “This is a real revolution in learning and training in Canada,” Ignatieff said. “It will give us the means of becoming the most competitive economy in the world.” Braced for the inevitable Tory attack on the plan as a profligate Liberal big-government scheme, Ignatieff stressed that running it though the RESP program will minimize the need for new bureaucracy.
Even so, Ignatieff’s $1-billion plan was distinctly Liberal in its enthusiasm for direct government spending and public institutions—just as Harper’s tax-splitting policy flowed straight from the wellspring of the Conservative instinct for lower taxes and family responsibility. At root, the two plans suggest clashing visions of what middle-class voters, in particular, want from Ottawa. Is it more help or less hindrance?

Election 2011: They're coming after your family

Photograph by Roger Lemoyne

At the heart of Harper’s daily pitch is a series of boutique measures, many modest tax credits targeted at middle-class families: a break on the cost of signing kids up for arts programs, and for anyone caring for a dependent family member who’s sick or infirm, and on student loans. Ignatieff is trying to reach the same audience, but mainly with programs rather than tax relief. “The cost of college and university is slipping out of reach for too many middle-class families,” he said of his education idea.

Even the campaign-trail venues chosen by the two leaders suited their ideological centres of gravity. Ignatieff announced his education plan at Sheridan College, near Toronto, where 15,000 students at two campuses study everything from film and television to interior design to plumbing. The former professor spoke in a library surrounded by students. That same morning, Harper held a campaign event in Regina at Performance Marine, a boat dealership. The self-declared champion of small business spoke to reporters, with local Conservative candidates gathered around, in a repair bay where mechanics are usually busy fixing inboard and outboard motors.

Their performance styles contrast as much as their preferred backdrops. Ignatieff brings the intensity of a politician with ground to make up. He sometimes balls up his fists, and bends his knees as he comes to a key point, then extends his lanky frame into an exclamation point to finish it. Harper has never been a galvanizing speaker, but his unmodulated delivery, at its best, conveys an everyman quality that connects with the Conservative faithful, who pride themselves on their average-Canadian qualities. His real strength as a performer on the hustings, though, as he proved repeatedly in the opening days of his fourth national run as Tory leader, is his unblinking, unflappable demeanour when media grow insistent, or even unruly.

And the questioning certainly took on an exasperated tone for the first two days of this campaign. Harper had made the spectre of a Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition his main message. Yet he was vague when pressed about his own history of co-operation with Layton and Duceppe. Back in 2004, when he led the Tories in opposition to then-prime minister Paul Martin’s Liberal minority, Harper signed a joint letter with Layton and Duceppe, asking the governor general to consider “options” if Martin sought an election. Layton and Duceppe say what they had in mind was Harper heading a government, with their backing. Without having to win an election. Exactly what he accused Ignatieff of plotting now.

Harper said he intended nothing of the sort. And for two days, he wouldn’t clarify just what “options” he’d wanted the GG to consider. Then, on the campaign’s third morning, he offered an explanation. “I would have told the governor general, ‘We in fact are not trying to bring the government down. All Mr. Martin has to do is sit down and talk to us and I’m sure we will find a resolution.’ ” In other words, he hoped the GG would urge Martin to play nice. Is that in the vice-regal job description? Not according to University of New Brunswick parliamentary expert Don Desserud. Ned Franks, Queen’s University’s resident sage on Parliament, called the Prime Minister’s explanation “utter nonsense.”

But all Harper needed was an answer that didn’t sound too slippery. He wasn’t willing to drop from its prominent place in his campaign the message that the Liberals don’t merely represent an alternative government, but rather a dangerous merging of leftist and separatist aspirations. And Harper combines this unusually dark caricature of his opponent with an alarming characterization of the state of the world. “Yes, Canada is doing relatively well,” he says, “but a sea of troubles is lapping at our shores. Disaster in the Pacific, chaos in the Middle East, debt problems in Europe, and, of course, some very serious challenges just south of our border. Canada is the closest thing the world has to an island of security and stability.”

