A fact check on the blowback to Paul Martin’s new gig

What the former Liberal PM really said about payroll taxes

(Photo by Cole Garside)

There’s been quite an uproar about Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s recruitment of Paul Martin, the former federal finance minister, who was also, though you might not remember this part so well, prime minister for a spell.

The reaction follows from the task Wynne has assigned to the Liberal icon of budget-balancing sound fiscal management—figuring out a way to improve the public pension system in Ontario, since the federal government isn’t interested in expanding the Canada Pension Plan. Two parts of the response seem to me worth putting in context.

First there’s Kevin Sorenson, the junior federal finance minister, slamming Wynne’s latest move toward providing more pension benefits, which would, of course, require premiums to be deducted from paycheques, as a threat of “higher payroll taxes, killing jobs and deterring investment.”

What’s interesting about Sorenson reverting to this line of attack, which he’s used before, is that it is decidedly not the criticism of bigger public pensions that Prime Minister Stephen Harper emphasized when he was asked about this issue in a year-end interview. As I’ve noted before, Harper didn’t lay on the approved job-killing-payroll-tax line, instead framing this as an issue of personal responsibility.

The Prime Minister said most Canadians put aside enough for retirement and those who don’t are “a group of people who have reasonably affluent lifestyles but just don’t save.” He continued: “They have the opportunity to do so, so I don’t think the challenge is to raise CPP taxes on everybody. It’s to try and figure out how to get the people who actually need to save to do the saving they need to do.”

Harper’s response strikes me as more plausible than claiming a modest pension contribution increase phased in over several years would really cost many jobs, and more interesting as a candid expression of the philosophical reservations conservatives might well have about expanding a government pension system.

The second aspect of the blowback about Martin’s new gig that seems to me worth noting is the gotcha reaction of those who claim he has forgotten his own view of payroll taxes, back when he was finance minister, as “a cancer on job creation.” But here’s the full quote from his March 1, 1994 speech to the Empire Club of Canada about that spring’s federal budget:

“One of the major initiatives of this budget was to lower payroll taxes for business—rolling them back now, with the prospect of even further reductions in the future. Payroll taxes are a cancer on job creation. Our reduction in unemployment insurance rates this year will result in business saving over $300 million per year, money we would expect businesses to re-invest in job creation.”

He didn’t mention CPP, just unemployment insurance, in that memorable “cancer on job creation” passage. And, later in the same speech, Martin in fact highlighted the need to review the “sustainability of the pension system,” the weakness of which he called “the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of everybody in this room under the age of 45.” The CPP reform he later ushered in, which entailed a gradual increase of CPP premiums between 1997 and 2003, was one of his signature policy successes.

Much more than CPP deductions, employment insurance (as we now call it) premiums feel like a true payroll tax. Most of us don’t foresee deriving any direct benefit from paying for EI, since we don’t plan on claiming benefits, and the federal government has, in fact, put many billions in surplus EI revenues into its general coffers, which sure has made them seem like just another tax.

On the other hand, CPP benefits in retirement are a reliable prospect for many millions of working Canadians, and one they appreciate. It’s hard to think of CPP deductions as a typical tax when we fully expect to be personally deriving a reasonable return on every dollar we contribute. Even business owners, at least the best kind, can’t entirely begrudge paying a bit for their employees’ future security.




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A fact check on the blowback to Paul Martin’s new gig

  1. Wynne wants to be associated with Paul Martin for one reason only: the myth that only Paul Martin is a prudent financial manager.

    But that’s all it is; a myth.

    Had Preston Manning and the Reform Party at the time not been around to chase Paul Martin around, then Paul Martin might never have done what he did at the time. Historical events turn into myth making when the complete context of the times is forgotten about or is willfully ignored.

    However, Wynne will try to perpetuate the myth-making and she will hope that the Ontario Liberal real scandals will thereby be forgotten. Perhaps. Perhaps voters in Ontario will buy into her ploy.

    • “Had Preston Manning and the Reform Party at the time not been around to
      chase Paul Martin around, then Paul Martin might never have done what he
      did at the time.”

      The two aren’t mutually exclusive you know.

      • Historical events don’t happen in isolation.

        • If a tree falls in the forest…is this riddle hour?

    • “But that’s all it is; a myth.”

      So you’re saying we imagined all those surpluses; paying down the debt; tax cuts…

    • Yup, and it’s entirely a cover. Much like Dalton got Don Drummond to write a report on how to balance the provinces books…. then promptly ignored them all and did what he was going to do anyway, Wynne will do the same with Paul Martin. He’ll come up with some recommendations, she’ll do her own thing, and simply use his name to lend credibility to her own madness.

    • Hilarious.

      Apparently Preston Manning invented the concept of reducing expenses and increasing income as a means to pay down the debt.

      • Actually there is a grain of truth in what was said. What Martin did was quite extraordinary, and I would take nothing from his accomplishment. Chretien ran on abolishing the GST and reviving the economy with infrastructure spending (nothing is new under the sun). The Mulroney Progressive Conservatives had raised taxes, done quite a bit of government reform, but were still spending $40 billion a year more than revenues, which happened to be close to the cost of servicing the debt. A decade previously British Columbia had implemented a restraint program, cutting government spending and civil service reforms, in 1983, and the next year Alberta did similar. The BC Social Credit disappeared as a party as a result, but the Alberta Conservatives survived and flourished as they laid the ground for the Alberta Miracle. Many of the ideas and political impetus for government spending cuts came from the Reform Party. Those ideas were anathema to the Liberals as well as the Progressive Conservatives.

        The Peso crisis in Mexico scared the living daylights out of the fiscal folks in Ottawa, so with political cover from an opposition who were demanding draconian cuts in taxes and government spending, Martin was given the power of denial to all government expenditures and he exercised it. He was the good cop to the Reform bad cops, moderating the real extreme Reform policies. But he cut health spending, subsidized housing all but disappeared, along with many other serious cuts in government spending. And he managed to slay the deficit.
        By this time the Alberta miracle was in full swing, as well as a thriving BC economy showing that these cuts although painful (I knew a guy who lost his house in Fort MacMurray through bankruptcy) yielded excellent results in time.

        So no, these ideas did not come into Martin’s mind. They were totally opposite to what the Liberals had done for all they years they were in power and what they campaigned on to win the election.

