Policy alert - Macleans.ca

Policy alert


Michael Ignatieff promises various initiatives for rural Canada and a tax credit for firefighters.

The Liberals are also pledging to introduce new tax incentives in the form of a $3,000 refundable tax credit for volunteer firefighters. They noted that the majority of volunteer firefighters would not be able to benefit from a non-refundable tax credit proposed by the Conservatives.

The Liberals have also released a video outlining their rural agenda.


Policy alert

  1. I glad they are coming out swinging against Harper and his pro-fire agenda! :)

  2. Not for people who regularly risk their lives for their fellow citizens on a volunteer basis.

  3. I find it just mind-bendingly stupid to fight for the rural vote at a time when small town/farmland Canada is so unimportant (for parties of the left). All the population growth in my province, Saskatchewan, has gone to the big cities, Regina and Saskatoon (with some of it going to smaller cities, like Moose Jaw). Rural communities on the other hand just keep stagnating, even in good times.

    Rural Canada is an important part of the Conservative base, so it makes a little bit of sense for Iggy to "go on offense," except there is a much more winnable segment of the Tory base the Grits have mostly ignored — the urban West. Edmonton and Calgary are modern, cosmopolitan urban centres with sixteen seats in this House of Commons and more in the next one after redistribution. The Liberals will not win any of them. Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg have another sixteen. The Grits will win, at most, four of them. Someone at LPC HQ needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

    • That's an interesting perspective. I don't think I agree with the first part, but I find it an interesting comment. As for the second part, what is different about the modern, cosmopolitan urban centres in Edmonton and Calgary that is so different from modern, cosmopolitan urban centres in the rest of Canada? I strongly disagree with a federal party designing policy to please a specific region.

      And I can hear the howls about how they've been designing policy to please the specific region known as Toronto, but like what?

      • Well, that's kind of the exact point I was making. There is no reason the Liberals should be any weaker in Saskatoon or Calgary than they are in Montreal or London. The Liberals are uncompetitive in Prairie population centres because they don't make a serious effort to grow their support here.

        Everyone has already forgotten this, but the Paul Martin Liberals did try this in 2004 and had some success. Nationally, the Grits dropped four points from 2000, but their popular vote totals in all four provinces rose from '00 to '04, and their candidates were competitive (within 20 points of the winning Con candidate or winners themselves) in eighteen of those thirty-two urban Prairie seats I mentioned — despite the Sponsership Scandal! In comparison, Liberals came within twenty points of the winning candidate in only four urban Prairie ridings in 2008. The difference?

        • Until the Sponsorship Scandal blew up, (which confirmed every criticism made by Conservatives about Liberals, especially out here) the Liberal strategy was all about expanding the majority. They attracted star candidates, promoted Anne McLellan and Ralph Goodale, and sent every "open to Western concerns" signal they could think of. It had an effect; a lot of Westerners signed up for the ride, and not all of them jumped ship when Sponsorship reared its head.

          As to my first point: all four of my grandparents grew up on farms in southern Saskatchewan. So did my mother. None of my grandparents' eleven grandchildren live on farms now. Rural Canada, as much as I respect its inhabitants, is not a growth area, and taking away its old-and-getting-older voters from the Tories is an inefficient method of breaking into Conservative home turf compared to getting people who routinely elect liberal mayors to vote Liberal.