Ignatieff starts filling in the blanks

Of the dozen questions the Liberal leader faced on Monday, only one was about a coalition


Perhaps the most interesting news out of Michael Ignatieff’s news conference this morning at Toronto’s Royal York hotel came, not from the candidate, but from his tormentors in the press gallery: of perhaps a dozen questions, only one was about the Liberal leader’s plans, or lack thereof, for an anti-Conservative coalition after the next election. (I didn’t ask any questions at today’s presser. I’ll have some later in the week when he starts rolling out policy.) So it looks like Ignatieff won’t have to spend the next month talking about the coalition and nothing else.

Also interesting were the hints about what the next week holds. Ignatieff is going to roll out a detailed, costed policy proposal every day, starting with something on “learning” tomorrow and ending with the release of a full platform within a week. Few details yet, except this: “Here’s the key thing about it: This electoral program of the Liberal Party of Canada will cost less – it will cost less than the Conservative program. And we will not raise taxes on ordinary Canadian families. And you know why? Because we’ve said no to corporate tax giveaways.”

Of course the Liberals are saying no to corporate tax cuts that were already introduced, in January of this year, from 18% to 16.5%. As former Liberal finance critic John McCallum told reporters while Ignatieff was crowd-surfing in Chinatown, that’s a tax increase. One question facing voters this week is whether the policies Ignatieff will roll out will be worth the tax increase that will help pay for them.


Ignatieff starts filling in the blanks

  1. WOW! These headlines couldn't be written better if Harper wrote them himself! Right wing press is lending there hand in the dismantleing of our country. SHAME ON YOU!

  2. Was the Royal York the smartest of ordinary-Canadian optics? I'm sure the little pastry thingies were scrumptuous (was Mitchel there with his camera, I wonder), but still…

    Whatever, I too am very much looking forward to some POLICY. "Smart tax measures for single-income families in the far-off future if we all behave" is not filling this voter up with a whole lot of meaningful policy.

  3. Well they can start with using the real figures.

    "you save $6-billion, … The Liberals seem determined to repeat this number, so it's important to remember that it means approximately nothing.

    It is based on a 2007 projection for 2012-13. In 2007, corporate income tax (CIT) revenues per CIT rate percentage point were in the stratosphere and still rising; projections for the future were correspondingly optimistic. Using the same approach using more recent data, the PBO puts the sacrificed revenue on the order of $4.6-billion. "

  4. Uh, are you on the right page for this comment?

  5. I too admit to some confusion.

  6. Well if we're using Flaherty numbers they're all probably wrong anyway.

  7. What's kind of fun is that the Conservatives are using the same figure. Both parties have decided it's in their interest to ascribe the highest possible value to the CIT cuts. The Conservatives so they can call reversing it an Umpty-Dump Billion Tax Grab, and the Liberals so they can call implementing it an Umpty-Dump Billion Gift To Rich Corporations.

  8. Sigh…….I keep forgetting the 85% that don't follow politics!!

  9. And you know why? Because we've said no to corporate tax giveaways.

    That would be the tax cut the Liberals said YES to when they were enacted, no? And we seem to want to continue the lie that slightly reduced involuntary confiscation is a giveaway. Other than that, sir, you're doing just fine.

  10. Unless your headline suggests that Ignatieff is the savior and/or Harper is the anti-christ… you are part of the right-wing press and you are "dismantleing" our country.

  11. Me too, and I'm a lefty.

  12. I presume parties and leaders can change their views when circumstances change?

    Sorry, I forgot, this is Canadian politics.


    Anyway, polls being what they are on the matter of corporate tax cuts, I guess every time someone accuses Ignatieff of raising corporate taxes, he gets a few more votes.

  13. Right wing press here !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahaha does your mother know you are on her compter?

  14. Except I read the headline as neutral to favourable, at the very least kind. So I'll just peg this as a confusing, knee-jerk reaction from someone who feels passionately and strongly about… one of the sides.

  15. I'm waiting for the education policy, so I'm hoping tomorrow will be interesting.

  16. So, what you are saying is, the Conservatives hiding the actual costing for their corporate tax cuts and not releasing the back-up info to Parliament as required works in favour of both the Conservatives and the Liberals. Genius.

  17. Still no goodies for me. Why won't anyone pander specifically to me?!?!?!

    This is shaping up to be the worst.election. ever.

  18. Has anyone asked either leader about healthcare, the war in Afghanistan, concrete deficit reduction, etc. yet? While platforms are important, it's also important to look at what's not said. I really hope the media will focus on some important policy issues for this election.

  19. Well fiscal decisions aren't static. I suspect you'd agree they shouldn't be. A decision at one point of the economic cycle is not necessarily right at a different point in the economic cycle, especially if intervening decisions have erased the basic underlying assumptions.

    The Libs supported CIT when they were in government, we had a surplus, the economy was booming, we had the highest CIT in the G8. The Libs supported CIT when they were in opposition, we had a surplus, the economy was booming, we had among the highest CIT in the G8. The Liberals supported CIT when they were in opposition, we were in trying to do anything and everything to stimulate the economy, we had among the highest CIT in the G8.

    The Liberals now oppose the CIT when the economy is growing once again and we now have one of the lowest corporate tax rates (actually the second lowest and lower than the US) in the G8 and we have a monumental, record deficit that will take over half a decade at least to get out of.

    Surely you can acknowledge there are differences.

