Probing the NDP surge: middle-class credibility and more - Macleans.ca
 

Probing the NDP surge: middle-class credibility and more

Jack Layton talked up pocketbook pressures on the middle class in every speech


 

At the outset of this election, the mythical middle-class voter was the main target of all three of the Conservative, Liberal and NDP campaign strategies.

Stephen Harper’s Tories looked best-positioned, after carefully courting the coveted demographic with niche tax breaks and the Harper’s own average-guy image. But the Liberals served notice they would be competing for that turf, and eventually took dead aim at middle-class voters with Michael Ignatieff’s so-called “Family Pack” platform.

And then there was the NDP—often lost in the discussion about going after the middle-class vote. Traditionally, after all, New Democrat support skews younger and less well-off. Still, Jack Layton talked up pocketbook pressures on the middle class in every speech, and offered policies tailored for them, like a home-renovation tax break and a caregiver tax benefit.

Check out the result. The Maclean’s Election Survey, conducted for Rogers Media by Innovative Research, asked online participants in the Canada 20/20 Panel which party would do a better job protecting the middle class.

Early in the election, 31 per cent rated the Conservatives “somewhat better” or “much better” for the middle class, 25 per cent preferred the Liberals, and 23 per cent the NDP. By the Easter long weekend, the Tories were down slightly to 29 per cent, the Liberals off about five points to 20 per cent, and Layton’s NDP up a very substantial 10 point to 33 per cent—vaulting into top spot.

That significant shift tells part of the story of an election race that’s now heading into what’s shaping up as a frenzied stretch run. Pedictions that it would be a dull campaign have been left in the dust. High viewership of the TV debates and record turnouts at advance polls show that voters are anything but detached.

Layton’s base-broadening surge is, of course, attracting the most avid attention, and creating a strong chance that this will go down as a watershed election. The Maclean’s Election Survey adds some texture to polls showing the NDP charging into a strong second place.

Heading into the campaign, media attention focused primarily on Harper’s bid for a majority. Anything less, the Prime Minister said over and over, would jeopardize Canada “stability.” His stump speech painted an unsettling picture of Canada as a fragile sanctuary in a threatening world.

But that rather dire message only resonated, according to Innovative’s online panel, with the Conservative base, and mainly alienated voters outside that loyal Tory core. Only 18 per cent of participants in Innovative’s online 20/20 panel said they grew more favourably impressed with Harper during the campaign.

Both Layton and Michael Ignatieff did better on that rating. Ignatieff made a favourable impression on 34 per cent, and Layton looked better to remarkable 57 per cent. The Liberal leader did very well among Liberal voters, with 68 per cent of them saying the viewed him more favourably, and quite well among NDP and Green voters.

Since the NDP’s orange wave started and remains strongest in Quebec, it’s not surprising to see that Layton’s favourability score is highest there. Among Quebec panelists,  a remarkable 70 per cent of respondents reported having a more favourable impression of Layton than before the campaign began, above a still-healthy 52 per cent in the rest of Canada.

On impressions of Layton’s underlying attributes, Quebecers also seem to have warmed to him the most. On which leader they associate with “strong leadership,” Layton’s score rose to 31 per cent in Quebec from 14 per cent near the start of the campaign. In the rest of Canada, the climb was to 22 per cent from 14 per cent. Similarly, Layton’s image on attributes like “having the best plan” and “caring about people like me” rose smartly in Canada as a whole, but more markedly in Quebec.

When it came to probing voter attitudes on specific issues, the NDP made big gains during the campaign on protecting the middle class—a major thrust of Latyon’s stump-speech rhetoric and his party’s TV ads—and on understanding the needs of “people like me,” maintaining high ethical standards, and health care.

Not surprisingly, the Conservatives were strongly positioned, at least in the minds of our poll respondents, on crime, the economy, and cutting taxes.

The Liberals didn’t rank first on any issue asked about in the survey. Their best file is representing Canada to the world, but even on that—a seemingly natural strength for the globetrotting Ignatieff—the Liberals were only about equal with the Tories. Ask which party would do a better job on the world stage, 22 per cent said Conservatives would do a much better job than the other parties, 21 per cent said the Liberals, and about 10 per cent the NDP.

