High praise - Macleans.ca

High praise


Stephen Gordon considers the comparative ramifications of the NDP platform.

The party that wins the election will be forced to face that fact that the federal deficit is not going to go away on its own, and that the measures in its platform would make it worse. This election is the first in which the prospect that this government might be formed by the NDP would change comparatively little.


High praise

  1. I'm not sure how one can construe this as high praise: "The transition from producing platforms that are crazy to ones that are just dumb may not seem like much progress, but it's enough to put the NDP within hailing distance of the Liberals and the Conservatives."

    • To say that the fiscal impact of NDP policies is no worse than the other parties is extremely high praise when coming from fiscally conservative analysts like Gordon.

      • He didn't say they were no worse. He said they are in hailing distance (and if Harper can be accused of possessing a hidden agenda, surely so too can Jack).

        • Oh come on. What's Jack hiding? The reason Jack's been on the fringe for so long is because he's always been totally forthright about what he believes.

          This is a guy who had the nads to raise Aboriginal poverty as an issue during the debates. And it does my heart good that for once, Canadians are thinking of voting for him in record numbers.

          • Yeah, a guy who actually pays attention to what Canadians want. He also raised proportional voting in one of the debates.

          • I'd say Jack's promises to re-open the constitution count as vague and potentially explosive. Either he is lying to the Quebec nationalists he seeks to court, or his electoral prospects in Quebec matter more to him than Canadian unity.

            I'd say Jack's plan to cap credit card rates is similar. We all know what happens when you cap interest rates – banks stop lending to poor people. So, is this a lie, or does Jack Layton plan to screw over poor borrowers?

            I'd say his numbers that clearly don't add up look like a hidden agenda. He plans on training new doctors for under $4,000 a pop, when the real cost is something like 20 times that. He budgeted revenues from a cap and trade system for this year (that must be some cap and trade) in his platform.

            Jack Layton is either going to have to:
            A. increase the deficit
            B. raise taxes
            C. renege on a lot of his campaign promises

            I'd say either of the three qualify as a hidden agenda.

          • Financial talking heads agree with you.

            New Democrats' Surge in Polls Prompts Concern That Canadian Taxes May Rise

            “A coalition government in general means more spending and higher taxes,” Sheryl King, head of Canada economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Toronto, said in an e-mail. “I do not think the corporate tax hike will be sufficient. Higher taxes elsewhere will have to occur as well.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-27/new-demo

          • Imagine that – those that are doing very well raising the alarm that they may need to pay a little more in taxes.

            Full disclosure – I am in a tax bracket that would be effected – would pay more taxes – if a more progressive tax system was brought forward. I want to pay more taxes for a fairer society and to support the services we need such as education and health care to name but a few.

          • Jack hasn't promised to reopen the Constitution. That's a total misquote. I watched him on FRENCH television today, and he was making no such promise to Quebecers. The interviewer grilled him on it, and all he would say was that he wanted to create the winning conditions for such a process by first taking care of Quebecers needs — jobs, etc. — and then, if and when the timing was right, they could look at it. But he was adamant that this was not a priority for him because he did not feel it was a priority for Quebecers.

          • I agree – poverty has been reduced to a footnote in the Liberal party's platform, and its a word that Harper refuses to speak because he has no interest in addressing it. That being said, the Liberals had a good plan to deal with Aboriginal poverty but Jack and Stephen slewfoot Paul Martin and the Kelowna Accord before it could come into effect. That is also a reality.
            Here's hoping that the current 'tide' isn't just another end result of foot dragging…

  2. LOL Harper is just as 'bad' as the dreaded socialists….this election is more fun the closer we get!

  3. I get that the "High praise" title is meant to be sarcastic, but this line from Stephen Gordon jumped out at me: "Where there are differences — on such files as the corporate income tax or Employment Insurance, for example — the NDP's position is the least sensible."

    • Translation – Harper's isn't sensible. You should hear what Gordon thinks of Harper's GST cut – I don't have the actual quote but the word stupid is used.

      • I know what Gordon thought about the GST cut.

        Gordon hasn't praised the CPC platform in this election, either—however, he has made it clear that he thinks that the LPC platform is worse than the CPC platform, and the NDP platform is worse than those of both the CPC and the LPC.

        • That's always how he ranks them. But trying to get him to explain what he means is painful. On corporate taxes, the NDP are increasing the top rate slightly – all the way back to what Martin imposed. On EI, they want to make the program easier to access. How is that "dumb"?

        • Slightly larger fish. Very small pond.

      • Who the hell is Stephen Gordon when he is at home? One thing for sure he is not credible. The issue is not the debt or deficit now, it is what it would be if the NDP got at the cash register. All you have to do is to look at what happened in the provinces that elected NDP governments. To carry out their programs they would need a lot more than fictional cap-and-trade.

