23

Neverish


 

Stephen Harper, writing in the Toronto Star, Oct. 14. “We’ll never go back into deficit.”

Stephen Harper, answering a reporter’s question, today. “I obviously am not in a position to deliver a fiscal update to the Premiers any more quickly than Minister Flaherty plans to do that to Parliament in the next few weeks. But obviously they understand that our position is that while we are in surplus now, that situation is very uncertain going into the future. I think most of them are in exactly the same boat. Positions aren’t all identical but most provinces have had a surplus. At the same time most provinces know that, you know, given the slowing rate of growth of the economy and the great uncertainty around economic predictions right now, that we simply don’t know whether we will be able to maintain surpluses like that into the future. I think that what we will all want to do is to make sure we avoid structural deficits and that we don’t undertake, you know … we’re all going to do, I’m sure, reasonable cost saving measures where we can, but we’re not going to undertake radical cuts that would hurt the economy or hurt other levels of government.”


 
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Neverish

  1. Harper, during a prior campaign: we’ll keep income trusts safe from taxation. Harper’s government: Whoops, that policy can no longer be sustained because every company and its brother is restructuring for the tax dodge regardless of whether it makes good business sense, and that collective tax dodge is going too far and is threatening the country’s fiscal strength.

    In both instances, you’ve got him on his election promise. In both instances, he’s coming around to a decision or policy that is actually good for the country. Kind of like Scrap-da-tax. In all these examples, we could have done much worse, like a thick-skulled steadfast application of a misguided election promise.

  2. I think Steve’s promise was more cynical, because he knew at the time he uttered the words that they were a lie.

    I hope he raises a tax by the next election. It will make for great attack ads (when he muttered into his water glass during the debates, saying “No new ta-jfkjdf”).

  3. Oh Aaron, the world changes, and people in government have to make decisions. If Mr. Harper would do everything perfectly, he’d be a saint or the second coming of Christ. Being able to adapt and do what’s best for the country is what we Canadians (or informed Canadians who are not gullible to some media types, Michael Moore’s, Suzuki’s preachings) expect out of our elected officials. History will prove Mr. Harper is doing the right things.

    Deep down, inside your left leaning gut, you know that Canada economy is being handled well….even though you won’t admit it publicly.

  4. Hey, Marc I’m sure deep down inside you knew the Canadian economy was being handled even better when Martin was handling the books, but you’re too verklempted to say it. Don’t worry. You’re welcome.

  5. I bet Marc thinks that McGuinty is a dirty lying double-crosser for raising taxes.

    Marc, it isn’t credible at all to suggest that Harper ‘changed his mind’ over the course of 14 days. He went from “No deficits, ever.” to “Maybe deficit of $10 billion next year.” I’m surprised he doesn’t have whiplash from that policy reversal. It probably helps that he was just lying through his teeth during the election, and never actually believed his own words.

  6. didn’t you already post this a few weeks ago?

  7. harper already did raise income tax.

  8. Not since he promised not to, a few weeks ago.

  9. Marc
    Nov 11, 2008 1:19 : Please read early spring 08 and July 08 press releases from finance dept. . . Then look at steve’s statements concerning knowing / planning for situation for 1 year . Scammers would not have been able to distribute their worthless paper world wide if even steve had insider knowledge ?

  10. “but we’re not going to undertake radical cuts that would hurt the economy or hurt other levels of government.”

    Spoken like a good lefty. I am curious to learn why every pol who goes to Ottawa seems to turn into a liberal and starts saying/thinking things like that. At the very least, Harper could roll back the budget to what the Cons started with three years ago, I think it was around $185 billion, because nothing introduced in the past few years can be considered essential to the national economy. And god forbid if other levels of government are inconvenienced, we can’t have that, so lets just rack up the debts for future generations to take care of.

  11. jwl – maybe because it’s untenable to hold to other, more extreme positions. Sounds good on coffee row, looks good on the whiteboard, oh, crap, it doesn’t fly in the real world. Mind you, the same process works for heavy social programming. As history has taught us, the sweet spot is the middle of the bat.

  12. jwl – post script – if you want to label me, try center-y. It flows with those pithy lefty/righty labels.

  13. “maybe because it’s untenable to hold to other, more extreme positions. ”

    Brad

    I disagree with your comment. Harper was elected while saying things like “We’ll never go back into deficit” and do you remember how fast Dion clarified his remarks, to sound more like Harper, during the campaign when he hinted that he might take the country into deficit.

    There is very little public support for billions of dollars deficits. Nothing Harper/Flaherty/Cons have done since taking over in 2006 can be considered essential to Canadians or the economy. It is just one more step in Harper’s master plan to turn the Cons into Libs incrementally.

