So is that a no?


I’ve noted Bob Rae’s persistence in this regard before, but here, from yesterday’s QP, is the interim Liberal leader asking the Prime Minister again about tax relief.

Rae: Mr. Speaker, the small business federation has been clear about the fact that taxes on employment kill jobs. I have a simple question for the Prime Minister: in light of the current difficult economic situation in Europe and in the United States—we are seeing signs of a recession—why not freeze taxes on employment now and ensure that people are not contributing to killing jobs in Canada?

Harper: Mr. Speaker, I am surprised by this question from the leader of the Liberal Party because that party voted against tax cuts for small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada. This government has a clear objective: to keep taxes low. Obviously, it is an essential aspect of our plan for the Canadian economy, a plan that continues to create jobs.

Rae: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has an opportunity to do something very direct and very simple. I asked a question the other day for which he did not give a direct answer. The tax credits in the budget currently being discussed in committee are not refundable. Some people do not pay taxes because they are too poor. Why not make the tax credits refundable, for example, those for caregivers and volunteer firefighters? These are good examples of what could be done for the least fortunate in—

Harper: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is trying to justify his opposition to tax cuts for the Canadian economy. In the bill before Parliament there are significant tax cuts for SMEs, for families and for individuals. I encourage the leader of the Liberal Party to do the right thing and support these tax cuts.


So is that a no?

  1. @Crit_Reasoning:disqus Again, I ask, kindly tell me how any opposition could be expected to hold this government to account? 

    • The Liberals support the Conservative tax credits for certain categories, like volunteer firefighters. They just want to amend the plan to make the tax-credits non-refundable, so that those who don’t pay taxes would be guaranteed a cheque in the mail from CRA.

      So Bob Rae is essentially asking the PM:  Why won’t you take your worthy initiatives one step further and adopt the even more generous Liberal plan?  To which the PM is essentially replying: “Buzz off”.  Which is too bad – it would be nice if the PM launched into a technical explanation about the purpose of tax credits and the reasons why most tax credits are nonrefundable, and the inevitable tradeoffs that need to be made.

       But if you think a PM non-answer during QP proves that it’s impossible for an opposition to hold the government to account, the logical consequence of your reasoning is that no government in Canadian history has ever been held to account, because this sort of exchange is really, really, common.

      • Actually, I was speaking more to the first question. That’s pretty much as straight forward as you’re going to get, and this government STILL isn’t answering.

        And no, it’s not a single PM non-answer.. it’s that there’s never an actual PM answer.

        And the sad part is, all your assumptions about what the PM is saying are exactly that, because he refuses to actually answer the question, so you’re just filling in the blanks as suits you. And yet when folks like me do the same thing.. fill in the blanks he leaves with what makes sense to us, you accuse us of just engaging in partisan thinking.

        And what’s sad is that all of this could be fixed if he just bothered to actually answer the question being asked. “Yes” or “No” are two very simple words. It’d be nice if they were used on occasion.

        • The first question is still: “Why isn’t the government following the Liberal plan?”  The Liberals campaigned on so-called “employment taxes” in the last election, but they and their policies were overwhelmingly rejected by the voters.  The Conservatives made no promise to cut or freeze “employment taxes”, and they were awarded a strong majority. In QP, the questions usually involve as much grandstanding as the answers.

          Some of the PM’s answers are excellent. Some are bad, or simply not answers at all.  The same could be said for any PM.

          If you read what I wrote, the only assumption I made about what the PM is saying is “Buzz off”.  When I said “it would be nice if” I was referring to how I would try to answer the question if I was in Harper’s shoes.

          I’d love to hear more “yes” and “no” answers, and less grandstanding in general.  All parties should tone it down a notch or two.

          • You’re almost as bad as he is. Try reading. The first question is: ” in light of the current difficult economic situation in Europe and in the United States—we are seeing signs of a recession—why not freeze taxes on employment now and ensure that people are not contributing to killing jobs in Canada?”

            Unless you’re suggesting that who comes up with an idea is more important than the idea itself, at which point you should probably change your moniker to “Blind partisan”

            And while Mr. Fortier is in existance, don’t give me any of that crap about them just listening to the mandate they received from the vote.