It’s a strikingly dark message to be running on just two years after Barack Obama seemed to make “hope” the era’s inescapable political campaigner’s theme. Yet one of Harper’s biggest applause lines in his standard stump address is that depiction of Canada as an island of calm in a sea of turmoil. In particular, the line earns ovations from Tory crowds that include large contingents of immigrants and their Canadian-born children. Those voters are among the most sought-after of this campaign, seen as a swing subset of the prized middle-class family demographic, especially where concentrated in suburban Toronto and Vancouver.

Conservatives and Liberals have sparred over how to refer to new Canadian voters, or whether to at all. Picking up on a Tory strategy document that targets “very ethnic” ridings, Ignatieff objected to the term “ethnic vote.” “I don’t think it treats people with respect,” he said. “These are Canadians.” Yet his party announced TV ads aimed at “multicultural audiences” and “vibrant communities,” in languages from Punjabi to Mandarin to Portuguese. Harper didn’t hesitate to appeal to the immigrant sensibility. To a Burnaby, B.C., crowd including many Asian Canadians, he said “people who come to this country from all over the world” would recognize a Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition as a “reckless idea.”

Of course, it’s an idea only Harper really cared to talk about. Whether he’ll be able to sustain it as a compelling, central concern right through to the May 2 vote remained in question. Clearly, he thinks its potential is huge, raising this election’s stakes to a choice between his majority and a shadowy outcome that’s “not right, not democratic, and not Canada.” But another possible campaign dynamic is on the table—the battle suggested by the Conservative tax-splitting pledge and the Liberal education payments promise, and the deeper disagreement about the role of government that they represent. What was shaping up as an extended exchange of pejoratives might yet turn into a test of platforms.




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They’re coming after your family

  1. I don't understand what the big deal about coalaiton is. This is democracy. Coalations are a norm un Europe – its better not to give absolute majority to one party to make reckless decisions – its good to have some checks and balances in parliament.

    Stephen Harper wants absolute majority and absolute power. We should deny him that. He actually wants to keep the opposition dis-united so he can rule with iron fists. Lets deny him that as well. Say YES to coalation – and YES to democracy. We love Canada and value democracy. Down with Harper's dictatorial governance.

  2. I don't understand what the big deal about coalaiton is. This is democracy. Coalations are a norm un Europe – its better not to give absolute majority to one party to make reckless decisions – its good to have some checks and balances in parliament.

    Stephen Harper wants absolute majority and absolute power. We should deny him that. He actually wants to keep the opposition dis-united so he can rule with iron fists. Lets deny him that as well. Say YES to coalation – and YES to democracy. We love Canada and value democracy. Down with Harper's dictatorial governance.

  3. I have listened to both Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Harper and the soundbites are bothersome. When the soundbite clashes with the truth then I start to get mad. We are having this election at the insistence of Mr. Harper, the only thing he had to do was to tell us the cost of his prison plans and we wouldn't be here. Claiming fiscal prudence is a direct contradiction to what he did to cause the election, a real hand in the cookie jar moment.
    I think we will end up with a minority but I hope that this minority is a bit more balanced, perhaps Mr. Harper will not be so eager to force another unwanted election on the voters. Mr. Harper should stop telling us why there is an election, it is just annoying to listen to him lie directly to Canadians. I do like the Liberal tuition plan as I have a child starting university this year, one starting in three years and one starting (we hope!) in six years. After five years without a raise (the corporation I work for is making record profits but none for me) the money would really help. I am not so impressed with the fat cash that I could get in five years if "fiscal prudence" turns out to be more than a soundbite.

  4. I have listened to both Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Harper and the soundbites are bothersome. When the soundbite clashes with the truth then I start to get mad. We are having this election at the insistence of Mr. Harper, the only thing he had to do was to tell us the cost of his prison plans and we wouldn't be here. Claiming fiscal prudence is a direct contradiction to what he did to cause the election, a real hand in the cookie jar moment.
    I think we will end up with a minority but I hope that this minority is a bit more balanced, perhaps Mr. Harper will not be so eager to force another unwanted election on the voters. Mr. Harper should stop telling us why there is an election, it is just annoying to listen to him lie directly to Canadians. I do like the Liberal tuition plan as I have a child starting university this year, one starting in three years and one starting (we hope!) in six years. After five years without a raise (the corporation I work for is making record profits but none for me) the money would really help. I am not so impressed with the fat cash that I could get in five years if "fiscal prudence" turns out to be more than a soundbite.