        • I`m afraid you`ve come to the wrong place if you`re looking for any credit for making sense and hitting the nail on the head.

          • Especially since it was American rumbling about us becoming a Third World country that moved the govt. Not Reform and not Mexico.

            Mulroney btw eliminated the Operating deficit, but rightfully said that interest was eating us alive, and the only solution was to ‘outgrown the debt’. Hence the FTA

            Harp is trying the same thing with the EU and TPP.

          • The Americans have said all kinds of things about Canada with little effect. The Liberals made a career of ignoring them. The Mexican devaluation made those who carried the debt, and those who Canada needed to borrow more money from for the next year very nervous. Interest rates were high at that time. Provinces with NDP governments were borrowing money at 16-18%. As Chretien said, we were broke.

            BC did the same in 83, and the party that implemented the restraint lost power, disappeared and consequent NDP governments rolled back the reforms. Harris did similar in Ontario, and to this day Ontario Conservatives dive under the furniture when Harris is mentioned; the Ontario Liberals have been quite vocal about rolling back the Harris cuts.

            It was different with the Federal Liberals because the opposition party wanted them to do even more. They maintained power because of their fiscal responsibility. The Alberta example showed a way for a political party to cut spending to balance the budget and survive based on the economic growth that would follow.

            Imagine if the NDP had been the opposition party in 1993. It would have been far different. With Reform and Manning setting the terms of the debate, it allowed the Liberals to do what they did. And they did it to their credit. Such major changes that caused lots of difficulties for lots of people could not be done and maintained unless there was political consensus across the spectrum.

          • I wonder who was Harris’s Finance Minister?

          • You completely miss the point.
            The point made was not concerning who was Harris` Finance Minister. The point is that when you have irresponsible Opposition parties such as the NDP and the Liberal Opposition that Harris had in Ontario, they will not give credit to a government that uses sound fiscal management—-they just bleat about cuts.
            When you have a responsible Opposition Party like the Reform under Manning, then they will encourage sound fiscal management like that under Martin and Chretien.
            As Derek has said, try to imagine the state of the Canadian economy now if the 2 Opposition Parties that Martin was facing were the Bloc and NDP.
            The Reform Party was the most important political movement as far as the Canadian economy was concerned in the past 100 years.

          • Sound fiscal management? Harris & Co. ruined the Ontario school system and undermined drinking water safety inspection, among other things, and they sent me a cheque for $200 with the money they saved. Better they had left well enough alone and kept the money.

          • Harris ruined the Ontario school system? I guess that explains why the population there is dumb enough to keep voting Liberal despite their horrendous track record.

            It also helps explain why thousands of people in Toronto couldn’t figure out how to keep their food cold during an ice storm and needed be bailed out with gift cards. Funny how all of those idiots live in ridings that continue to vote Liberal.

            All Mike Harris’ fault, or are Liberals just stupid by ideology?

          • Two drunks in charge of the water system caused the water problem.
            The education Premier ( McGuinty ) just left office in disgrace a few months ago shortly before a study that showed that Ontario is producing math and English illiterates.
            Your problem is that you believe the propaganda from Ontario socialists.

          • Nevertheless it was American concern about our economy that got the govt going. It had nothing to do with Reform.

          • That`s just completely idiotic.

          • ‘The Wall Street Journal called Canada “an honorary member of
            the Third World.” And there was real concern that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would have to step in to stabilize our financial situation.’

            http://www.fin.gc.ca/ec2003/speech-eng.asp

          • And what did Chretien or any Liberal ever do that would make you think that they would tailor their economic policy on ” American concern “.

          • Are you suffering under some delusion that Harper follows what the Americans say?

          • Oh quit circle jerking yourself !
            You said Liberal economic policy was a result of American concern.
            I said that historically Liberals are not concerned by what Americans think.
            You then say something completely off-subject about Harper.

            That shows you`re nuts.

          • No, it shows Cons are illiterate.

        • So let me understand this. Paul Martin, a successful businessman for decades before he became finance minister, learned about spending less and earning more as a way to slay a deficit from Preston Manning and Ralph Klein – both career politicians.

          I will concede that the Reform party gave the liberals political cover, but it is a little silly to suggest Martin never would have considered spending cuts as a means of slaying the deficit if Manning, and Ralph Klein, hadn’t come up with the idea first. Really, what Martin and Chretien did was make a really smart political and economic decision, and the Reform party could hardly complain.

          I will also concede that the liberals may not have run on cutting spending as deeply as they ultimately cut them – although they also claim the true state of the nation’s debt was not clear to them until after they took office. In any event, I do not think anyone here would be surprised by a liberal party that campaigned from the left and governed from the right.

          As for what you refer to as the “Alberta Miracle” – you might want to explain that one. I know there are a lot of people in my province who worship the ground Klein walked on, but I do not think anyone has every considered slashing programs to cut debt a “miracle” before. Unless you think Klein somehow put the oil in the ground.

          • PS – in the 1993 Alberta election, Klein basically stole the liberal platform (which argued the poor fiscal management of the conservatives and the need to slay the deficit). So does that mean the so called “Alberta Miracle” was really a result of the liberals?

          • 1993? Klein and Dinning did their thing in 1984.

          • While Klein was Mayor of Calgary?

          • Gayle,
            The Reform Party didn’t give Paul Martin any political cover….they gave him the policy he used to get rid of the deficit. The policies Martin used…..were basically lifted straight from the Reform Party policy book. And who wrote those policies?
            Some young MP with an economics background…hmmmm..I can’t recall his name offhand, but he happens to be the Prime Minister of Canada today.
            Same with the “Clarity Act”……….another gift provided to Trudeau by Preston Manning….and once again, another policy created by the same fellow who happens to be today’s Prime Minister.
            Strange isn’t it…..the TWO biggest things the Liberals are remembered for (other than ADSCAM) doing well……are both the actual work of Stephen J. Harper.

          • Really? Did Stephen Harper’s platform include reducing the military?

            I know you think he is super duper brilliant and stuff, but he did not invent the concept of reducing expenses. He really really didn’t.

            PS – Did Harper write the Charter of Rights and Freedoms too?

            Ha ha ha ha ha

          • Liberals should take full credit for reducing the military.

            How did the Charter of Rights and Freedoms reduce the deficit and help Martin balance the Budget ?

          • I never said it did. Just mocking James for his assertion that Liberal accomplishments were really Harper’s.