But that poor NDP result on Canada’s international image is a rarity in this campaign. And given the choice between being seen as the champion of the middle class, or the best leader to give as speech the United Nations, Layton would no doubt take the former. And it seems he’s got it.

The Innovative Canada 20/20 panel is recruited from a wide variety of sources to be representative of the know distribution of Canadians by age, gender, regional and language. The latest survey results were from 1,543 responses from April 21-25, and would have an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 2.49 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


 

Probing the NDP surge: middle-class credibility and more

  1. What a turn of events – I think that the ABC movement has worked too well and as I type this there are now a lot of very panicky Liberals out there – who would have thought – right now any strategic voting against Harper may appear to work however in essence it doesn't it may deny Harper a majority however what it really does it drive a steak in the heart of the Liberal Party – as it stands no self respecting Liberal will even consider an arrangement or a coalition with the NDP .. NOT .. not after Jack stuck a knife in Iggy at the debates when he turned on him – you could see the look in Iggy's eyes – et tu brutus – right now it's not Harper or Jack that are the issue BUT the very future of the Liberal Party … come Monday there are now more than a few Liberals who have realized that Harper isn't their real enemy the NDP is – Jack is out to slice and dice the left of the Liberal party and coopt them into the NDP .. the remaining soft conservatives will have no choice but to go to the CPC this time at the polls – providing they are smart enough to realize the obvious … who would have thought that ABC would become ABN – weird but true!

    • something stinks in these poll numbers, I think the NDP surge is overstated, polling anomalies, whimsical answers to questions,vote concentrations, whatever. I do think however that the NDP will pick up a few seats (maybe 15) and that what you said about the right wing of the Liberal party is true, they will (if they think about it) have no choice but to go CPC. The rest, particularly in Ont. will split the left vote allowing the conservatives to come up the middle, at least in the 905. The CP has to walk a careful line now, anticipating a lessened enthusiasm for PMJL (ach!) without trying too hard to blunt their momentum. It's a volatile situation but the chance for an increased minority is still there although I fear a majority might be out of reach.

      • Exactly as planned by the tory owned press! I've said it several time here and the NDP surge was a planned news story to take the heat off Harper and split the left. The only thing we can hope for is social media pounding the ABC message and stratigic voting.

        • Well, if you've said it several times, it must be true. Except it isn't. Go to 308.com and read some of their more recent articles. Polls in Quebec ridings from before the surge were already reflecting the move.

          This is a clear example of " a pox on both your houses" voting and it is real. It has nothing whatsoever to do with makebelieve ideology held by the three main parties and everything to do with lasting images from the two most recent governing parties' failings and the sense that this other guy, gamely fighting on, cane in hand, smiling through the pain, is "authentic" somehow.

          Read the wikipedia entry for Bob Rae and his election victory in 1990 and identify the many ways in which the storyline fits. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Rae#Election_vic… : Canada may not go all in, the way Ontario did, but the dynamics feel the same. This isn't a positive choice of the NDP brand or policies, this is a rejection of the CPC and LPC on the part of average, every day Canadians who don't follow this stuff closely, don't have strong party loyalty and don't have particular policy principles.

    • Mmm. Steak. Mmmm. Heart. Gimme knife from back, Ig. Mmmm. Slice. Dice. Mmmm.

    • I am a Liberal. I have self-respect. And you are dead wrong.

      Particularly if you think I'm going to be upset with Jack for the well-connecting dig he got in on Ignatieff. I've been fairly vocal on my complaints on that score myself, and I don't expect for one moment any political adversary to ignore a weak spot in an opponent.

      I don't particularly favour a merger with the NDP because I believe we are different parties for a reason (we have different views). Besides, there is a better solution. But I would very happily take an NDP government over a Harper government any day of the week. Especially a Monday. I would have a little more difficulty between an NDP and a Conservative government, but with a Harper government it is a slam-dunk for the NDP. And if I lived in a riding where the NDP had the slightest chance, I'd vote for them to avoid the vote-split.

  2. At the outset of this election, the mythical middle-class voter was the main target of all three of the Conservative, Liberal and NDP campaign strategies.

    Mythical?

