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Prelude to a busy Friday


 

Most days we have no idea what to expect when we show up to work on Parliament Hill. Friday will be different. You can expect big stories about the Supreme Court and about money for Quebec. Here’s a primer so you can dazzle everyone at lunch.

• The Supremes will release their judgment in the Insite case, which is about whether British Columbia has a right to operate a safe-injection drug site, or whether the federal criminal-justice power trumps B.C.’s right. I attended the top court’s Insite hearings in May. Here’s what I learned.

• The prime minister will be in Quebec City Friday afternoon to announce a deal for federal compensation to Quebec for harmonizing the Quebec sales tax with the federal GST.

I’ve actually been following this story, with declining interest, for 14 years, since I was briefly a columnist for The Gazette in Montreal. As always, the question is: did Quebec actually harmonize its tax with the feds — that is, give up lucrative areas of taxation to match the federal tax base, thus doing anything to earn compensation? If so, Harper’s made a real breakthrough. If not, then he’s just spraying tax money around to make people feel better.

In June I predicted Harper would continue making grand gestures to stay on Quebecers’ good side, even though 97% of the Conservative caucus now represents ridings outside Quebec.


 
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Prelude to a busy Friday

  1. “….  then he’s just spraying tax money around to make people feel better.”

    Milton Friedman ~ There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. 

    Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. 

    Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! 

    Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get.

    And that’s government.

    • Just because Friedman’s an ass doesn’t mean he should project that quality on to others. Because personally, when I spend another person’s money I watch it like a hawk to make sure they get maximum value for it.  Just something that comes from having the barest sense of empathy toward other humans really.

  2. In June I predicted Harper would continue making grand gestures to stay on Quebecers’ good
    side, even though 97% of the Conservative caucus now represents ridings outside Quebec.

    Of course he will. He still wants the whole “enchilada”

  3. about money for Quebec…

    Question: is Québec the only province to receive money under these federal-provincial arrangements re the HST?

    I think not. So this is not really about “money to Quebec”, but about money to a province. 

    I notice that you worked in Montreal for a while.  I must say with respect that this should have given you the opportunity to understand Quebec positions on various issues.  Your support for the new Harper director of communication is now even  more mysterious to me.

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