          • James showed how the two biggest ” Liberal accomplishments ” were actually stolen from Harper and Manning.
            You seem to think that reducing the military and composing a Charter were the biggest Liberal accomplishments.

          • The Charter was and is a huge accomplishment. It is arguably one of the major accomplishments in Canadian history because it affects all Canadians when applied by the courts and keeps the politicians in check.

          • OK, but how does it belong in a thread about Martin and the economy ?
            But since you mentioned the Charter as a major accomplishment, could you explain how it affects all Canadians ( how has your life and mine improved since the Charter was ratified ) and some examples of how it has kept politicians in check. You may not like the Harper gov`t spending all that money on advertising, and I may not like that the Liberals have not paid back to us the money they stole in Adscam, but the Charter hasn`t helped us much.

          • It’s not about what it’s done. It’s like everything else the Liberals believe in, it’s about how it makes you feeeeeeel.

            Just like Trudeau. A man of zero substance, and zero achievement. Yet they believe he’ll lead them to the promised land because he makes them feeeeel good about themselves. And he looks really great on TV, so what could possibly go wrong?!

          • Mandatory minimum sentencing is a recent example. Same sex marriage was another. The government’s continued attempt to bring in it’s ridiculous crime bill has also been stymied by an appeal to the Charter as has the extremely partisan Senate reform fiasco.
            The impartial application of the Charter by an independent judiciary is something that governments cannot ignore and many poorly thought out pieces of legislation, specifically by this government are being redrafted because of it.
            Theft is covered by the criminal code so expecting the Charter to account for solving all crime is a stretch.

          • OK, we`ll put you down as an enthusiastic supporter of the big Liberal accomplishment of creating a written Charter that now allows men and women to marry those of their own gender, that allows judges to choose their own lenient brand of sentencing on criminals, and that prevents elected Members of Parliament from reforming the useless Senate and a broken justice system.
            Oh, and don`t forget the illegitimate spin-off from the Charter—The Human Rights Commissions—now there is a real useful tool that would never be abused .

          • I guess we can put you down as an enthusiastic supporter of Reform bullies and the corrupt then. Where what those powerful rich people says goes and consistency, integrity and the impartial application of the law for all mean nothing.
            But then I repeat myself after saying Reform I went on to describe them.

          • No he didn’t. Saying something is not the same as “showing” it to be true.

            If wishes were horses and all that…

          • No Gayle, not quite.
            I was saying the two biggest accomplishments the Liberals made were really the result of Harper’s policies.
            Things like Adscam, reducing the military, stealing money…those were all done by the Liberals without the help of anyone else.

          • Ah it’s the old religious argument. All good things are done by god, bad things not so much hey?
            Or to put it in banking terms privatise profits, socialise losses.

          • Based upon the scope and intelligence of your response, I can see that you really were clueless about how Martin accomplished the task.
            That being said, I’m glad Martin carried through with it….and not simply because I voted Liberal at the time.

          • Based on your unsupported claims I saw no reason to treat your post with any seriousness. I know you conservatives are desperate to prove Harper is the greatest PM ever, but the assertion he is responsible for Martin’s accomplishments is just, well, funny.

            In fact, there is a good argument to be made that the opposite is true. Canada’s strong economic position over the past few years is really down to Martin’s decision to maintain tight regulations on banks. Do you happen to know what pre 2000 Harper stood on this issue?

          • The only “accomplishments” of Martin’s were deep and drastic cuts to services. GST? Mulroney. NAFTA, which expanded Canada’s exports? Mulroney.

          • If you think my claims are unsupported…then clearly, that is due to the fact you only read online forums.
            Try a newspaper…that’s where I learned of it.

          • Here is the thing about claims based on evidence. It is generally a good idea to produce the evidence.

            I don’t know what newspapers you are reading. Perhaps you can link to some actual evidence that Martin only reduced spending because Harper wrote it in the Reform election platform.

          • Are you the guy who just was talking about cognitive dissonance ?

            Forget about finding some evidence in an agenda-driven newspaper.
            The Reform Party campaigned on reduced spending in 1993.
            Liberals did not campaign on reduced spending but when Martin saw the chief opposition in Parliament was the Reformers, he knew they would silently agree with him.
            This shouldn`t be difficult logic.

          • All parties campaigned on reducing spending.

            Look it up. Google is your friend.

          • Well the Reform Party may have campaigned on reduced spending and fiscal responsibility, but when they were given the chance to form government in their incarnation as the CPC, they somehow managed to increase spending and put us into deficit even before the recession that started in 2008. ( that Stephen Harper assured us all we would have already had …).

            So based on actual evidence I.e. track record, you hardly have any lessons to teach.

          • Ok Gayle…try this.
            Go find a newspaper from between 1996…to 2006.
            Now read them. If you were interested in the facts, you would have known them already.

          • Cannot help but notice James has avoided my question. Let me help you. In 2002 Stephen Harper wrote an op ed for the National Post in which he addressed Martin’s stance on tough regulations for banks by criticizing that stance. Harper was against tough regulations.

            But I think you already know this,…

          • Indeed.

          • Don’t you mean the ground that Klein crawled upon?

          • Before Paul Martin Junior was a successful business man, he was the son of Paul Martin senior.
            Wtihout those connections, and the fact he was born into money…..he would have had a more difficult time with his success.
            Same with Trudeau Junior……if not for his father, he’d just be another part time substitute teacher no one ever heard of.

          • So? He still had to know how to run a business successfully, even if he had a leg up.

            I never claimed he was self made – just good at what he does.

            Same goes for Trudeau. His job right now is to rebuild the party and fundraise – and he is very successful at it.

          • He ran his business “successfully” only because he didn’t pay Canadian corporate taxes. It’s not hard to run a successful business when you don’t pay the same taxes as your competitors.

          • Really? That’s the only reason? I assume you have gone through the financial statements of the company and done a full analysis?

            No? You’re just saying stuff cuz that’s what you think?

            So surprised…

          • That could be said of all of us. We are all creations of our up bringing and that not only includes our family but our society too.
            Most new businesses today are successful because DARPA developed the internet. We all get around more efficiently because of roads and planning that was done decades before us and we are all here today because of intrepid pioneers and FNs from back in the day.
            None of us are here because we did it, we are here today and see as far as we do because of the efforts of many.