  20. Check with your provincial governments, which I believe are still in charge of education.

  21. Life is just full of surprises Mark. Enjoy tomorrow.

  22. This guy said it better than I could:

    Stop this race to the bottom on corporate tax, by Jeffrey Sachs, Commentary, Financial Times: …With capital globally mobile, moreover, governments are now in a race to the bottom with regard to corporate taxation and loopholes for personal taxation of high incomes. Each government aims to attract mobile capital by cutting taxes relative to others. …

    The end result is that both the US and UK are battling deficits of about 10 per cent of gross domestic product. …We surely need to reduce the deficits but in a fair, efficient, and sustainable manner, by levying higher taxation on the rich, who are enjoying a boom in living standards and a share of the national income unprecedented in modern history.

    Yet to get to the right place, countries cannot act by themselves. … Multinational companies and their disproportionately wealthy owners are successfully playing governments against each other. The game is clear, and it is working fiercely well.

    As a starting point, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries should urgently convene a meeting of finance ministers to enunciate … that tax and regulatory co-ordination across countries are vital to prevent a ruinous fiscal race to the bottom.

    Link: [ http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8836f284-592a-11e0-b9f6… ]

  23. This is why we need OriginalEmily1 for PM! She stands up for education, even if the federal government isn't responsible for it. She has Good Ideas. Better ideas than Mark will ever have.

    Go OriginalEmily1 !

  24. I wish our main parties aspired to be more than tweedledum and tweedledee.

    The federal budget is more than $250 billion and all the can find to disagree on is 1.5% difference in corporate tax rate and a few programs that add up to a couple billion $$$.

    And they don't even really disagree on corporate taxes because Libs/Iggy were for these tax cuts 2/3 budgets ago before they were against them.

    Is this election going to be Seinfeld election … about nothing? It seems complacent or decadent to me that parties are taking position that Canada is perfect just the way it is, except for a few minor details. People have issues with how the country is run but debate people are having is not reflected in campaign.

  25. Let's get this straight.

    The Liberals aren't allowed to vote against policies they disagree with and trigger elections that no one wants. They aren't allowed the vote for policies they disagree with because then it means they really support them, despite what they say.

    Do you think anything is wrong with this message?

  26. Yes, fluid fiscal decision making is very helpful. Companies love the sort of environment where a governing party votes for a tax cut, only to rescind it, only to maybe re-instate it the next day, only to then change its mind again. This is the kind of stable atmosphere that makes economies thrive!!

    If we are lucky, Liberals will extend that fluid decision making to all manner of government activity. Promise to fund an arena, then back out. Promise to fund daycares, then back out. Promise to commit to Kyoto and then… oh wait a second, this has been Liberal policy since day one!!!

  27. The government giveth and taketh away. Canada is not the US or UK.

    "The Conservatives are pushing to close a popular corporate loophole – which could boost federal revenues by nearly $3-billion in half a decade – and, for the oil sands, slow writeoffs of lease expenses and mine investments. It's a shift intended to boost the tax load on energy companies that have seen profits surge on triple-digit crude oil prices." http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/budg

  28. Stephen Gordon cherrypicks his facts and fudges numbers. Oh, did I mention he supports CIT cuts? Need I?

  29. You guys are cute….not very up-to-date…but cute.

  30. Well, we've been in Afghanistan since 2002 and it wasn't an issue in 2004, 2006 or 2008, although it may have been mentioned in passing. It won't be an issue in 2011, any more than our involvement in Libya will be. Foreign affairs, and defence issues (other than juvenile arguments over the appropriate level of pork-barrelling) have almost never been the issue in federal elections. I don't expect this one to be any different.

  31. That assumes that corporate taxes are borne by investors. In a world where capital is mobile, corporate taxes are almost exclusively borne by workers and consumers. Now, if we could coordinate all ~220 countries to raise taxes (good luck), then the capital can't flee. But there will still be some cost borne by workers and consumers because with higher rates, some marginal investments will no longer make sense and won't be made.

  32. I'd peg it as incoherent nonsense from a drooling partisan who can't read, but that would be mean. I guess I'll stick with your gentle description.

  33. "What's kind of fun is that the Conservatives are using the same figure. Both parties have decided it's in their interest to ascribe the highest possible value to the CIT cuts. The Conservatives so they can call reversing it an Umpty-Dump Billion Tax Grab, and the Liberals so they can call implementing it an Umpty-Dump Billion Gift To Rich Corporations."

    [Bangs head against the wall]…it hurts, but not half as much as reading your comment. I think i'm going to give up politics…right after this election.It's in the water, it has to be something their putting in the water…i bet you.

  34. I fear those of us who gorge on policy are facing a bit of a lean election.

    Instead of policy steak and potatoes we're going to spend the next six weeks filling up on little policy crackers.

  35. The Liberals ARE allowed to flip-flop as often as and over whatever they please. I am allowed to point out their flip-flop.

    The Liberals are even allowed to suggest it was a great idea a year ago but a catastrophic idea now. I am allowed to raise an eyebrow at them over such a confused stance.

    The Liberals are allowed to call a reduction in the involuntary transfer of wealth (as has already planned and passed into law) a "giveaway." I am allowed to call that dishonest characterization a "lie."

  36. Don't get too upset, Ottawa_Centrist. If you're really important, your goodies won't come until near the end anyway.

  37. Haven't you heard: " There are no promises to the Belgians in Canadian politics". [ man i love that]

    Besides CIT is already low enough. We could do with a bit of targeted investment in the country. The CPC wont be happy until we're paying people to come do business here[ just kidding…it is the AB model though] I just wish Ignatieff would stress the need to pay down the debt as much as investment – both are important. And it would blunt the tax and spend label the Tories are going to runout once they tire of yelling coalition.