    • @David
      Hi David. That's what Ignatieff is banking on. People's desperation with school fees. It clouds their vision about his CAP & TRADE program and the killing of private sector jobs, which will mean more taxes put on our shoulders. So where in God's Green Earth do you actually see that you will be ahead with his "Rob Peter to Pay Paul" give a ways???
      Ignatieff & NDP know that the jets have to be replaced. They know that hydro costs are killing us and that Cap & Trade will at to that misery, yet they want to kill private sector job growth anyway, just for a vote to satisfy their own ego.

      Please look at this video:

      Cap and Trade Explained (in plain old English) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FrE7ndkSwY

      • Hi Missy
        I wish I could tune in on the "economy" as the cause of this election but I just cannot, it isn't about the economy or fiscal prudence because if it was there wouldn't be an election and we would know what costs we were facing to implement a new plan for prisons in Canada. Trying to make it about the "economy" is sound strategy if you are facing ethical shortcomings. Mr. Harper never seems to be aware of things that matter, Mr. Carson, Mr. Jaffer, Mr. Bruyea, Ms. Ouimet, Mr. Colvin, Ms. Guergis…well you get the idea, it is a long list of shortcomings.
        As far as the economy and Mr. Harper's plan to offer corporations a tax break, well I am speaking from personal experience when I tell you that the tax break will create more profits that the front line workers will never see.
        Thanks for the link to the video but I do not agree with the conclusions of the janeqcitizen1776, she is wrong.

        • David, you should really watch this video. It is an American example, but fits us well.
          http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/03/eat-

          We live in a global society. You can't tax the job makers too much, or they leave. The three biggest banks in England are considering moving to other countries right now. How many British people will they employ if that happens?

          • Oh please, we have one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world.

            We have one of the highest educated populations in the world.

            Business don't even have to pay for medical care here.

            You really think a 3% increase in one of the lowest tax rate is going to make businesses take up the cost to move to somewhere with a less educated populace, more medical expenses, less stability, and probably a higher tax-rate to boot?

            Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

      • Cap and Trade would provide billions from the rich oil companies we could put to paying down the debt. Sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about. Tax the bankers and put pollution limits on the fat cat oil companies and Canada's middle class could finally prosper.

  5. @Up-with-democracy
    Since your so big on democracy, WHY aren't you attacking McGuinty for taking away the rights of ALL Ontario municipalities to decide if they want windmills in their backyard???

    Also, instead of just parroting, do your home work…….you will see that coalition gov'ts are NOT working out.
    Come on now, just use your keyboard and google search, it's that easy.

    TO MANY COOKS SPOIL THE BROTH!

  6. @David
    Hi David. That's what Ignatieff is banking on. People's desperation with school fees. It clouds their vision about his CAP & TRADE program and the killing of private sector jobs, which will mean more taxes put on our shoulders. So where in God's Green Earth do you actually see that you will be ahead with his "Rob Peter to Pay Paul" give a ways???
    Ignatieff & NDP know that the jets have to be replaced. They know that hydro costs are killing us and that Cap & Trade will at to that misery, yet they want to kill private sector job growth anyway, just for a vote to satisfy their own ego.

    Please look at this video:

    Cap and Trade Explained (in plain old English) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FrE7ndkSwY

  7. Missy,
    We're a middle class family living on one income, 2 kids, and conservative investments. I like the the idea of raising taxes on corporations and funding education so that anyone can afford a post secondary education, not just the wealthy. I'm also wondering what kind of job growth you've seen where you're from? Corporate tax cuts, longer work hours demanded of employees, sometimes cuts in pay= larger profits for shareholders!! I have no interest in supporting the wealthy, they have enough advantages.