    • Surely the notion that one can treat and entire, broad, socio-economic class as though it was some sort of monolithic entity is a myth. To me, tailoring one's appeals to the "middle-class voter" is only one step removed from tailoring one's appeals to the "ten-fingered voter". Sure, individual middle-class voters exist, but as a collective, the concept is a myth.

      • I too suspect that is what Mr Geddes was after. "Mythically monolithic" might therefore work better.

        Especially just before deluging us with all sorts of market-research data that has a focus on said middle-class voter.

        • Agreed. Also… alliteration: always awesome!

      • The ten-fingered voter is, however, a monolithic bloc in important respects. I think a campaign of "no finger-chopping" would go over well with nearly that whole demographic.
        Which may sound silly, but there are actually analogous policies in terms of the middle class. Issues of whether to draw taxes from corporations, banks and investors or from job income, for instance.

        • Sure, but those types of policies have to be super broad, don't they? After all, sure, the "no finger chopping policy" would probably be popular with the vast majority of ten-fingered voters. I'd imagine it'd be pretty popular with almost every voter with anywhere between one and nine fingers too though.

          Hell, even the fingerless voters would be in favour I'd guess, so as to save others from their fate.

          • Yeah, but that coalition of evil opposition parties chose to vote non-confidence before the CPC was just about to enact no-finger-chopping legislation. Ignatieff, the socialists and separatists just hate Canadian fingers from coast to coast to coast…

          • Very true. And yet I would argue that with respect to the "middle class", or even to the voting group called "The bottom 90% income earners", in both Canada and the United States there have been consistent and often successful efforts to sell the group on a policy of "Tithe one finger to the banks in the interests of hypothetical economic growth"–to the point where anyone suggesting *not* tithing fingers to the banks is considered radical and foolish.
            The NDP is, I would argue, seeing success precisely because it comes somewhat closer to a policy of *not* tithing fingers to the banks than any other party, and the pundits so far remain amazed that anyone in the middle class would take such a policy seriously.

      • Your hatred for ten-fingered voters was scarcely concealed in that post. Bigot!!

      • It's like the "everyday Canadian"

      • If only someone thought to offer a tax credit for the ten-fingered voter, the election would be a landslide.

        • From the CRA's Guide for the 2015 Income Tax Return:
          Schedule 83, Line 76435A: Non-Refundable Full-Complement Digital Assistance Tax Credit
          Paper Return: Do not send in your fingers with your tax return. You must keep them on file in case we ask to review them later.
          Netfile: Hold up all ten fingers (polite arrangements are appreciated) to your webcam when prompted by our website during your netfiling process.
          Telefile: Ensure that you have used every finger and thumb at least once as you press your touch-tone phone buttons.
          Efile: Show your tax preparer your hands for a finger-thumb count. If you suffered a complete or partial amputation of a finger or thumb AFTER 11:59PM on December 31 of the tax year in question, show your medical report to your tax preparer.
          Questions? At time of printing of this Guide, we are aware of 165 different Interpretation Bulletins that address the FCDA Tax Credit. These are available on our website or by written request.

  3. A francophone radio person who was doing on-the-street interviews pulled me over today to ask if the NDP's surge was going to affect how I voted in this election.

    I'm in Marc Garneau's riding. He has quite a few signs around my neighborhood, as does the NDP candidate. The CPC candidate also has a lot, and they're twice as big. Haven't seen any BQ candidate signs at all, just Duceppe signs, which are freakin' huge. The local population seems to be equal opportunity defacers — nobody's signs remain unscathed (though Duceppe survived the longest).

    My particular part of the riding had a pretty strong NDP turnout in the last federal election.

    • By the way, Mr. Override, I like the picture. Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, is it not? The classic Holmes, never equalled before or since that I know of.

      • Thanks! Correct identification, and I definitely agree that Mr Brett's portrayal is the definitive one.

        (Although I'd say Benedict Cumberbatch does a pretty good job in the the modern-day reboot version.)

        • Come now, aren't you old enough to remember the great Basil Rathbone, and his never to be forgotten Hound of the Baskervilles? Although i agree Brett was very good too.

          • I have no problem with Rathbone — and again, what's with the crazy names? Basil Rathbone? Benedict Cumberbatch? — but he's not quite my cuppa compared to Brett.