  38. Here we go, one of the "taxation is theft" brigade. The same guy who claims to be all about meaningful policy, but has a bad case of the vapours when there's a press conference lasting a few minutes inside the Royal York Hotel, one of the most convenient hotels for media to get to in the GTA.

  39. Hey, harper said he didn't raise income tax when he first came to office….

  40. Was the Royal York the smartest of ordinary-Canadian optics?

    Is there a particular reason they should have been going for "ordinary-Canadian optics" today, or do we just now expect that every announcement from any politician ever is supposed to happen at a Tim Horton's?

  41. If you're name is accurate, then you and the people around you already get most of the goodies.

  42. Take it up with Canada Student Loans.

  43. Ignatieff gets a modicum of scrutiny (and a tiny morsel compared to what Harper's subjected to day in and day out),

    and now poor Ignatieff' is being "tormented" is he?

    Just days ago he couldn't give a straight answer regarding the basic composition of the government he would lead, and we are to give him a break or something?

    You do know he wants to be Prime Minister?

    He's not applying to be a volunteer board member for a local charity.


    Just wow.

  44. Twenty years ago when Reformers were saying the equality meant equal treatment, and a Canadian was a Canadian, they were called racially and ethnically insensitive at best (and usually much worse) by the central Canadian mainstream elitist media and the Liberals.

    Now, that Harper, Kenney, and the Conservative Party have taking a more substantive equality tone where equality sometimes means disparate treatment, the Liberals and the central Canadian mainstream elitist media begin sounding like old-time Reformers and a Canadian is a Canadian again. Of course, Ignatieff wasn't saying a Canadian is a Canadian when he first came back to Canada and pushed the "Quebec is a nation" meme in the Liberal leadership race.

  45. Harper dropped in on a backyard of an 'ordinary hard working Canadian family' today in Saanich. The lghting was bad – he was in the dark but the sun was in his eyes and one of the children babbled while he talked. I think they'll be re-thinking that sort of venue.

  46. And while we await the specifics the "I can give you everything you want, and it won't cost you anything" approach will surely resonate with Canadians….

    at least those who spend time perusing late night shopping gimick shows, for those "can't lose" deals.

    That ought to do wonders for Iggy's trust numbers which are rock bottom right now.

  47. I believe the tax cut was passed before we got this deficit. Surely changed circumstances should justify changes in fiscal policy.

  48. We will never tire of yelling coalition, lol!!

  49. Looking forward to Red Book 2011. Will this one be any more believable than the previous ones? We'll know for sure if it contains a Universal Daycare Program. If it does, it goes right into the re-cycle bin.

    Spending while relying on future revenues from rescinded corporate tax cuts (the ones the Liberals were FOR before they were AGAINST) is very risky. One speech from John Manley and the whole fake premise will crash. If businesses don't grow and invest, they don't create jobs and unemployed people stop paying income tax and start collecting EI and Government revenues go down, not up.

    It's about credibility:

    1993 Jean Chretien" "I will kill the GST"
    2011 Michael Ignatieff: "I will not raise taxes on Canadian families"

    Mr Ignatieff may have just committed a McGuinty

  50. If the so called strategist would just stop yelling COALITION!! at max decibels, perhaps we could have a debate. At the very least the cons could defend their record and the libs/ndp could say what they would do differently. Thankfully there are signs this may be happening. Froma partisan pov i hope Harper keeps yelling coalition like it was still 08 – it would have worked then, but now there's a chance he may start looking like the one wh's obessed.

  51. I'm guessing you've never worked in business or follow the markets at all.

    A decision that is great now, could be disastrous a month later. Any idiot or an ideologue realizes that. Look at Harper's flip flop on deficits and the value of and need for government stimulus.

    Businesses do love stability. It's why businesses were pissed with the instability caused by Harper's rejection of multiple private company deals, including BHP.

    It's also why businesses were so pissed off when Harper flip flopped so majorily on taxing income trusts, which cost them billions. Let me think. What was Harper's excuse for breaking that explicit promise and causing thousands of seniors to lose huge chunks of their life savings, the flip flop everyone was said was justified and reasonable? Oh yes. Circumstances had changed so he had to change his view.

  52. No I didn't.

    Too busy reading everyone's evisceration of Harper's income splitting someday after a few more elections "promise" bafflegab.

  53. Oh you will…when we the people tell you we''re tired of it.:)

  54. But you seem to be basing the fact that they once supported the tax reduction on the fact that they voted to pass the budget. But the CPC line is also that the opposition parties aren't allowed to defeat the government, because that causes elections Canadians don't want. Either the opposition is allowed to oppose bills but allow them to pass or they are allowed to trigger elections whenever they can't support the government. You can't reasonably give them grief either way.

  55. i'm holding out for the your kid helping dad get his boat ready for the season tax credit…don't see why arts kids and transit riders should have all the fun.

  56. He can change his view and say now is not the time to lower these taxes, but no, you cannot in the space of a year go from deciding corporate tax cuts are a good idea to calling them a "giveaway". That's the sort of Jack Layton logic that suggests it's almost immoral to EVER cut the corporate tax rate.And I assume that Prime Minister Iggy, like all of his predecessors, would be an enthusiastic proponent of actual "corporate tax giveaways" (ie. industrial subsidies), but that's another matter.

  57. Well, with thinking like that, I guess you'll be advising the Liberals that they should be hoping for a CPC majority. That way they can oppose stuff without triggering elections we don't want. Or something.