  8. Hi Missy
    I wish I could tune in on the "economy" as the cause of this election but I just cannot, it isn't about the economy or fiscal prudence because if it was there wouldn't be an election and we would know what costs we were facing to implement a new plan for prisons in Canada. Trying to make it about the "economy" is sound strategy if you are facing ethical shortcomings. Mr. Harper never seems to be aware of things that matter, Mr. Carson, Mr. Jaffer, Mr. Bruyea, Ms. Ouimet, Mr. Colvin, Ms. Guergis…well you get the idea, it is a long list of shortcomings.
    As far as the economy and Mr. Harper's plan to offer corporations a tax break, well I am speaking from personal experience when I tell you that the tax break will create more profits that the front line workers will never see.
    Thanks for the link to the video but I do not agree with the conclusions of the janeqcitizen1776, she is wrong.

  9. The dynamic for coalitions is different here. They don't have one powerful party that wants to break up their country.

    When most people think about a coalition party in Canada, they think the Liberals would run it. That isn't the case in Canada.

    The most powerful member of the coalition would be the Bloc Quebecois — possibly by number of seats, definitely in aggregate power since they would always hold the balance of the vote.

    A coalition "majority" would quickly turn into a different type of minority government where the Bloc would call the shots behind closed doors.

  10. The dynamic for coalitions is different here. They don't have one powerful party that wants to break up their country.

    When most people think about a coalition party in Canada, they think the Liberals would run it. That isn't the case in Canada.

    The most powerful member of the coalition would be the Bloc Quebecois — possibly by number of seats, definitely in aggregate power since they would always hold the balance of the vote.

    A coalition "majority" would quickly turn into a different type of minority government where the Bloc would call the shots behind closed doors.

    • Which is different from the last minority that relied on the Bloc in what way, exactly?

      Unfortunately, we missed our chance in 2008 to have a coalition which neutered the Bloc through the C&S agreement it agreed to. The one good thing Harper did was scare the Bloc so much they were willing to risk their own relevance to get him out of there.

      Then of course the coalition got demonized, and we lost that opportunity.

  11. PC and Liberals are playing the fear game and using tactics unbecoming of any political party. Do we really want these two in power over us with personal agendas and wavering promises. I am willing to risk my vote in favour of NDP to teach our two party system a lesson. Enough is enough.

  12. PC and Liberals are playing the fear game and using tactics unbecoming of any political party. Do we really want these two in power over us with personal agendas and wavering promises. I am willing to risk my vote in favour of NDP to teach our two party system a lesson. Enough is enough.

  13. The Quebecois already run this country if you look at where the government departments are located and the number of French Quebecers employed by us. Quebec will never seperate as they have control now and I am constantly amazed at the media spin on how much Quebec and the French language is suffering in Canada. Vote for whomever you choose but the unelected bureaucracy is a force to overcome.

  14. The Quebecois already run this country if you look at where the government departments are located and the number of French Quebecers employed by us. Quebec will never seperate as they have control now and I am constantly amazed at the media spin on how much Quebec and the French language is suffering in Canada. Vote for whomever you choose but the unelected bureaucracy is a force to overcome.

  15. Which is different from the last minority that relied on the Bloc in what way, exactly?

    Unfortunately, we missed our chance in 2008 to have a coalition which neutered the Bloc through the C&S agreement it agreed to. The one good thing Harper did was scare the Bloc so much they were willing to risk their own relevance to get him out of there.

    Then of course the coalition got demonized, and we lost that opportunity.

  16. Hey, is anyone else curious why the $75 billion bank bailout isn't more of an election issue?

  17. Hey, is anyone else curious why the $75 billion bank bailout isn't more of an election issue?

    • Follow the money.

  18. Too many glib platitudes ruin the public discourse. Have you perhaps researched why funding for windmills has dried up? Maybe post that. Municipalities already have windmills, I'd direct you to take adrive along highway 21 from Kincardine to Sauble Beach, you'll see dozens of windmills. What governments are discovering is that it costs way too much to generate electricity with windmills. In addition, the windmill sales people only state potential output and not actual output, most wind turbine efficiencies are in the 10-15% range.

  19. Too many glib platitudes ruin the public discourse. Have you perhaps researched why funding for windmills has dried up? Maybe post that. Municipalities already have windmills, I'd direct you to take adrive along highway 21 from Kincardine to Sauble Beach, you'll see dozens of windmills. What governments are discovering is that it costs way too much to generate electricity with windmills. In addition, the windmill sales people only state potential output and not actual output, most wind turbine efficiencies are in the 10-15% range.