          • Oh…I get it…the Obama Doctrine
            “you didn’t build that”

          • Not really , it’s an appreciation of all those who sacrificed so I could sacrifice for those who come after me. I think it’s called civilisation.

          • Except that you’re asking others to do the sacrificing.

          • Now you know that what you typed here is a blatant lie, because of our conversations on this board. I pay my way and volunteer too, I just have a different idea about responsibility than you especially when it comes to expecting things without paying for it. Most Cons are real welfare queens when it comes to it as are most corporations.

        • Thank you, Derek for such well written explanation.

          Setting history into context is always a must.

    • Why, Francien, I’m surprised. Despite your obsession with all things Justin, you can still claim to know what goes through the mind a provincial premier half a continent away from where you live. Or did you phone Wynne personally to verify your conclusions about her true motivation?

      Your perspicacity is literally unbelievable.

      • Thank you for reading my post.

        • Not at all…

  2. Hell froze over in Michigan recently, but I still don’t believe a word that comes out of Wynne’s mouth.

  3. Two words: Don Drummond

  4. This comment was deleted.

    • Nonsense. Business managers and owners (I’ve had a successful career as both) make a decision to hire new employees because they have client contracts and production orders which need additional labour to fulfill.

      The cost of matching the employees contribution to EI and CPP is capped to an annual maximum and is just a fraction of all the other costs associated with each new employee (salary, benefits, recruitment, training, computers & software licenses, office space and overheads.)

      The “killing jobs” mantra is a red herring intended to maximum business profits. Businesses will still hire employees because they need them, they just want to cut expenses when ever possible (without affecting their customers or affecting the perks of ownership.)

      • Less profits for all companies will result in fewer “clients” for every business. Which results in fewer jobs. It’s very simple, the government is taking money out of the economy, which results in less economic activity, which results in fewer jobs being created.

        • Do you run a company Rick?

          • Yes. And my customers need money to pay for my services. The more money the government takes from them, the less they have to spend with me, the fewer people I can hire to do jobs. It’s not rocket science.

          • so you’d be all for raising the minimum wage then? The point of that is to guarantee that more cash is used to buy services and products rather than be whisked away off-shore or into tax havens. If reward the people who will spend it then all companies will do well then. Conversely if you take it from the hoarders and tax cheats you then have a source for the funds for this new minimum wage.

          • You really do feel entitled to everybody else’s hard work, don’t you? I’m guessing you’re unemployed, am I wrong?

          • I’m a small business owner actually and I work part time and volunteer in other areas in my community when it’s the off season. Although that is less and less now as the business is picking up.

            I’m also not too proud t admit that I am living off all the hard work of those that came before me, because we are part of a developing community effort called Canada. I hope to leave this place more equal, more honest and more prosperous for all who come after me than when I arrived just like those before me. And by all, I mean all, not just those who own the system and the politicians who fix it.

          • By all means do so. But why do you demand that I pay for it? Volunteering will do a lot more for any community than paying taxes. Taxes are the worst possible way to invest in any community.

          • If you gain a benefit from tax funded activities then you should pay for it if you can afford it. You wouldn’t earn money without tax funded infrastructure and services so the least you can do is contribute.
            Volunteering is good but it doesn’t put food on the table either.

  5. The Liberals with Martin as Finance Minister misappropriated $54 billion dollars from the EI fund, stole from the pensions of the military, public service and the RCMP, drastically cut back transfers to the provinces for health, education and social services, hardly a stellar record.

    Not to mention all of the Liberal graft and corruption.

    What about the $162 million taxpayer dollars Paul Martins CSL received via taxpayers wallets and purses while he was Finance Minister

    No wonder Gomery said of the Liberal Party, they are criminally organized

    • None of that is true. Sorry.

      • Okay, now you’ve done it; I’m forced to defend Billy Bob who is correct, albeit in inflammatory language, that Martin-Chretien presided over a policy to cut EI payments by 2%, tighten eligibility and then use the quite predictable EI surplus to pay down the deficit. Unilateral federal transfer payment cuts initiated by Martin-Chretien downloaded the fiscal problem to provinces which responded with their own cuts, including hospital bed closures and healthcare position deletions, and other service cuts including the famous Rae Days in Ontario and the lesser known Filmon Fridays in Manitoba.

        Talk of Gomery and CSL are just the usual noise, but the facts are that Martin’s policies hurt some people a lot more than others, even if they did eventually benefit the economy. Pretending he was a fiscal saint beyond reproach is simplistic.

        • LOL all that led to Rae Days did it?

          To balance a budget you have to earn more and spend less….it’s as simple as that.

          Pretending it’ll all be painless is fantasy.

          The complaints here are as much noise as the Gomery talk.

          • When discussing an article ostensibly about “fact checking” LOL is a pretty slack response. Are you interested in using facts or just reflexively disagreeing with your enemies?

          • Facts on here turn out to be merely partisan opinion….so generally I laugh at them.

          • while we laugh at you.

          • There is no ‘we’ m’dear….just a bunch of ignorant Con shills without sources.

          • ‘a bunch’ is more than one, so the ‘we’ label does indeed apply.

          • I repeat….’a bunch of ignorant Con shills without sources’

        • Not to mention that the GST which gave Chretien added revenues to work with was enacted by Brian Mulroney, and Chretien had campaigned on killing the GST. Also a LARGE part of the reason the private sector economy did so well during Chretien’s tenure was because of NAFTA, again brought in by Mulroney, again Chretien campaigned on killing it.

          The facts, when viewed objectively, really indicate that federal finances in the 90s were influenced far more by Mulroney than by Chretien or Martin. Though the Liberals do deserve credit for making the necessary, but harsh cuts that they did.

        • CSL and Gomery are facts, not noise.

    • Hi BB

      That whole thing with the EI fund was a bit of a technicality. The SCC decision held that Harper could either return that money to taxpayers, or he could rectify the technicality by passing the necessary regulations to legitimize it. Do you happen to know what he did?

      • The Liberals left no money to return,

        The SCC was still stacked with a majority of Liberal judges.

        You call theft by the Liberals a technicality?

        • Actually, the liberals left a huge surplus.

          Your excuse for Harper not returning the money is that the SCC is stacked with liberal judges? The same judges who found the liberals “misappropriated” the money in the first place?

          Never mind. It is obvious you are not interested in facts. I think we are done. No point in wasting my time trying to reason with someone who is unreasonable.