  58. And corporate tax cuts are borne by exclusively by corporations.

  59. If it does, it goes right into the re-cycle bin.

    WM, why don't you just download the Red Book '11 PDF, that way a tree will not have died in vain.

  60. Yeah, that would be like promising seniors that you would never ever under any circumstances tax income trusts and then 8 months later suddenly wiping out their savings by taxing income trusts. You just cannot do that. Context, circumstances, the real world don't matter.

    Once you say something, it doesn't matter if the economic world turns upside down, thou shalt not be practical with thy decision making when dealing with Canadian taxpayer dollars.

  61. And the circumstances hadn't even changed between the time he announced he wouldn't tax them, and he taxed them. Well, the circumstances affecting income trusts hadn't changed. Harper had won an election by then, though, so I guess that was the circumstance he referred to.

  62. I think the problem is that it's a clear indication that Iggy has no problem raising taxes to fund new and unnecessary spending. This, along with the prospect of a Liberal/NDP coalition forming after the election, is a somewhat scary idea to me.

  63. "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" JMK

  64. Actually they had changed.

    And of course they had changed. The use of income trusts was on an ever escalating climb, costing billions in tax revenue losses or "leakage" as Harper/Flaherty later called them. The Liberals tried to implement some gradual changes and grandfathering to soften the transition. The Conservatives pounced and promised never ever under any circumstance to do so.

    Inevitably, and predictably, this just added wood to the fire of income trusts. So it was a bad problem made worse by Harper. I don't have a big issue with his decision in the fall (other than on grandfathering) but I do on his decision to make the promise in the first place. And on giving him credit for fixing a problem that he created.

  65. He's trying reverse phychology. It works well with the unaware.

  66. It's actually real smart what he is doing.

  67. The Canada Action Plan was an excellent, well-executed anti-recession response. Your livelihood as a Canadian is dependent on it's being allowed to finish the job.

    Ignatieff has thrown a monkey wrench into a very competent plan to strengthen our economic prospects for years to come. Now he wants to introduce his own "plan" in it's place.

    With closet NDP ers like Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy in the background, we can only hope that pragmatic Canadians carry the day and vote a Conservative majority.

  68. You must be the only person besides Harper who quivers at the thought of the coalition bogeyman.

  69. "One question facing voters this week is whether the policies Ignatieff will roll out will be worth the tax increase that will help pay for them."

    Of course they will, you don't think the Liberals would divulge policies, knowing they would not be popular !?! It's a question of priorities. As one would say : jets & jails vs 'investments' for the people.

  70. Why give Big Corpo a $6,000,000,000 tax break ? Yeah right, they're job creators. Gimme a break.

  71. I've read it now.

    Seems to me the whole point of the article is to challenge the $6 billion number – that's what most of the article is about – and thereby minimize the impact of any deficit reduction or program spending that could ensue.

    I think it is probably fine for Ignatieff to use the same number that Harper is using.

    At least Ignatieff is focusing his policy on today and the needs of families today, not making splashy announcements about tax cutting promises that will permit us families to keep our own money only if (1) the deficit is paid down (2) we elect harper to back to back majority governments ("in my second full term") (3) you have kids under 18 at that time (sorry parents with 10-13 year old kids today or parents paying for university education), (4) there is a huge income gap between spouses (sorry equally working parents), (5) countless other attached strings.

    That's my definition of bafflegab.

  72. –" I'm guessing you've never worked in business or follow the markets at all.

    Are you talking about Michael Igntieff… although, unlike him, I have made an investment decision in my life.

  73. The media compliance in letting American Igg off the hook with regards to the Liberal/Separatist coalition is not something to be proud of. The compliant Liberal party media should be ashamed of their behaviour running cover for the Liberal/Separatist/NDP coalition while they twist the facts and distort history to suit their nefarious agenda of inserting the Liberal/Separatists into the PMO and the halls of power. The compliant Liberal party media are now enabling Iggomaniac and his Separatist comrades to move on to implementing their campaign strategy of divide and conquer, "culture wars". The Liberal/Separatist activists within the media are an ugly pack of jackals, dragging around the rotting carcass of the once powerful Liberal party, trying to manipulate the electorate with co-ordinated and deliberate lies and misinformation. The media championing Separatist Duceppe as a bastion of truth and honesty is a truly disgusting stench ridden spectacle of taxpayer subsidized self interest.

  74. I'm sorry but I can't even credit you with a "nice try" for that attempt at deflection and avoidance.

    Your answers and comments are enough confirmation of my guess. You don't need to go on proving it so.

  75. Fil, the CAF is in desperate need of new technology. Our jails are in a terrible state and in dire need of up-grading. These "priorities" have deteriorated to the breaking point under Liberal governments.

    The Conservatives are not only upgrading what the Liberals allowed to falter, but they are doing so with a balanced approach that still serves the average Canadian family better than any Liberal agenda.

    It's a no-brainer, the Conservatives are the only choice for pragmatic Canadians.

  76. kody, what have you been up to since '08?

  77. Oh, no, tedbetts. I very distinctly remember a devout Conservative here in the office coming in the day Harper promised not to tax income trusts and giving his (pretend) party card to a devout Liberal here in the office. We all certainly knew the leakage was about to sink the boat.

    I agree, it wasn't the taxing of income trusts, it was the promise not to.

    EDIT: Sorry, I'm not considering "getting worse" as actually changing, since anything left needing repairs inevitably gets worse.

  78. did you get hired through the craiglist ad?