        It is easy to dislike the incumbent, but it's another thing to put your trust in inexperienced lefties. Runnin Toronto is not like running Canada.

  4. I have a crazy idea. Maybe if there is a minority parliament the parties should work together to reduce the deficit and implement the best ideas from all their platforms. Nah, whoever has the most seats should ram through their platform while they all call each other names.

    • All of the parties' so called 'best ideas' tend be thing that cost money.

      It's tough to get people to vote for you by telling them you're going to be a) taxing them more, or b) providing them less.

      • You get what you pay for. Less taxes = crappy government services. And many Canadians are wise enough to understand this.

    • I suspect that any of the other parties in minority would do just that. Harper is quite unique in his utter contempt for the whole respecting your mandate thing.

  5. Bay Street is not impressed with the NDP.

    "While the dollar has yet to take notice of the shifting tides, concern is rising on Bay Street, where the memory of Bob Rae's provincial NDP rule remains fresh, Mr. Macklin said.

    The NDP's platform has promised $70-billion in new spending, to be financed by a cap-and-trade system and a hike in the corporate tax rate to 19.5% from 16.5%.

    "Canada is otherwise very well positioned right now from the point of view of taxation," Mr. Macklin said. If Mr. Layton's proposed revisions to the tax regime become more likely, markets would not respond favourably.

    "Right now, I'd suggest the markets aren't taking it seriously, but if it becomes more of a possibility, we'll see a lot more analysis in that area," he said."

    • Think Mr. Macklin might have some self interest?

  6. Look at what the Conservatives have been wasting our money on – free PR for the big oil companies who can afford to do their own dam' PR, and lots of money for Bruce Carson to play with.

  7. On the other hand, there's a possibility that JL may give attention to economists other
    than the standard neo-liberal or self-interested bank types. I don't know that … but I think
    we have to consider the possibility.

  8. Oh, get truly radical. Make it May Day. I'll go polish up the pole.

  9. Jack Layton: "Before the campaign I couldn't spell economist, now I are one."

  10. The NDP and the CPC both know how to spend incompetently and do not know how to tax competently. They are different in their incompetencies, but both are busts when it comes to the nation's finances. Add in Harper's shameless pork-barreling and personal smears and Layton's desire to reignite the fires of Quebec separatism and you have two parties who have no business directing the affairs of the nation. But they have good ad agencies, so we'll settle for that, right?

  11. At least the NDP are up front about what they're planning to do. They're going to apply taxes and redistribute the money.

    The CPC? Smoke and mirrors. Everything's going to stay the same, they're just going to cut $11 billion in 5 years even though it took them the last five just to identify 1.6 they can cut.

  12. You folks asking how this is high praise are missing the point:
    Here is a respected economist and commentator conceding that the NDP is a legitimate party on par (or at least within hailing distance, as he puts it) with the Liberals and the Conservatives and can reasonably be considered as a possibility to form the government. They may not be his preference, but Stephen Gordon will no longer have a heart attack if the NDP were somehow elected.

    In other words, when an economist who generally favours the economic policies of the Conservatives can write a column in the Globe saying that the NDP getting elected isn't the end of the world, it means that maybe the NDP has finally left the fringe and made it into the mainstream. In just writing this article, Gordon may even be helping to make that true by allowing people to stop thinking of the NDP as crazies and actually look at them as a legitimate party.

    That's high praise indeed.

    • As a side note, I've been waiting for this to happen even since I started following electoral politics and have been able to vote. Maybe, just maybe, if the NDP moves in the right direction and can manage to displace the Liberals enough, the Liberals will stop thinking they're the natural government, stop thinking like incumbents (or soon-to-be incumbents) and start embracing things like democratic reform. Maybe then we'll start to see some movement on things like proportional representation, and maybe then I can actually vote for the party I really want to in any given election rather than feeling completely boxed in every time an one rolls around.

  13. Lets be clear here, the NDP have not said they are raising taxes!

    Please tell me which number is bigger? The cost of Layton keeping his promises – which amounts to a lot of money going back into the public domain and rebuilding this country to its former greatness, or harpers fighter jets? It's amazing how conservative supporters never question the spending of the conservatives – even though historically in Canada they have been by far the biggest spenders. No, but as soon as a left leaning candidate starts talking about spending money to make our lives better its "omg wheres teh money??? They're going to raise taxes!".

    Well I'm going to reveal the big secret of where the money comes from. It's not a money tree! It's not international bank loans! It's… from our taxes they already get!
    Layton's entire plan falls within the limits of government revenue. It's been reviewed and crunched by multiple 3rd party independent studies. It's 100% feasible within the budget.

    Sigh… I just cant get over the fact that people still think this way even though the cons have always been the over-spenders…

    Recent study saying the NDP have the best fiscal record keeping a balanced budget: http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2011/04/29/fi

    Good day and I hope some of you open your eyes and see the economy won't be wrecked and taxes will not go up under Jack Layton!