    • A mix of power sources is still highly desirable. Coal kills thousands because of the pollution to say nothing of the greenhouse gases so its off the table. Nuclear is still the preferred option in spite of the little safety mishap in Japan (which we can learn from, and which cannot happen with CANDU reactors in theory). But we also need some wind, and a lot of solar.

  20. Great idea, David. Borrow to give your children money for school, and then they can work for years to pay the taxes on the interest of the debt.
    Ignatieff has not been truthful about how he plans to fund his ideas. That bothers me a lot. He is just another promise anything to get elected politician.

  21. Missy, Ignatieff's speil would be good, if it were true. The liberals plan to get their money by raising the corporate tax rate from 15% (which they voted for) to 18%. They claim that this will increase Federal Government revenues by 6 billion. They base their projections on the 2007 corporate tax take. (much lower now – sound like solid financial planning.) A guy from the UofC calculated that the total gain in federal corporate taxes would actually be around 1.8 billion. (After factoring in that corporations invest less when taxes go up.) The really funny thing about it is that the tax increase would also result in a 1.7 billion decrease Provincial tax revenue. Result: 100 million extra, and up to 200,000 lost jobs. That is how the liberal plan to buy my vote? Sorry, it doesn't seem like they can figure out finances enough to get my vote, but it appears that their dodgy numbers has purchased yours. :(
    Basically, your children will end up paying with higher taxes, as there is not extra money for these spends.

  22. Missy, Ignatieff's speil would be good, if it were true. The liberals plan to get their money by raising the corporate tax rate from 15% (which they voted for) to 18%. They claim that this will increase Federal Government revenues by 6 billion. They base their projections on the 2007 corporate tax take. (much lower now – sound like solid financial planning.) A guy from the UofC calculated that the total gain in federal corporate taxes would actually be around 1.8 billion. (After factoring in that corporations invest less when taxes go up.) The really funny thing about it is that the tax increase would also result in a 1.7 billion decrease Provincial tax revenue. Result: 100 million extra, and up to 200,000 lost jobs. That is how the liberal plan to buy my vote? Sorry, it doesn't seem like they can figure out finances enough to get my vote, but it appears that their dodgy numbers has purchased yours. :(
    Basically, your children will end up paying with higher taxes, as there is not extra money for these spends.

    • That is a very good point (that I only saw after I posted my comment below) but I strongly disagree with the rest of their platform.

    • A guy from UofC also calculated that "if we were going to have a recession we'd already be in it by now"

      Was the "guy from UofC" your drinking buddy, perhaps?

      However, if you're going to argue that the Liberals can't do math, then you have to argue the same for the Chicken Party of Canada as well, as they're saying the tax increase will cost businesses the exact same $6 billion the Liberals are.

    • Corporate tax rate is currently 18%. It would be lowered to 15% in January.

  23. David, you should really watch this video. It is an American example, but fits us well.
    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/03/eat-

    We live in a global society. You can't tax the job makers too much, or they leave. The three biggest banks in England are considering moving to other countries right now. How many British people will they employ if that happens?

  24. I agree that the conservative platform, if implemented, could increase the gap like what is seen in the U.S. currently (the past decade or so has seen its poor getting poorer and rich getting richer). But I would be careful about supporting increased taxes to businesses. Today businesses compete globally and in places where taxes are high, our government has no choice but to give business incentives. These are never more than what the corporation brings in in the short run (jobs = income taxes, buying from suppliers = more tax income etc.) I think economically and socially, progressive taxing of individuals and low corporate taxing with lots of public services for mothers (again more babies mean more tax income for the future), a two-tear system for healthcare (Joseph Heath has a great argument in favour of this, but I digress) is ideal.

  25. I agree that the conservative platform, if implemented, could increase the gap like what is seen in the U.S. currently (the past decade or so has seen its poor getting poorer and rich getting richer). But I would be careful about supporting increased taxes to businesses. Today businesses compete globally and in places where taxes are high, our government has no choice but to give business incentives. These are never more than what the corporation brings in in the short run (jobs = income taxes, buying from suppliers = more tax income etc.) I think economically and socially, progressive taxing of individuals and low corporate taxing with lots of public services for mothers (again more babies mean more tax income for the future), a two-tear system for healthcare (Joseph Heath has a great argument in favour of this, but I digress) is ideal.