  79. So, how much of the prison budget is for the upgrading you mention and how much is tied to increased number of prisoners associated with new crime legislation? I don't think credible studies support these type of increases in incarceration for reducing crime. So, to me, that initiative looks like a waste of money meant to capture votes based on ignorance and fear, rather than facts and evidence.

  80. "It's a no-brainer, the Conservatives are the only choice for [paripatetic] Canadians."

    — Hobo CEO

  81. Folks, read the headline then read the article. It is NOT pro Liberal at all. It is a typical right wing article. "The best thing didn't come from Ignatieff"? "OF COURSE the Liberals are saying no to corporate tax cuts"? "Thats a tax increase"?Come on, even when the right wing press, of which this magazine is, tries to report something good about any party but the tory party, they simply cannot bring themselves to do it.

  82. Not bad as an instigator, I must say, as the Proud Canadian has gotten 10 replies so far.

  83. Re: refurbishing the military and prisons, yeah ok. However, at the end of the day, it's a question of priorities. And if Ottawa doesn't collect taxes, then there's obviously less in the treasury. So in the end what kind of system do we want : socialism with free entreprise like in Scandinavia ? or… rampant libertarianism ? Comme to think of it Harper has shown his true colors ever since he took power. We thought he was a 'reformer' à la Manning, what we got was this Frankenstein hybrid machiavellian autocrat who will do anything to stay in power, obviously so he can achieve his primary goal which is to transform Canada into a friendly fascist corporate state.

    I invite you to become enlightened Pele… http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/Friendl

  84. This is well worth reading.
    Why is Iggy trying to revise history?
    QMI Agency
    Last Updated: March 22, 2011 10:26pm http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/ezra

  85. Seriously people! Don't feed the troll…

  86. What the who now?

  87. Dear Dr. WW:

    Your diagnostic skills could use a little remedial work. No vapours here.



  88. kcm, our governments ALREADY pay a fortune for companies to set up, expand, or maintain business here. And it is stupid, damaging, uneconomic, choose your negative superlative.

    If ALL businesses could benefit from even more competitive tax rates, even more businesses will want to set up here without the out-and-out bribes. Maybe at some point the law of diminishing returns will kick in, maybe not. I doubt my idea will ever take off (tax the corporations not a bit, and tax the shareholders fully on their dividends and capital gains instead), but just imagine what kind of a pro-job, pro-business message that would send to the world.

  89. The Action! Plan was one of the dumbest moves an allegedly conservative governing party could make:

    Some people are losing their jobs? Quick! How fast can we piss away tomorrow's prosperity? Faster, people, faster! Just make sure the signs are ready!

  90. Focus, please! Your screed has zip to do with promises of Liberal policy statements that are meant to provide an alternative to the pre-programmed CPC incentives for businesses to succeed in Canada. Which is what was posted above by Paul Wells.

    There will be lots of posts over the campaign. Please try to stay somewhere around the particular topic under discussion. Thanks.

  91. It was an issue in 2004, 2006, and 2008. Just because they didn't talk about it and the media let them get away with their silence doesn't mean we didn't here about it.

  92. I'm afraid we'll have to put up with a lot of this garbage for the next five weeks. Kudos for trying to politely persuade them to stick to the topic.

  93. You're Dennis_F's alter-ego, right?

  94. Curse those unscripted children.

  95. Wow…I think Ezra should get his well water checked. It seems to be contaminated.

  96. "you cannot in the space of a year go from deciding corporate tax cuts are a good idea to calling them a "giveaway".

    Why not? Circumstances change more quickly than that. It didn't take much longer than that for the Harper government to p!ss away the surpluses the Liberals had bequeathed them, and the global economy seemed to implode in a matter of months in 2008.

    A party that didn't change its tax policy in such rapidly changing conditions would be accused of fiscal rigor mortis…sort of like the CPC which only knows how to perscribe tax cuts, no matter the economic climate

  97. Sorry MYL, but if you could point me to a successful model of a society or major economy that thrived in a zero tax environment, i'm all ears. No one seems to be touting the Asian tigers anymore. They were the closest functioning model i can think of.[ god how i remember the libertarians bragging them up] How'd that go?…corrupt snake oil salesmen most of them. They collapsed like a pack of cards – same or similar case in Ireland. I know you regard taxes as confiscation, and beyond a certain point i concur. But i tend to look at it as sending out a message there is no free lunch if you want a civillized society.Everyone should pay their dues one way or another – including corps.
    Ayn Rand was as at least as deluded as as Marx or Lenin.

  98. I seem to recall numerous previous Liberal governments that gave away billions of dollars to large companies. Mind you most of these were in Ontario and Quebec so it is allright.

  99. "With capital globally mobile, moreover, governments are now in a race to the bottom with regard to corporate taxation…"

    That pretty much explains why Ireland, the mighty Celtic Tiger, is on life support. It was among the first in the race to the bottom of the tax cutting ladder and it took them to the bottom of a deep fiscal well.

  100. we wouldn't want people to catch on now would we? that would be aweful if canadians really knew what was going on.

  101. If you could point me to where I advocate a zero-tax environment…

    I am saying tax the shareholders. That's all a "corp" is: a collection of shareholders. The ones whose dividends and capital gains are currently taxed less because credit is awarded for the tax already paid by the business. Tax the business not at all (well, ok, we'll still get our paws on the GST collected on the dab gubmint's behalf), and ding fully the shareholders already reporting the profits and capital gains they've earned. Look at all the corporate tax lawyers released into the economy to do something productive with their brains and hands, instead.

    It is the HIGH-tax and high-regulated environments that bring on the corruption.