  14. “maybe because it’s untenable to hold to other, more extreme positions. ”

    Brad

    I disagree with your comment. Harper was elected while saying things like “We’ll never go back into deficit” and do you remember how fast Dion clarified his remarks, to sound more like Harper, during the campaign when he hinted that he might take the country into deficit.

    There is very little public support for billions of dollars deficits. Nothing Harper/Flaherty/Cons have done since taking over in 2006 can be considered essential to Canadians or the economy. It is just one more step in Harper’s master plan to turn the Cons into Libs incrementally.

  15. madeyoulook: On Income Trusts.

    Harper promised one thing during the 2006 election campaign then did the opposite to the detriment of many Canadian Small investors. $35 billion in immediate market losses. The IT market and the IPO market is pretty much dead and has been after the October 31/06 Halloween Massacre. Many of these investors were Seniors without defined benefit pensions who got nailed. Their personal income dropped and they paid less tax as a result.

    But even if you didn’t own a Income Trust you still were nailed as a Canadian citizen because Canadian IT investors were paying tax on the distributions at higher tax rates than corporations. Google the tax rates of Corps vs Individuals in Canada and you would know that Harper lied and Canadians believed the lie.

  16. The only one who didn’t acknowledge this economic downturn was coming and therefore didn’t prepare for it was Stephen Harper. He isn’t responsible and he is not the kind of leader Canada needs.

    Harper’s blinkered view

  17. Do I have to keep repeating myself ???? When is Harper going to be facing BRIBERY charges ???? It is against the law in CANADA. WAKE UP CANADA !!!!!

  18. Hey madeyoulook:

    Re your comment of “Whoops, that [income trust] policy can no longer be sustained because every company and its brother is restructuring for the tax dodge regardless of whether it makes good business sense, and that collective tax dodge is going too far and is threatening the country’s fiscal strength.”

    Please let me know how that argument of yours holds up against the facts of what Harper’s policy reversal resulted in, after reading this:

    Income trust buyouts: Lots of activity, little tax revenue

    http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/article/0,1002,cid%253D177044,00.html

  19. Tax leakage of income trusts is a myth.
    The Conservatives offered 18 blacked out
    pages of “proof” and cited national security
    as the reason for the redactions.
    Does anyone have any concrete proof
    and can anyone explain how this is a matter
    of national security?
    That was then and this is now.
    Harper has mentioned that he make decisions
    to suit the times. It’s time for him
    scrap the tax and energize the awful Canadian economy
    with this popular and effective investment vehicle.

    http://www.cdntrustwatcher.com/drupal/?q=node/18

  20. jwl – I was trying to answer your question “I am curious to learn why every pol who goes to Ottawa seems to turn into a liberal and starts saying/thinking things like that.”

    My take is that politicians have to moderate their views – left or right – if they seriously want to be in power. The sweet spot I referred to is the point in the Canadian political spectrum where you find the most voters. Philosophically it tends to be where the balancing of market forces and softer social forces meets.

  21. Brad

    Thanks for clarification and attempt to explain something that vexes me. It is not only pols in Canada that happens to. I don’t know much about non-Anglo political systems but I do know that pols in all Anglo countries pull the same stunt. Appeal to ideologues during campaign and than turn into something else entirely while governing. Doesn’t make sense to me because if you won the election, clearly there are people who support your policies and there is no reason to turn into something that you are not.

    And I also don’t understand how Harper/Flaherty and the like can talk like conservatives for years because they believe it’s the best way to generate prosperity and liberty for all but they set that aside and inflict non-con ideas on all of us once they start governing. To me, Cons are purposefully making Canada a worse country in order to gain votes and it doesn’t impress me at all.

  22. jwl – apart from the strong pull towards the center to appeal to more voters, I also believe that governing and ideology are also difficult bedfellows. Governing is affected by jurisdiction – you can’t actually pull the rabbit out of a hat like you promised, because that’s the provinces’ job, for example – resources, economy, the law/courts/constitution, etc… The reality of the the job is that the whole machinery of governing and the context in which it is done is far more complex than it was when your pals agreed with you on coffee row, or when you drew it up on the whiteboard.

    Ideologues from both ends of the spectrum are always frustrated by the levelling effect of the ideologues from the other end of the spectrum and the superior gravity of the majority in the middle – wherever that middle may be. They rail against the ideological impurity of leaders who have to compromise to carry the day. “The art of the possible” as Bismarck observed. However, that levelling effect is part of the democratic process. It may result in meiocrity in the eyes of purists; it also means protection from the excesses of tyranny by ideologues. While one may regret the seeming impossibility of achieving ideological nirvana, it also means the “other guys” can’t do what they want to the fullest extent either. Again, a trade-off. In an impossibly complex society, how else can we co-exist?

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