  6. I’d be much more inclined to believe the neo-cons’ oft-repeated nostrum about cutting taxes to create jobs if they’d occasionally produce some persuasive evidence that one really does result in the other. Despite repeated tax cuts since Stevie crowned himself King of the Realm, the evidence suggests, instead, that corporate employers hoard the resulting savings (“dead” money) or distribute it to shareholders in the form of dividends, and to themselves, in the form of executive bonuses and fabulous raises.

    • Obviously raising taxes is a far better way to create jobs. The less money companies and people have to invest will surely magically result in job creation.

      Canada’s job creation record sine the recession has been quite good. How about you provide some evidence that there would have been more jobs created without the tax cats?

      • Once again, Ricky distorts another’s point in order to “rebut” it. I didn’t say raising tax creates jobs (although I might suggest that certain dedicated taxes create jobs, e.g., in infrastructure renewal).

        And since it’s the neo-cons’ chronic, habitual, mantra-like claim that they’re creating jobs by cutting taxes, it’s incumbent on them to marshal up the evidence to support that claim.

        And, given that certain sectors of the economy have been decimated despite repeated tax cuts (most notably manufacturing in Ontario, including corporations who’d been the recipients of sweetheart deals from the Harper Cons), they can produce no such evidence.

        The “cutting taxes to create jobs” is an elaborate Con shibboleth, an article of faith, utterly unprovable.

        • Taxes have gone down, jobs have been created. That’s all the proof you need. Show me that more jobs would have been created if there’d been less money in the economy because of higher taxes. But of course you can’t.

          • That’s a co-relation, not cause and effect, and it’s a co-relation that can’t always, if ever, be substantiated with conclusive evidence. But thanks. You’ve confirmed my comment that the equation is an article of faith among neo-cons, unsupported by credible evidence.

            Give us the one about trickle-down economics while you’re at it.

          • Yes, it’s correlation, not causation. But that’s because it’s impossible to prove otherwise, like many things in economics. You can’t show me a single period in time when taxes have been going up and job creation has increased.

            If you think taxes are so swell and will create jobs, why don’t you start sending an extra check to the CRA, like say half of your take-home pay?

          • You can’t show me a single period in time when taxes have been going up and job creation has increased.

            Even if we presume that this is true, would you also claim that no one will be able to find any examples where taxes went down while job creation decreased?

          • You can’t show me a single period in time when taxes have been going up and job creation has increased.

            I’ll try to find some stats, and I realize that this can easily be argued to be an anomaly, but I’m pretty sure that this was actually the case for large portions of the twentieth century between the late teens and the early 50s.

          • Between the late teens and early 50′s????? You mean that time during which we went through the GREAT DEPRESSION, and only got out of that depression because of the 1st World War?!?! Yea, that’d be a sunny future for us, wouldn’t it?

          • As I said, an anomaly to be sure, but you didn’t say that taxes going up while unemployment goes down would be an anomaly, you said that it couldn’t be shown to have happened. Ever.

          • Clearly you don’t understand the concept of hyperbole.

          • I understand hyperbole, I just don’t happen to think that hyperbole is an effective rhetorical strategy to employ when arguing that your economic argument must be taken on faith because it can’t be proven (also, btw, I think it likely CAN be proven, or if not proven, at least argued with evidence beyond simple correlation).

            This is actually, legitimately, me offering constructive criticism. I’m really not just trying to be a smart a55. There’s most certainly merit to the argument that lower taxes can spur job creation. However, hyperbolically claiming that no one can point to any examples of the opposite correlation being found (when they can) while simultaneously stating that “it’s impossible to prove otherwise, like many things in economics” does real damage to your argument.

            If you believe that the leap from correlation to causation can’t be proven in this instance, then falsely claiming that the opposite correlation has never occurred is a bad move rhetorically.

          • I think I have worked out why you are such a fool.

            “You mean that time during which we went through the GREAT DEPRESSION, and only got out of that depression because of the 1st World War?!?”

            The great depression was in the 30s. The 1st World War was from 1914-1918. How did WW1 get us out of the depression?

          • How did WW1 get us out of the depression?

            I can’t prove it, but I know the answer.

            LOWER TAXES.

          • Sorry, WW2. Your pointing out a typo on part doesn’t do anything to lessen my point. But I bet you’re feeling pretty smug anyway, you should be a 3rd grade teacher. You’d feel really great about yourself pointing out to a bunch of 10 year-old’s how brilliant you are.

          • So it was a typo, it’s an unusual typo because you actually typed the whole thing rather than WW2, so that was why I wondered..
            And then you get all defensive and try and cast aspersions. I’d rather be the grade 3 teacher than the 10 year old having a tantrum. You could have made a self deprecating remark and forgot about it, but nope, your iddy widdy ego was dented. poor ole wicky.

          • Let’s just declare this a standoff based on mutually exclusive beliefs.

          • This arguably IS an argument about trickle down economics. If you lower taxes, the job creators will spend their extra money creating jobs.

            (ETA, the above was meant to be sarcastic.)

          • Thank you. Neuroticdog seems to think that the money is handed over to 5 corporate executives and shareholders who proceed to cash those checks and hide the money under their bed ensuring that they get the least possible return on their earnings, all in an effort to stick it to the little guy.

          • Sorry, I didn’t actually think I needed to use sarcasm tags when discussing voodoo economics, but I was being sarcastic.

            I guess it was clearer in my head since I always hear “job creators” in a Texas accent.

          • My bad. I thought you had suddenly become economically literate. Won’t happen again.

          • Since when is believing in trickle-down economics an indication of economic literacy? Can you point to a single legitimate economist that believes in this notion?

          • I know. It’s all part of the same tissue of lies. “Trickle down economics” in brief: “I’m helping myself to way more than my share for the sake of all you mere mortals beneath me who’ll eventually (trust me) get the crumbs that fall from my groaning board. This I do for you.”

          • Taxes have gone down, jobs have been created. That’s all the proof you need.

            Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.

            Homer: Oh, how does it work?

            Lisa: It doesn’t work.

            Homer: Uh-huh.

            Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.

            Homer: Uh-huh.

            Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?

            [Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]

            Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

          • So I take it you also think higher taxes help job creation?

          • No, I don’t. My point was simply that “X happened, and Y happened” shouldn’t be considered “all the proof one needs” of anything. It’s axiomatically not proof at all.