  102. You should stick to soccer. Even at your age, you're probably still better at it than at political commentary.

  103. Well, now, I don't particularly like the term ConBot but I imagine if there were such a cyber-contraption, it would sound pretty much like one of your canned spiels.

    I doubt you're helping your team much with these inane rants, but if they make you feel better, carry on.

  104. Can anyone see a Liberal strategy here? I mean this, I can't see what their plan for the election was before the decision to bring the Government down. The Conservatives dominate the West – no Liberal breakthrough there, in fact, they'll probably lose many of the few seats they have, as well as some NDP (gun registry vote attack not yet unleashed by Conservatives). Liberals are flat-lining in Quebec, 7% among francophones, and the Bloc is invincible. Conservatives dominate in rural and suburban Ontario, and are competitive in big cities. No change happening there. With Danny gone, Conservatives will recover a couple of NL seats, and traditional Tory seats in Maritimes will stay Tory.

    So how do the Liberals plan to win? Is this just a Ignatieff vs Layton struggle for Ontario leftists? If Ignatieff prevails over Layton, what does he win? Where are the 5 dozen seats he needs to flip Liberal, as well as hold everything he has now, to come from? I admit I am baffled by the Liberals.

    The only theory that makes sense is the Liberals expected the NDP to support the Budget last week and were surprised when they didn't and were trapped by their bellicose rhetoric.

  105. That's a mighty unkind aspersion to cast on the memory of the late Robt. F., who was an indisputably compelling writer and speaker. "Proud canadian" sounds more like an unrepentant, superannuated member of the Company of Young Canadians or Students for a Democratic Society.

  106. You missed the point, which I may have stated unclearly, so that wouldn't in itself have made you look like an idiot but you decided to miss the point with the standard pompous sarcasm.

    The point is: Mr. Ignatieff supported lowering the corporate tax rate. He has since decided that this worthy goal would be imprudent to pursue at this time, what with budgetary constraints and such. I disagree, but that's fair enough, no hypocrisy there. The hypocrisy shows up when he rhetorically morphs into Jack Layton, going on about "tax giveaways to the wealthiest corporations", which sounds like he thinks it's pretty unacceptable under any circumstances, doesn't it? Would he use those words when supporting corporate tax cuts when he considers the time right for them? So instead of deciding that something he supports just isn't a priority right now, he's changed from a middle of the road Liberal who believes in a robust social safety net and competitive taxes into a raving class warrior, which he has obviously done for no other reason than that's the strategy right now.

    I get it. It's politics, and they just take a position and try to make it as emotional as they can and pretend the gulf between them and their opponents is enormous, regardless of past positions. They're all doing it, always have and always will. But he's not taking his position on this seriously, so I don't see why I should.

  107. The theory was outlined a couple weeks ago right here in Maclean's. Basically, Ignatieff's numbers are down so far, pushed via CPC adverts and 10%ers, he's really got nowhere to go but up.

  108. To use an example on the other side, which may make it easier, there is nothing wrong with the Conservatives carefully deliberating about whether or not to fund the QC arena (other than it being insane to fund pro sports facilities, of course) and ultimately deciding it's not a priority. And if one of their opponents disagrees, it's fair to point out that their priorities differ. But it's not OK to attack their opponent on the grounds that it's insane to fund pro sports facilities (even though it is), because they clearly don't actually see it that way. Under other circumstances they might have done it themselves (have I mentioned it would have been insane?).

  109. "Giveaway" implies it is much worse than simply a non-priority, but a very bad thing in and of itself. When would a (very) hypothetical PM Ignatieff have his finance minister declare "Now is the time for our government to ensure the future competitiveness of Canada in the global marketplace with massive corporate giveaways"? If he's going to crudely morph into a phony class warrior, he can't complain if people have a crude understanding of his position.

  110. And so continues the Let's Get This Over With Tour.

  111. ??

  112. Let's not expect any miracles. All we can expect from Ignatieff is an intelligent man at the helm, and we certainly need that.


    This is a time when Canada can use an academic, and rest assured, the status quo hates academics, so that's one great reason to vote for Ignatieff.

    If you want the quality of life to continue to decline, you can vote for Dictator Harper.

    Don't get fooled into thinking Harper is a conservative, Ignatieff is the fiscal Conservative in this race because Martin will be in control of the economy, and he certainly was much better than Flaherty's record deficit.

    It's your choice !

  113. I agree that "giveaway" is a misleading way to characterize the cuts, but no more so than the Cons identifying corporations as "job creators" as a result of tax cuts. I have seen no credible economic evidence that tax cuts to large corporations translate into more jobs. So, the Cons are equally disingenuous in their manipulation of the Queen's English.

    Which, in any event, is beside my point that changing policy in the light of rapidly changing economic conditions is not necessarily a sign of indecisiveness or "flip-flopping", as someone else on these boards has implied.

  114. Fear not, as Paul Wells pledges to ask a question on policy real soon now.

  115. No; saying one thing and then doing the opposite is now exclusively a CPC prerogative. They laid claim to it and likely have a team of lawyers standing by to sue anyone who infringes on their trademark.

  116. Ummm… income trusts? 0% down, 35-year mortgages? Making up investment rules as they go (potash)?

  117. Uh-oh! Who will the Albertans vote for NOW?

  118. I thought he has been filling the blanks with so many planned spending, months before election is even planned and called. Remember Universal day care, stadiums for every province, universal long term senior care plan, universal student plan, universal travel plan (international field trips/vacation) for students, and etc. etc. It scares the hell out of me to note that there are still blanks left he needs to fill. Gosh, is that what he means as spending discipline?