            (Also, Brett had far better-written Watsons to work with. And on that topic, although Robert Downey Jr will never be Holmes despite being a fine actor and movie star, I thought Jude Law was a very good Watson.)

        • There is a British actor named Benedict Cumberpatch? Wow, that name is so British it seems almost parodic.

          • One of the new show's creators made a joke about hiring him for the role because he's the only person with a more preposterous name than Sherlock Holmes.

    • You haven't told us how you responded to your interviewer…

      • "Desole, ma francais, c'est tres lente et tres limitee. Mais concernant l'NPD, c'est tres bon, mais je pense que «non», parce que je suis avec le Bloc ou l'NPD habituellement, et pour moi les candidats et ma strategie sont plus important. Pi l'effet est minimal."

        Except mostly in English — and therefore with far fewer mistakes and "uh"s then he would have otherwise received — which I'm certain convinced him that I wasn't his ideal interviewee. But we had a nice chat about it.

        • parce que je suis avec le Bloc ou l'NPD habituellement… "mostly in English " probably had him just a little bouleversé'd, I figure.

          • Heh. :)

          • You had me at desole….

            (I wrote that to make chet groan)

        • If that's a direct translation he must have felt lost.

          • Dude, I felt lost. It took me twenty minutes to write in French that badly, and this is some of my better work.

          • Oh…. OH! Well then this is a brilliant effort, the work of… of a master translator! (I didn't mean to discourage an Anglophone from trying out some French)

  4. In Canada everyone thinks they're middle-class, although Harper confuses them with working class…so naturally all parties would try and appeal to that socioeconomic level.

  5. Only a few days to examine Jack's BS. Take doubling the CPP – everyone should read this

    "In Jack's World, there really is a free lunch. The NDP platform is full of them. Subsidized child care, drugs, green energy, elder care—all of it to be paid for with the billions that can allegedly be raised by increasing tax rates on businesses. This is the subtext of any Layton proposal: Somebody else (rich people, corporations, the banks) will pick up the tab.

    Most Canadians see through this act, but every so often the disarming man behind the mustache gains a wider audience for a bad idea. Take Layton's championing of a massive expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) as the solution to the looming retirement crunch. The concept now has enough momentum to live beyond election day."
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business

    • well said. :)

    • Yep, expansion of the ponzi scheme is popular – amongst older Canadians anyway. Younger Canadians don't even pay attention.

      • Yes, won't that be wonderful if we see a doubling of our CPP contributions. Well worth it of course. We've already seen them double under Martin. That much was necessary to keep the plan afloat. But to do it again? Simply insane.

    • Quick note to Leo. The article you cite is written in the Globe's Business Section. As is well known, the business elite of this country are in the pockets of the big banks and financial managers. Read the description the 'Master of the Universe' gives of how he makes money by accumulating crumbs as the big financial cake is sliced and diced in Tom Wolfe's, 'Bonfire of the Vanities'. Much the same goes for the fund managers who would love to get their hands on the money in the CPP for their own just desserts.

      Second, if I remember rightly, contemporary business is looking for worker flexibility, as needed worker availability, a healthy and educated workforce – and all of this for free. Heaven forbid that they should be required to contribute to same.

      By the same token, how can someone paying of a massive student loan while working at Starbucks or MacDonalds hope to lay the foundations of a retirement at the same time?

      By my reckoning, the unrealistic ones here are the poor downtrodden corporations and their wealthy supporters who need more of our money to ship offshore.

      • You, my friend, are reading too much fiction. Please take an economics course – micro/macro.

        Who pays corporate taxes? It's not who you think

        If corporations, their executives and their owners don't pay the CIT, then that leaves…

        Workers and consumers: Reduced investment results in reduced productive capacity, which in turn leads to reduced output and weaker labour demand.

        Since the CIT isn't a policy that affects total employment, the effect of an increase of the CIT is to reduce wages. On this point, available evidence suggests that the lion's share of the corporate tax burden is borne by workers.