            I didn’t mean to argue that there’s no causation here, just that you haven’t yet provided any evidence of causation.

            I had coffee this morning, the world didn’t explode. It’s a perfectly true statement, but it should hardly be considered “all the proof you need” that my ingestion of coffee saved the planet from destruction.

          • So you’re just being a $hit to defend bad Liberal economic policy, even though you KNOW the policy is wrong headed? Good to know.

          • No, I’m saying that “Have faith, it’s true as long as we believe it, even if we can’t prove it” is not a good argument in favour of conservative economic policy.

            To be clear, I’m not saying that there’s not a good argument for you to make in defence of your proposition. I’m merely pointing out that you’re not making it.

          • Just to keep us all on the safe side, you better keep on chugging those double doubles.

            Thanking you in advance,

            The world.

          • OMG, what if it wasn’t the coffee, but the cream!!!

            Mind blown.

          • Could’ve been the sugar. Or the number of times it was stirred.

            JUST DON’T CHANGE A THING!

            THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE.

          • If you repeat a lie enough times it becomes the truth.

        • Manufacturers are leaving Ontario because this province has become hostile to businesses with high energy requirements; mainly, manufacturers. When people (all people) are forced to pay the rates required with McGinty’s Green energy act, they have less money for other things. For people, they have less money to spend in the economy, and for businesses, they have less money for everything else.
          Cutting taxes does create jobs, as it simply allows people to keep more of their money. given that the majority of money people have in their pocket is NOT used for savings, then it only stands to reason that this money is SPENT. Spending money, mean people are buying things. Things that someone has to build for sale, or services people want to sell.
          Pretty basic stuff…..don’t know why you have such a hard time understanding it. YOu must be an NDP supporter.

    • One of the largest investors in Canada is the CPP Investment Board, with about $200-billion invested in (mostly) Canadian companies. Those dividends you complain about are helping to fund your retirement.

      • CPP is “helping me to fund my retirement” to a very small degree. Are you planning for it to be your prime source of income?

        • No. I have been fortunate to be successfully self-employed for close to 20 years, and hopefully for 30 more. BTW, I pay both the employEE portion and the employER portion of the CPP, ie, twice as much as the ordinary Canadian. But I’m lucky that is offset by not having to pay EI “premiums” since I’m ineligible to collect.

        • Ok…you got yourself covered.
          What about folks who DO depend on CPP?

          • What about them?

          • that’s what I thought.

          • I confirmed your preconceived notion about something or other just by asking for clarification?

          • Someone care to explain it to him?

          • Now you’re asking for help to clarify one of your own comments? You really are a piece of work, my friend.

    • A civilized society needs to have a tax base to produce the revenue required for the Government (of whatever political stripe) to pay for programs and operations.
      The problem is finding the happy medium…and that’s the main difference between Canadian Parties.
      Taxes too low……we don’t get what we need.
      Taxes too high……it kills jobs, and acts as a disincentive for investors.

      This is why Mulcair is fond of pointing out that when in power provincially, the NDP has been able to balance budgets (sometimes)…..Not hard to do, when you simply take money from people whether they can afford it or not.
      That’s why the only two real options for Canadians who understand basic economics are the LIberals or Conservatives. Do you want to vote NDP and know that billions of dollars will be wasted on social engineering programs, or vote Liberal knowing that the chances are that millions will be stolen.
      I’ll stick with the Conservatives….they know what the happy medium is….but I am still ticked with stupid crap like Action plan ads….or light bulb bans. Silly.

      As for the comment about dividends, etc….don’t forget, anyone with Mutual funds, RRSP’s, etc……is a beneficiary when companies do well. And they are not all rich folks who benefit. Raise taxes too high….and average people on fixed incomes suffer…and they suffer far more than the rich.

      • One only needs to look to Manitoba to see the fiscal disaster an NDP government would be. Massive annual tax hikes yet still have a growing deficit, and services are getting worse. Nobody can even figure out where the hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue the government’s collected in recent years have gone. It’s literally a black hole.

        • Yep…..
          compare Sask to Manitoba….
          When they were both NDP…they both sucked. Now that Sask has Brad Wall ( Conservative)…..only Manitoba sucks.

          • The only difference between SK and MB governance right now is perception, and it is based on nothing but the Sask Party’s ostensible brand as a “conservative” government (they mirror the NDP far more than they, or their supporters will ever admit).

            BW’s team has been running a structural deficit for years now, and is the first government in SK’s history to receive an adverse audit on its books. This after inheriting a boom, initated in part by the Calvert government’s reduction of resource royalties.

            As for the “suck” during the NDP years, I offer up three words: Grant Devine aftermath*. Roy Romanow, NDPer notwithstanding, governed from a classic Tory stance, and brought Sask back onto stable economic footing, after it was pillaged by a government that was literally kleptocratic. MLAs served time.

            For the record, I refuse to vote for either the NDP or the SK Party, which leaves me with no practical ballot options.

            *(Throw an ‘s after Grant and you’ve got a band name).

          • You’ve been smoking crack with Rob Ford if you think there any similarities at all between Manitoba and Saskatchewan anymore.

            Manitoba is literally on the brink of declaring bankruptcy. When you hike taxes by over a billion dollars over 5 years, and your deficits continue to grow, there are few other options. Businesses are already leaving Manitoba in droves, for Saskatchewan, because of the NDP’s complete incompetence.

            But at least Greg Selinger will have bought himself a cushy job in retirement. Too bad it only cost Manitobans a billion f(*@#$ing dollars.

          • What would I know? I just live, work and run a company between both provinces, and have done so for the past five years.

            I also notice you took great care to avoid the inconvenient fact of Brad Wall’s (poorly) hidden deficits, and the resulting adverse audit.

            But, by all means, continue with your Manichean worldview. It really builds your credibility, along with your “literal” black holes.

      • Harp, regarding CPP, said: “…most Canadians put aside enough for retirement
        and those who don’t are “a group of people who have reasonably affluent
        lifestyles but just don’t save.”

        The CONS are definitely NOT the happy medium.

      • So you get that that “stupid crap” Action plan ads was really the Conservative government taking taxpayer money to advertise the Conservative government, right? Same as those stupid 24/7 videos.