  119. …and you believe you're sniveling sanctimonious, self righteous, self diagnosed superiority matters how? Although, I guess I should thank you for allowing me to, "carry on". How very "Liberal" of you.

  120. No wonder, Ignatieff sounds more like living in lah-lah land, he's living inside his books.

  121. That's a good point. Unfortunately we seem to be stuck with this sort of politics from all comers now. I choose to place the blame in large part [ not all] on Harper as he's the one who has set the tone from day one with his no prisoners style of politics. Looks to me like Ignatieff has decided to swollow his pride and engage in the same kind of shameless distortions, half truths and opportunistic flip floppery that has been the Harper trade mark. Can't say it isn't happening to a nicer guy.

  122. macleans you really need to lossen the bolts on your ID tyrant. mmm, suppose it's possible i pushed the cancel button by mistake?

  123. Sorry but he gubbins ate my pulitzer worthy reply.
    You certainly didn't advocate zero tax anything, sorry about that.

    I simply don't have the background to pass judgement on your proposal; so i'll wait for someone else to come along.However,that last sentence will likely get you accused of an excess of naivete', given our recent little downturn around the globe.

  124. And just think how many of those we can afford if we don't waste $28 billion on planes and unknown billions on building prisons that we do not need.

  125. So the latest is a massive new entitlement. Another in the provincial sphere, education.

    In one breath he speaks of spending discipline and with the next opens up the bank.

    In one breath he talks spending discipline and with the next he mocks Harper's cautious income splitting (conditional upon the fiscal house getting in order).

    We already know Iggy is a traveller. Could he add snake oil salesman to the description? Apparently he's got the fix for what "ails" us….and for next to nothing….not like those doctors who keep telling us the cure will be a bit painful.

  126. Promising "spending discipline" while at the same to offering up a massive new entitlement does not sound "intelligent" to me.

    Careful of the travelling snake oil salesman offering up the painless cure for what ails you.

    That he speaks with a cultured, slight European, accent shouldn't cause your guard to go down. To the contrary.

  127. Meh. I walk through it every time I visit Toronto. It's where the (usually) cheapest airline's free shuttle drops me off, and has an underground link to the subway, which ferries me off to much, much cheaper lodgings.

    Of course, I don't give press conferences while shuffling through there. But I am available if a gaggle of reporters wants to scrum. ;-)

  128. "Of course, Ignatieff wasn't saying a Canadian is a Canadian when he first came back"

    He would never have said it like that. What he would have said is a "Canadian is a Canadian, is a Canadian". In the last few weeks he's said "a killing is a killing, is a killing," "a crime is a crime, is a crime", to name a couple that come to mind.

    You'd think all those years he spent in the comfortable womb of academia would have imbibed his lexicon with more than a single idiom.

  129. I'm sure regardless of where westmalle gets his Red Book Iggy will have a warehouse packed to the ceilings with leftovers at the end of the campaign. Iggys newest policy: free insulation for all Canadian familes.

  130. A couple years ago in Halifax a man was released on parole after 7 months of a 5 year sentence for robbing a gas station at knife point. While he was in the process of robbing a man on the street yet again at knife point an American sailor attempted to stop him and was stabbed to death.

    Two days ago a violent offender in Halifax was released on parole for the third time after: first beating two brothers in an ally and being an accomplice to ones death, then getting released on parole only to be arrested after he was involved in a drive by shooting, then getting released again on parole only to be arrested walking down the street holding a quart and a knife in his hands. We are currently waiting for him to murder someone.

    For the publics safety these criminals need to be locked up not let out. If we keep releasing criminals we may as well hand them a crack rock and a handgun on their way out.

  131. Speaking of election promises and issues…when was the last time we had any leader of any party bring up Global Warming and/or Kyoto?

    Sure has fallen off the radar hasn't it? Certainly Iggy would be very happy to never hear of it again…carbon taxes and green shifts are not exactly endearing to voters right now. Certainly Harper is glad to have it off the table, I suspect Jack is as well.

    Who's that leave? Elizabeth May to carry on the (complete with pre-purchased carbon credits) torch?

    Could it be that the economy , "climategate" and (perhaps) "the sky is falling" fatigue syndrome mean that this will not even be mentioned by any of the mainstream candidates? Very possible I think.

  132. Harper was hated by Manning because he constantly criticised the Reform Party publicly.

  133. I am in the west and I gotta say…..Albertans would vote for a hockey puck…if it had a Conservative logo on it…..

  134. While we're releasing hardened criminals back into the public we should use the money we're saving to give them all a handgun in appreciation of a sentence 1/5 served.

  135. If they are building these prisons for violent criminals and people that scam people out of their life savings, that’s fine.

    But I don’t trust that the real motive is to copy the US and fill them with pot smokers.

  136. Who just magically conjure their payments from thin air, right?


  137. You do realize that corporate profit paid out as dividends is taxed in the hands of the corporation as part of their profits, right? (Unlike salaries, which are deductions against income, leaving the profits to which tax is applied?)

    In 2010, on gross income of $48K, my private corporation paid just about $2K in fed+prov income tax at the 18% rate + employee withholding (on its profits), with a substantial ded'n for being under the "small business" cap. That's because it was taxed only on profit after expenses and salaries. The salaries being mostly under the personal ded'n limits resulted in tax credit refunds to the corporation's employees (spouse and me).

    When I was making a gross of $48K as a private taxpayer, I paid about $6.5K in fed+prov income taxes (which would have been more had I not had dedn's for RRSPs and childcare).