        Many people may feel that the current public debate on the corporate income tax doesn't affect them. But one of the lessons of the economics of tax incidence is that the people who really pay the tax are not always those who send cheques to the Receiver-General. In this case, it is workers who end up paying corporate taxes.
        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business

        • The problem with your assessment of the effects of taxation on corporations is that lowering same taxes hasn't worked to increase employment. There is lots of historical, not theoretical, data to back this up. I would have no problem with a targeted tax break for job creation, but the current government is not prepared to extract concessions for their largesse.

          I suggest you read "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism', by Ha-Joon Chang for a critique of supposed free market capitalism as expounded in the courses post the Chicago School. It is not a pretty picture. All of the purported benefits of neo-liberal economics have been illusory and have served only to further enrich the already wealthy.

      • You are not entirely wrong. We are getting butt-raped by financial institutions, no doubt about it. But I do not believe the solution lies in higher taxes, nor in more government programs. In fact, those are the very things that make possible the current state of affairs. And Layton's stated intention of pressuing the BoC to keep interest rates low only plays into the hands of the financial giants. Take a poll of Wall Street or Bay Street big wigs. Each and every last one of them wants low interest rates in perpetuity. They want interest rates so low that no one can possibly earn a return on savings, and thus must turn to the stock market in hopes of getting a return, taking on massive risk in the process. Banks love low interest rates because easy money means they can expand credit faster. Higher interest rates mean less lending and borrowing, and less profit. The solution to all this? A return to real money. A precious-metals backed currency would eliminate the need for central banking altogether, and basically wipe out 3/4 of the current financial empire that is sucking the rest of us dry. Without the ability to create new debt at the push of a button, the Wall Street parasites would simply disappear.

  6. "…New Democrat support skews younger and less well-off."

    I'd like to see some data to back that up.

    By way of anecdote, my last four elections I have lived in three different NDP-held seats – in Ottawa, in Halifax, and in Toronto. In each of them, the NDP vote was clearly not as strong in the poorer neighbourhoods as it was in the wealthier ones.

    • The only NDP seat in Ottawa is Ottawa Centre – one of the poorest ridings. So much for your theory. Do you really need data to explain the obvious?

      • Most of the Glebe, Westboro, Island Park, Wellington West, and the nicer parts near the Civic skewed NDP (as part of Ottawa-Centre). There's more then plenty of money in those areas.

      • Is it the raging that impairs your literacy, or the ranting that impairs your comprehension?

  7. The best vote is a strategic vote to block a Harper majority. The Project Democracy website can show you the current polling numbers in your electoral district. Check it out.

  8. I used to believe in Santa Claus….then I grew up.

    • You don't believe in Santa Claus?!?!?!?

      That's just WRONG.

  9. Jack's looking like a lottery winner — who knew his ship would come in, just that he regularly bought the ticket? The platform was pretty much the same staples as always, the presentation maybe a little slicker but always fairly engaging, but I sense the public's shift was a reaction to what Harper's team has tried to manipulate over 5 years of governing (hah!)… People being conditioned to looking squint-eyed at the opposition leader, no matter what his plan or his performance was like because they were told 'he's just in it for himself.' Well, it may not in the end vary much from Harper's end purpose if it serves up a divided left and a majority for him, but if instead this surge shows staying power and even e-day energy, then Harper proved to be too-clever by half.
    His cynicism will have bit him on the big target. I'm not grieving over that possibility and I don't think most Canadians respond to his 'be very very scared, children' message anymore…

    • Yeah five years of crying wolf at the door is enough for a lot of people. Odd how Harper never learns the big lessons[ most pols don't. Hell most people don't!] He benefitted from exactly the same fearmongering with Martin, and like a lot of overly smart egotistical people it probably never occured that it could ever happen to him.

  10. Nobody in their right mind would price carbon without a corresponding tax reduction elsewhere…so strike that one off your list. And don't the tories have cap and trade in their platform too? Not that it stops Harper demagoguing on the subject.
    I people are weighing up the downside of economic risk with Layton and disrespect for democracy with Harper. Before this election i wouldn't have believed they might come down so decisively on Jack's side. My faith in the Canadian electorate has been somewhat restored.

    • Uh, the NDP is using revenues from their cap and trade system to fund green spending, and the general budget. So I guess they aren't in their right minds (perhaps just their left minds).

      As for the democracy-economy tradeoff – its so wonderful that you can afford to care about the hurt feelings of the opposition leaders. I'm entering the job market soon – I can't.