        In other words, the Harper government is commandeering tax dollars to advertise the conservative party. Or, to use your words, “stealing” tax dollars for “stupid crap”.

    • If you are looking for evidence, you must be a left-winger. Conservatives don’t need evidence to know that they’re right.

      • Yes, Liberals are always looking for evidence, because they’ve never had any evidence to back up their whacky economic theories. I mean, you’re responding to someone who thinks that higher taxes will create jobs.

        • I worked in Norway for a while.
          They seem to have no problems creating jobs and having huge taxes and also no debt.
          How does that fit in with your Reaganomics paradigm then Tricky?

  7. I love the Con frenzy on here…..LOL

    Folks, the Libs have been in for 3 terms already ….which is already past the usual 2 toss-out point!

    You shouldn’t have to try so hard…it ought to be easy going. Yet here you are name-calling and tossing wild charges around and foaming at the mouth. LOL

    Btw…When Ont goes Con, Ottawa usually goes Lib.

    • If you had to choose… Kathleen or Justin?

      • Well it’s two different levels, so the choice is really Kathleen/Hudak …..and Justin/Harper

        But if you’re asking about the parties at both levels….I’d go for Kathleen and Ontario.

        Isn’t likely to happen though, as Libs have been in for 3 terms now.

        So has Harper.

        So in spite of Hudak….it’ll likely be a Lib Ottawa

    • You shouldn’t have to try so hard…it ought to be easy going. Yet here you are name-calling and tossing wild charges around and foaming at the mouth.

      Two words: Tim Hudak

      • Yup, they picked another winner in Hudak. If there’s any wrong side to a question he finds it.

  8. There’s no such thing as a payroll tax. The amount of CPP, EI, pensions and benefits covered by an employer are all part of the wages paid to an employee.

    • No they’re not. I can’t go invest my CPP, EI, pensions or benefits in a business if I wanted to. Many, many people pay into EI their entire lives and never make a claim. How is part of somone’s wages if they never get to see or spend the money?

      • You do get to see the money and you see what it is spent on..
        A pension is paid eventually, unless the bosses steal it to pay for their bonuses. A stable society with a safety net is constructed thereby allowing all of us to live in a place where if we find ourselves in dire straights we won’t starve.
        Insurance is not nothing and the peace of mind it brings is invaluable.

        • So, I don’t get to see what the money’s spent on, and I get no say on what it’s spent on…. and as for a pension, I never get to see that at all if I die early.

          That doesn’t sound like a wage or a salary at all. Why don’t you ask your employer to submit 100% of your earnings to the CRA on your behalf if you think it’s still a wage?

          • Yes you do get to see what it is spent on as I illustrated above and you get as much say as I do on whether we get F35s or a plane that actually flies. You elect your representative to represent you. It’s part of living in a democracy.
            So why do you invest for your retirement at all then?

          • So you think CPP and EI go to buying F-35′s? You clearly dont’ know what you’re talking about.

            Which is exactly why I don’t want people like you having any say in how my “wages” are spent. Get a clue.

          • As one of your cohorts pointed out, our CPP contributions are invested, so why shouldn’t they be invested in Lockheed Martin etc.
            And as you and your Martin abusing friends pointed out EI was stolen by the Lib to pay down our debt, so yes I can say that and use your own words to back it up.
            PS I used the F35 example as an illustration of where taxation gets spent and I have no say over it. But being the disingenuous soul you are you interpreted it to suit. Next typo I’ll remember that.

    • Ok, robbie….
      Try this.
      Hit your thumb with a hammer a few times….
      Now hit your thumb with the back of an axe a few times…..
      Can you tell the difference?
      Any money someone takes from you…to give to someone else, is still money you don’t have to spend as you see fit. It doesn’t matter if a mugger steals the $100 from your wallet….or Kathleen Wynne. it’s still gone.
      But at least you know the money the mugger has stolen will probably be spent more wisely.

    • Golly gee, I must redo all my payroll remittances then. The CPP is half paid by the employer, and EI the employer pays more than the employee. It is not part of the wages, it is on top of the wages.

    • With statements like this one from McLelland no wonder one resorts to sarcasm.

      If ever you are having trouble understanding the twisted logic of the Canadian socialist just remember this blurp from him.

      In their fantasy world socialists do not see increased payroll taxes as a smothering cost of doing business. They honestly still believe that independent business can simply increase the selling price of their products to an infinite amount to offset increased taxes.. Tell that to all the unemployed factory workers shopping for goods from China at Walmart.

      The NDP should employ McClelland a$$ picture as their new motto.

  9. CPP/EI are employment taxes pure and simple.

    Ever do a ROI in CPP? EI is zero unless you collect and I would bet less than 5% get back more than they paid in when you include the employers part.

    While I thank organized labour for pensions, the implementation is very bad as pooled plans are pooled scams. Nortel bankruptcies and taxpayer bailouts of Air Canada, gov unions, 10.4% MP rate guarantees….all just corruption and pigs ripping off taxpayers….

    You want all your pension in a TFA, RRSP, LIRA in YOUR name/account/control where the rules don’t change after they get your money. No 11% inflation and 1% raises as even novice investors can get inflation returns in a 10 year period where as government managing it yields LESS that REAL inflation.

    So much fraud on CPP and other pooled plan scams you could write a book.

    And the reason people are unemployed is simple. People don’t have enough money left after all taxes and sppending in tax inflated products to spend on other peoples jobs. Reason domestic baby popution growth in negative is because people are too busy paying real and hidden taxes as well a tax inflated costs to support governemtn kids wasting it.

    Want jobs? Lower taxes. As taxing 50,000 people $1 each, to buy a job just means 50,000 people collectively spend $50,000 less on someone else’s jobs. +1 – 1 = 0 jobs created. Its an illusion that government can create jobs, it can only inefficiently reallocate jobs and lower the standard of living in the process.

    • Every time you spout this crap I’m going to point out how you’re an idiot for it, dave777, so you really should go learn about economies of scale which might enable you to come up with a better example.

      Once again, if you tax 50,000 people $1 each, then those people get to buy one less chocolate bar than they might have otherwise.. over the course of the entire year. Not even the chocolate bar companies are going to notice this deviation.

      Meanwhile, that 50k now goes to pay someone’s wages, gets them off of social services, and may even allow them to leverage those wages to make larger purchases like an automobile or a home, something that can really make a difference to our economy, and, again, that’s without even considering the productive value of what they may contribute to society — which in a public service job may be something such as aiding domestic businesses navigate international rules and regulations.. something that can easily cause *those* businesses to see increased profits as well.