    Are you REALLY saying that corporations should be able to deduct dividends from their profits, too, thus even further minimizing how much they pay? I think that 18% (and only on PROFITS, mind you) is pretty darned competitive compared to what private citizens have to shell out.

  138. I know quite a few pot smokers who've been arrested with both small quantities (a few grams) and large quantities (several ounces). Those with a few grams have received a $400 fine if the receive anything. Those with several ounces have received either a fine or a couple months house arrest at most.

    We need more prisions because of overcorwding resultant of slashing double, triple, or more off sentences for time served and because of stories like this http://thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1234972.html.

  139. Indeed. If only we went through the criminal record check the staff at the PMO go throug..er, never mind.

  140. I expect he's been thinking up a new alias to use after this election.

  141. Do you have links to these stories you could provide?

  142. Ah. So because they did it, it's just fine if everybody does it? Is that the logic you're using?

  143. Have to admit, I was a bit worried that you were going to start posting that hourly.
    Looks like your programmers caught the error early. Nice work, guys.

  144. I'd rather a man who lives in books than inside his own fantasies of power.

  145. Yes, but that was before the CPC legislation on minimum sentencing.

  146. Are you REALLY saying that corporations should be able to deduct dividends from their profits, too, thus even further minimizing how much they pay?

    Thank you for your interest. Please read again what I wrote, and then give me another chance to make the same point here, specifically addressing your commentary:

    Companies don't "deduct dividends from their profits." Dividends ARE profits. The company decided the dollar of profit could not provide at least a dollar of increased value to the company, so rather than re-invest it in the business, it released it to the shareholders. Fine.

  147. I think that 18% (and only on PROFITS, mind you) is pretty darned competitive compared to what private citizens have to shell out.

    Then look what happens when the tax on the corporation's profits goes to ZERO and you the shareholders also lose the dividend tax credit. Don't worry, the tax still gets paid. The corporation stops wasting valuable resources trying to hide from its corporate profit tax obligations and fighting audits, because it has no more corporate profit tax obligations. The even higher profits go to the shareholders who now pay the tax, only now they pay in full because the dividend tax credit is gone (because the dividends are now fully pre-tax, instead of after-tax). Are you following?

  148. I suppose I'm definging "issue" as a matter that is the subject of debate in a campaign and a matter on which the parties offer differing views that may change people's votes. The foreign policy of Canada was not an "issue" in that sense in any of those campaigns. That is not a rarity. It has been an issue of importance in 1988 and 1963 most recently.

  149. Ah, so you get to decide what I should consider issues? Sorry, you don't get to pick my ballot issues. Point is that there are a lot of people who don't see their issues raised in an election and a lot of issues are interconnected. Look at Harper trying to define this election as a one-issue (economy) debate. That's crap. It ignore the environment, human rights, corruption/accountability, foreign policy etc. Not only are those issues I'm voting on, they are all connected to each other.

  150. Here is another one.

    "While thankful a jury had convicted him of first-degree murder less than 24 hours earlier, family members still struggled to understand why he had been free on bail when he stabbed her to death with scissors early July 9, 2006 before stuffing her body into a hockey bag and leaving it outside."

  151. Really…I thought the headline was not accurate either.

    Maybe: "Ignatieff Shooting Blanks" would have been more appropriate.

  152. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkdXycwDUxA

    Plainly says by all three parties there was no coalition in 2004 in a poll, I just saw that only17% believe iggy and the other two!

    My day feels fine.Iggy is in TO, liberal land, that means safe.

  153. Iggy will bring in a carbon tax and other taxes, that's for certain

  154. If you have committed an horrific crime, then I say build more prisons They happen to keep us safe.if one of the goons/thugs gets out.We the public are in trouble.Build them way way up north where it's freezing.I dont need to keep someone like creepy Williams safe, i need him in prison, and many like him.The jets are not until 2016! and the liberals liked and then disliked them.They will tear down our military again

  155. He actually was very funny.Well, we thought so.He made sure he knew Fiona's name, said he was used to low blows, but from bigger men! It was a treat! Iggy was looking regal where?

  156. Its pretty typicla, cast your mind back to Dion, and how well he was going to do. zzzzzzzz

  157. No these people were arrested within the last year. Minimum sentences for six months start at 4 plants (each producing approx. 4 lbs of pot) so at about 12 lbs of pot. Such individuals are not 'kids with a couple joints'.

  158. When are these nincompoops start discussing specific spending cuts instead? It's sickening to see so many spending promises (to be paid for by regular unknowing Joes and Janes), when people have a hard time paying for their own survival. It is so easy to promise someone else's money, yet these politicians haven't even warmed up yet. I dread what tomorrow brings and what promises will Ignatieff and the rest will come up with. With countries going belly up, these politicians seem not to know how to put breaks and lids on spending. Haven't they learned anything yet from Greece, Ireland, now Portugal, soon Spain?

  159. Why do many academicians arrogantly think that they are more intelligent than everybody else? Can't they see that many of those working outside the teaching field have university degrees as well? When one put his/her brain on it, many academicians have only half the knowledge of those who put their learning in practice and gained more from applied and practical knowledge.

    As for the deficit, was it not Ignatieff, together with Layton, who pressured the government to aid the ailing car industry even before this industry asked for any help? They even threatened the government to form a coalition then, if their wishes were not met.

  160. So how much is Harper planning to waste on planes? $28 billion? And on prisons? Oh right, the minority Conservative government refused to provide the data on that, for which THEY WERE FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF PARLIAMENT.

  161. To their collective shame.

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