      • You did refer to pricing carbon, not C&T. You had ne puzzled there.

        Good luck with that, but i don't share your view the sky will fall. Jack will [if he gets in] make some enormous mistakes i'm sure of it. My hope is he is in a minority[ and a small one] at best. He'll need the libs to help – he has to put some water in his wine – i also hope he developes amnesia with the constitution thing, unless he has a credible plan. He's been badly underestimated by his opponents and seems to have struck a nerve with the public. The same public who have rejected him in the past. He must have adjusted in a way that many previous sceptics buy – he's even got me hoping just a little.

        Hurt feelings be buggered bud. Harper has crapped all over our parliamentary democracy – i'd feel the same way if it were say Martin. And i wasn't wild about some of Chretien's tactics either. But i submit Chretien at least was not so utterly removed from even the notion of responsibility for his actions and its consequences as Harper has been. Martin i never liked at all.

    • What taxes are going to be lowered to offset the carbon tax? Jack isn't saying. I'm sure we'll have a sprinkling of tax credits for low income earners and that's about it.

  11. I enjoy…….www. zapposer. com

  12. Maybe all this tells us is that there is a large constituency of voters who currently depend on government spending for the livelihoods, either directly or indirectly, and that Jack Layton is their only credible leader. This is not "middle-class" and includes senior bureaucrats and unionized municipal workers.

    Layton has plugged into the very selfish motives of this group and it is paying off nicely..for now.

  13. There will be a CPC majority. No need to worry about all the hype.

  14. It is truly amazing that the NDP has been able to get away with campaigning on affordability issues.

    It makes me question our education system.

    Maybe all Canadians should get a free trip to Europe for an affordability comparison.

    • Life in say Vancouver is roughly as expensive as a comparably sized European city. It's a broad generalization i know, but it's roughly true nevertheless.
      Honest question scf. Have you ever been to Europe? Because the way you talk about them sometimes makes me wonder if your objections are not purely idealogical.
      I was born there[ actually it used to be cheap to live in the UK prior to joining the EU, but that's old history now] and i've lived for a relatively short while working in Germany. They have a wonderful life all told. Far from perfect. and I wouldn't exchange for this country at all. It's different. The taxes are high, so are the wages. The average guy in Germany in the 90s when i was there lived considerably better than many Canadians – financially speaking that is. They have big problems now, but they'll just muddle through like we all do.

      • I see. So you're gonna play the "I'm more qualified to know the facts" card.

        Yes, I lived in Europe, for two years. I worked in Europe and supported myself in Europe. I have numerous European friends – in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark. Other than living there, I've also visited about 15 different Euro countries, including all of the most populous ones (England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy) numerous times, as well as socialist haven Sweden (although not as socialist as people think these days) several times and some eastern Euro countries too.

        Have you worked in Europe, paid your bills in Europe, paid for rent or housing in Europe? I'm guessing you haven't. Frankly, I don't want to play the "I'm more qualified than you" card anyway.

        Sorry, but Vancouver not even close to the same affordability as Europe – pick a country, any country in Europe. The UK is one of the worst places. Have you stayed in a UK hotel in the last 10 years? Had a restaurant meal in London? Paid for petrol? In all three cases, you're paying from double to triple the cost compared to Vancouver (yes, I've been to Vancouver several times and I know many people there too). Even real estate is more expensive in London, and Vancouver is one of the most expensive North American real estate markets. Europe-wide, housing is extremely expensive, and so are cars. There's a reason Europeans buy small cars, and it's not just the parking and smaller roads.

        Um, no, the wages are not higher in Europe. Have you looked at the average UK wage anytime lately? Apparently not. Same goes for Germany. Italy, Spain, you name it, the cost of living is higher across the board, both for real estate and also for daily items like food, gas, etc. The only thing cheaper in europe is alcohol (beer, wine, etc). The cost of living is more expensive in Europe. And no, the wages are not higher (except in Luxembourg). There may be reasons people may prefer Europe, but affordability is not one of them.