    • I have paid for insurance on my house for over 20 years, I have never had a claim, does this mean I shouldn’t bother with insurance?

  10. Martin will give her very expensive consulting advice. “Spend less”.

    • Waste less would be much more accurate.

      • Naw, it’s Paul Martin. He’d probably just tell her to waste more efficiently, not necessarily less. You know, get more waste for your buck sorta thing that Liberals would call “sound economic policy”.

  11. How about we tax all Public Service Pensions so they supplement all retirees to an acceptable minimal income? Let’s say $40,000 by todays standard. So all PS Union DB pension income gets taxed at 90% for all income above $40,000 and that tax revenue funds all other retired individuals until their income reaches $40,000.

    This should balance the years of inequitable Salary&Benefits the the private sector has put into the DB benefits for Police, Fire, Education (at all levels), politicians, EMS, Health Care workers etc.

    Taxes are taken at source so those living out of country don’t avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

    We know it won’t happen because politicians won’t include themselves in that formula, and politicians continue to be controlled by PS Union interests.

    When will people stand up and take a stance?!

    ‘I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take it anymore!’

    • Unfortunately, doing that would be illegal, as the Public Service sector has a contract with the Government. I don’t think it would stand up in court, regardless of how popular it may prove to be. Also, there would be the matter of unfairness, as some people who have never paid into the “system” would be getting a larger benefit from it.
      Only thing we can do (and what the Government has started to do already) is lower the expecattions for future Public Service workers. This way, they can either agree to the terms provided….or find another job somewhere else.

      • James, you are correct. As it stands now it would be illegal, however many would believe the contracts should not have been legal in the first place. The next generation will be paying (unfairly) for the boomers for decades to come. I don’t expect my children will live or work in Ontario and maybe not even Canada.

        • And that is also why we are stuck with the Green Energy Act…..McGinty, and his libs, adn now Wynne…..locked us in pretty good there. Of course, breaking a contract for gas plants is ok, if the penalty is only a Billion dollars….but you save 4 liberal seats.
          Oi vey.

      • That’s not the only thing that can be done. When the masses have finally been bled dry by fat cat public servants, democracy will come back to bite them in the a$$. I know it’s a leftist idea to talk about revolution, but there will come a time when the public realizes that they’ve been working harder, for less money, and a less secure retirement only to subsidize a lazy and greedy upper-middle class segment of society that works for the government. When that happens, who knows how the public will react.

        Laws can be rewritten.

        • The ‘greedy upper-middle class segment of society that works for the government” . Would that include the people who run the offices that provide services to you and me, the nurses, healthcareworkers, firefighters, cops, military, teachers, the list is endless. ps all these people pay taxes too.

  12. What are you going to do as a society if people are retired but do not have enough money to live and are too old to work? I am not talking about living the life of excess, but just surviving. Do we want our elders eating cat food?

    • It IS going to happen. When it does, the money will leave Canada fast and furious.
      See France.

      • Why? How much extra are they asking companies and people to pay? They have people calculating this kind of thing and when they realize there is a shortfall you increase the funding either by industry or the taxpayer or you extend the limit before you can collect. The shortfall has been identified now it is up to the various governments to decide how to make it up.
        As a country you run into problems by not addressing these shortfalls in a timely manner. If you wait for a bunch of years then the problem intensifies. We have all been sold on the idea of invest early. The same can be said of the CPP.
        It is what responsible governments do.

        • I’m afraid it has been a long line of “responsible” governments that have gotten us into this mess.
          Remember, politicians only think in terms of election cycles…..and the only retirement they are concerned with is their own.

          AT least Harper is trying to correct this, but even then……it will take a while.

        • Except that there is no pension shortfall. The CPP is completely solvent and funded.

          The only “problem” is that Ontario seems to have a surplus of people retiring without having saved any money. Not because it wasn’t possible, but because they decided they wanted to spend it all on giant SUVs, big screen TVs and twice-a-year vacations.

    • That’s what OAS and CPP are for. It’s not like this is some new problem that Kathleen Wynne is tackling on her own.

      • wynne has other plans for the money this would raise. Does anyone actually think that Wynne and her Libs will keep all of this pension money only for pensions?
        Fat chance….she’s just looking for money to satisfy her social engineering needs.

        • Yup. Your pension payouts will come in the form of gift cards for Liberal preferred retailers, and you’ll get a 20% gift card bonus if you live in a riding that voted Liberal.

  13. The cognitive dissonance in this thread is off the charts.

    • What could you possibly mean? The fact that we know the Liberals have wasted billions of dollars, raised electricity rates through the roof, turned the education system into a laughing stock and buy off voters with gift cards isn’t enough evidence for you defend them and want to see them re-elected?

      • I’m not in Ontario anymore. I haven’t been since 1995, and only then for two years. So, whether or not the Liberals are re-elected there means little to nothing, to me.

  14. “But, but, but Martin used the EI to balance the budget!!!”

    Meanwhile, in Harperland…
    “Since 2008, employees’EI premiums have risen from $1.73 per $100 of insurable earnings to $1.88. This means anyone making $47,400 or more in 2013 paid $891 in EI to Ottawa, compared to $711 five years previously, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Coupled with matching EI funds from employers, these premiums provide a hefty inflow of revenues to the federal treasury—enough to more than cover current pay-outs to laid-off Canadians receiving EI benefits. In all, between
    2013 and 2016, the federal government will amass a $13.8-billion surplus
    in its EI transactions.

    This extra cash comes in handy for the Conservatives, who are trying to eliminate an overall $17.9-billion budget deficit. Aided in part by EI surplus funds,
    Flaherty plans to wipe out his overall budget deficit in 2015 and
    replace it with a $3.7-billion surplus that year.”

    • Ya, but it is different when Harper does it.

      Just cuz…

  15. “…On the other hand, CPP benefits in retirement are a reliable prospect for many millions of working Canadians…”

    Is anybody on a sober mind-refreshing scale here ?
    What “decade” and/or century are you talking about n?.

    As far as “pensions,…,” go, Canada has slipped to the bottom 20th of the rest of the so-called “Developed” Nations.
    I mean, hello ?
    wow -what a bunch of CONS liars.

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