  26. I'm not sure that our debt is unmanageable. As a former conservative, I used to think like you and it's a good way to think for our personal finances. Harper's policies just scare me. I would not want to become the US:
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/to/s/18fdVK

  27. I'm not sure that our debt is unmanageable. As a former conservative, I used to think like you and it's a good way to think for our personal finances. Harper's policies just scare me. I would not want to become the US:
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/to/s/18fdVK

  28. That is a very good point (that I only saw after I posted my comment below) but I strongly disagree with the rest of their platform.

  29. A guy from UofC also calculated that "if we were going to have a recession we'd already be in it by now"

    Was the "guy from UofC" your drinking buddy, perhaps?

    However, if you're going to argue that the Liberals can't do math, then you have to argue the same for the Chicken Party of Canada as well, as they're saying the tax increase will cost businesses the exact same $6 billion the Liberals are.

  30. Oh please, we have one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world.

    We have one of the highest educated populations in the world.

    Business don't even have to pay for medical care here.

    You really think a 3% increase in one of the lowest tax rate is going to make businesses take up the cost to move to somewhere with a less educated populace, more medical expenses, less stability, and probably a higher tax-rate to boot?

    Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

  31. Follow the money.

  32. Corporate tax rate is currently 18%. It would be lowered to 15% in January.

  33. "Of course, it's an idea only Harper really cared to talk about. Whether he'll be able to sustain it as a compelling, central concern right through to the May 2 vote remained in question. Clearly, he thinks its potential is huge, raising this election's stakes to a choice between his majority and a shadowy outcome that's “not right, not democratic, and not Canada.”

    Mr Geddes, I realize you have criticized Harper's ambivalence on his part in the 04 proposal to supplant Martin. But really. just where does the duty of journos like yourself begin and end with this issue? Sure Harper is perfectly free to point out that he may not get another shot unless it's majority. But as you point out he's not doing that. If this strategy is successful what degree blame will people like yourself, Coyne,[ who has spoken out] Wells and the media in general have to bear in perpetrating a fraud on the electorate of this country? I fully understand you can't be editorializing on every issue. But this is our democracy for God's sake. When will you guys condemn such blatant deception?

  34. "Of course, it's an idea only Harper really cared to talk about. Whether he'll be able to sustain it as a compelling, central concern right through to the May 2 vote remained in question. Clearly, he thinks its potential is huge, raising this election's stakes to a choice between his majority and a shadowy outcome that's “not right, not democratic, and not Canada.”

    Mr Geddes, I realize you have criticized Harper's ambivalence on his part in the 04 proposal to supplant Martin. But really. just where does the duty of journos like yourself begin and end with this issue? Sure Harper is perfectly free to point out that he may not get another shot unless it's majority. But as you point out he's not doing that. If this strategy is successful what degree blame will people like yourself, Coyne,[ who has spoken out] Wells and the media in general have to bear in perpetrating a fraud on the electorate of this country? I fully understand you can't be editorializing on every issue. But this is our democracy for God's sake. When will you guys condemn such blatant deception?

  35. A mix of power sources is still highly desirable. Coal kills thousands because of the pollution to say nothing of the greenhouse gases so its off the table. Nuclear is still the preferred option in spite of the little safety mishap in Japan (which we can learn from, and which cannot happen with CANDU reactors in theory). But we also need some wind, and a lot of solar.

  36. Cap and Trade would provide billions from the rich oil companies we could put to paying down the debt. Sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about. Tax the bankers and put pollution limits on the fat cat oil companies and Canada's middle class could finally prosper.

  37. Tax and spend is looking a lot better now than, lie and buy, which, with his announcements and his massive list of transgressions against Canadians, Harper has obviously made an official part of his campaign, LIE AND BUY – Harper's style.

  38. Tax and spend is looking a lot better now than, lie and buy, which, with his announcements and his massive list of transgressions against Canadians, Harper has obviously made an official part of his campaign, LIE AND BUY – Harper's style.

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