        • Relax, It was just a question, not really an attempt to one up you. Happy to have one of my many assumptions proven wrong – you've traveled more widely then i have. That said many of your facts are just wrong. Yes i've lived and worked in Germany and i spent the first 18 years of my life in the UK – so i doubt you any deeper insight into the place than i do. But as isaid much of my info on the UK is now limited to occasional trips, and family updates.
          Comparing Vancouver to London, one of the worlds most expensive cities, is silly. UK wages are pretty good these days, although not when you consider the cost of living.[ oddly professional wages were always crappy there. They likely still are.]
          You're completely wrong about Germany. Some of my dearest friends are moving back because of all the added benefits/pensions/ job security, and the wages most definitely are higher across the board then here. Although you're right about the real estate, it's insane. [Have you checked out Vancouvers lately?] But many Germans are happy to rent – they have no choice. The rents in Berlin for instance were very reasonable[ govt regulated] when i lived there.

          • "UK wages are pretty good these days, although not when you consider the cost of living"

            OK, so there is agreement about the UK.

            "Although you're right about the real estate, it's insane."

            And you seem to be agreeing to some degree about Germany.

            Anyway, wages are harder to gauge (because it's not easily available info) but my impression with most of Europe is that wages are lower, but yes, perhaps Germany is an exception. There are a few places like Norway and Luxembourg as well where wages are quite high.

            Cost of living is easier to measure because it's easy for an outsider to see the costs of everything when spending time there, and also to see how well others are coping with the costs. For instance, I've noticed Euros eat out much less and I think the reason is the cost. Fewer euros own a car, also due to cost. And so on. I don't think there is much of a comparison, Canada is so much cheaper, whether it be for ski tickets, for meals, or for almost anything else except alcohol.

            I love visiting Europe. But I am very wary about it, if you spend time in the most popular places it is just so very expensive. The only way to avoid that is to go to the poorer countries, or to be very frugal and plan very wisely.

          • Fair enough. In any case Canada has been #1 for a number of years until fairly recently on the best quality of living index.[ UN?] so i don't have any real arguement with you on that score. Money isn't the only metric.

  15. If the money raised is effectively funneled back into the economy in the form of green projects [ big if. I like the CT better] it stays within the economy. Call it income distribution if you like, but that's effectively what we do in a progessive society all the time to some extent or other, no?

    • I'm FOR income redistribution. If we are going to tax people, we should do it in ways that:
      A. have a minimal impact on the economy
      B. don't hit the least well off

      So lets think about this for a moment. When you double the CPP, payroll taxes go up. Payroll taxes are essentially a flat tax – everybody pays a similar proportion of their income. What happens when you price carbon? Prices of things that use carbon go up. That has a significant impact on poor people, who tend to spend a greater proportion of their income. Green spending may be great for the minority of people that get jobs installing wind-farms, or the companies that benefit from that economic activity, but for the vast majority of poor people its a net loss.

      I am suggesting that if Jack Layton wants to raise taxes to pay for things, he should use the income tax (or he could raise the GST, so long as he cushioned the blow by extending/enhancing the GST rebate), so that rich people pay the cost. Instead he is using indirect means, which tend to hit poor people harder, and in many cases, are worse for the economy. Its good politics, but its bad economics, and frankly, vicious from a standpoint of social justice.

      • Sure sure. The carbon tax in BC is driving the poor into the woods. I was just there. Everyone begging on the street, i could hardly get to my fav cafe.

        Agree with you completely on the GST. It's agreat shame MI allowed SH to scare him off the ball. Maybe he wouldn't have had to go to raising the CIT, but that's politics i guess. Ignatieff has to learn[if he gets the chance] that fortune favours the brave – not the timid. As for Jack. He'll figure it out. That or he'll be back to running for mayor somewhere.

        • I'm not against a cap and trade or carbon tax (the latter is better), but it is a regressive policy, and one that hits certain industries very hard. If you don't use revenues from the tax/cap and trade to cushion the blow, some people will suffer. Sweden took 12 years to reach its pre-carbon tax GDP (obviously the tax wasn't the only issue, but it sure didn't help). BC has escaped any sort of harm because its tax is modest, and offset by tax reductions.

  16. Thw World has changed and we are still living in the 50's , give it up the Conservative Slave trade is over

    • So what am I to do with all my slaves now?

  17. And why would we want to?