          • Settle down, Thwim. Haven’t you figured out by now that politicians always preface stuff with over the top rhetoric?  “In light of the looming economic armageddon, the government must save jobs by doing A and B and C!!!!”  

            (Of course, quite often, A and B and C  have only a tenuous connection to “not killing jobs”.)

            I have no idea whether Bob Rae’s suggestion has any merit. A lot of other economic suggestions put forward by Liberals recently have been met with exasperation and ridicule by economists, such as Scott Brison’s half-baked BoC proposal the other day.

            Bottom line, I don’t really care where the idea comes from.  If the Liberals really think it has merit, then the onus is on them to make a good case for it.  The PM’s job in QP is to defend and explain his government’s plans and actions, not to shoot down proposals from increasingly marginal third parties.

          • Weren’t you among those nodding your head along with the government when they were saying that if the opposition didn’t like what the government was doing, they should make proposals? Now here they are making a proposal and you’re arguing the government shouldn’t have to give it any consideration.

            At any point, even if we ignore that, the PM didn’t even do what you say his job is. There was no explanation about his plan, there was no defending it. There was just attacking the other parties for not supporting it.

            Personally, however, I’d argue that the job of the PM, in question period, is to, oh, I don’t know.. answer the questions posed, maybe? You seem to be arguing that it should be a publicity event for the gov’t.

          • @Crit_Reasoning:disqus 
            But Harper refuses to explain how he squares his constant assertion that taxes should never be raised, especially in such a fragile economy, and yet is raising payroll taxes. He’s a self-described economist for God’s sake, he must have an explanation for this  contradiction. 

      • What is the logic of a tax credit for childrens activities that doesn’t benefit those most in need? 

        • I don’t know. Maybe it’s an incentive for physical fitness, with the goal of improving health and lowering childhood obesity rates.

          • You’ve missed the point.  Why would you design it so the poor don’t get any benefit?  As is stands, it looks like a crass vote getter and reminds us of the commercal -‘you should have read the fine print’.

          • Or maybe it’s a gift to those in the middle-class, many of whom have no trouble affording these activities w/out the tax credit.  My daughter & her husband have a combined 6 figure income – they don’t need the tax credit to be able to afford the activities my granddaughter takes part in.  If the goal really is improving health and lowering obesity rates, it would be targeted at ALL families – not just the middle-class.

  2. Oh, that is most definitely a No – on both accounts.

    Harper is clearly interested only in his tax cuts, for his kind of Canadians.

  3. Let’s be clear how this works, at least for Harper. If you do your job and oppose his govt you’re against the best interests of the country and only in it for yourself and special interests. If you attempt to offer constructive criticism or helpful advise you’re in it for yourself and special interest. In Mr H’s mind there can be only one person or party who’s in it for Canada all the time – yes you’ve guessed, him! Lord knows what would happen if you simply agreed with and supported him in every instance – you’d likely be accused of only being in it for yourself and neglecting to represent the people who sent you to Ottawa.

     You’re only option it would seem is to either support Mr H and the govt or defeat him at the ballot box. If Rae were to get up and declare himself unsatisfied that the f35 purchase was large enough or big enough or too far out to defend our vunerable country, Harper would accuse him of being a reckless warmongerer who is only in it for himself and special interests.

  4. Q:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government a very simple question.  Is it in favour of YES or is it in favour of NO?

    A:  Mr. Speaker, clearly my colleague from across the way is confused.  Last month he voted in favour of YES when it was contained in a motion.  But then last week when it was contained in a Bill he voted in favour of NO.  Which one is it Mr. Speaker?

    Q:  The Minister is being evasive because he clearly has something to hide.  Canadian taxpayers however have a right to know if their government is on the side of YES or on the side of NO.  Which one is it?

    A:  Although the Member seems to have developed some kind of self induced amnesia about his recent voting habits, I can assure him that the Canadian people aren’t so easily fooled.  They will always remember that when it came time to vote he and his colleagues could not make up their minds on if they were in favour of YES or in favour of NO!

    • YES!

      I mean, NO.

      • You’re eyes say yes, but your lips say no.  Have you thought of running for office?

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