The Commons: Stephen Harper would rather not focus on the details -

The Commons: Stephen Harper would rather not focus on the details

The Commons: Read Ted Menzies’ lips


Megan Leslie stood to plead confusion. Within the budget, she said, were tax increases. But the Prime Minister, she recalled, had promised not to raise taxes. So why, she wondered aloud, had the Prime Minister allowed the Finance Minister to contradict him?

“Mr. Speaker,” declared the Prime Minister, “it is quite the opposite.”

Mr. Harper did not then explain how so. Instead, he alleged a number of tax increases that the NDP was apparently proposing.

Ms. Leslie tried again. “Why,” she wondered, “did the Prime Minister not keep his promise?”

The Prime Minister again insisted on talking about the NDP. “Mr. Speaker,” he said, “I know very well that the NDP favors higher taxes and taxes to finance larger deficits and higher expenses.”

Ms. Leslie was unimpressed. “Mr. Speaker, I understand why the government’s backbench is frustrated,” she responded. “Answers like that have been frustrating me for quite some time.”

The New Democrats laughed.

This is, most immediately, Ted Menzies’ fault. It was the minister of state for finance who yesterday pronounced that there were no tax increases to be found in last week’s budget. More specifically, he said “no one would find” tax increases in this budget. As a wager, this was a poor one. As a challenge, it had the unfortunate quality of having already been met—Mr. Menzies making it in response to a question about tax increases that had been found in the budget.

“The truth here is clearly spelled out in black and white on pages 331 and 332,” Ms. Leslie explained. “This is not a make-believe tax, unlike the kind that the Conservatives love to accuse us of; these are billions in actual new taxes that will impact real people.”

Ms. Leslie raised her eyebrows. “With all these half truths,” she wondered, “can the Prime Minister not understand why Canadians are angry and his backbench is frustrated?”

Of course, one cannot, or should not, blame Mr. Menzies for trying. Given his government’s adamant opposition to taxation, he likely felt compelled to at least attempt to keep up appearances. If anything, he was only denying explicitly what the government otherwise now denies implicitly. His mistake, you see, was merely acknowledging the complaint registered.

“Mr. Speaker, we will have a vote on the budget tonight, a budget that has been very well-received by Canadians,” Mr. Harper more expertly replied this afternoon. “I know we will have very strong support on this side of the House. I hope members on that side of the House will finally give up these attempts to convince people they would somehow be better off with higher taxes, somehow be better off at raising tax rates on employers, somehow better off by hiking the GST back up to 7%, somehow better off by making a carbon tax at $20 billion. The OECD and others have recognized that Canada is on the right track balancing our budget, keeping our debt low and keeping our taxes down.”

Even if EI premiums have gone up and carbon prices were once promised.

Alas, the New Democrats were not yet done displaying their reading comprehension skills.

“After promising no new taxes, pages 331 and 332 of the budget had, in fact, a long list of tax increases. There are increases to credit unions, new taxes on safety deposit boxes and a $1.1 billion tax hike on imported consumer goods,” Peggy Nash reported to the House. “Now that the minister of state has had 24 hours to reflect on yesterday’s answers, would he now acknowledge that he was wrong and admit that the budget included new tax hikes?”

Over then, again, to Mr. Menzies.

“Mr. Speaker,” he said, “I congratulate the honourable member for getting up to page 331 of the budget.”

Perhaps this was meant to mock Ms. Nash, but perhaps Mr. Menzies was genuinely impressed, having not yet gotten that far himself.

“What I would like to say is that the fact is, and let us let the facts answer this question, since 2006, we have actually eliminated 1,900 different tariffs,” Mr. Menzies now boasted. “What has that accomplished? That has provided $525 million in tax relief every year since then.”

And that, apparently, was just a bit too much relief.

“That is what we do with taxes. We lower them,” Mr. Menzies explained, now apparently championing cognitive dissonance as a governing philosophy.

Now it was Ms. Nash who was unimpressed.

“Mr. Speaker, I guess girls can cook, but they cannot read budgets,” she shot back, sticking with this week’s other theme of offence taken.

The New Democrats applauded Ms. Nash’s umbrage.

“Canadians can go and check for themselves in pages 331 and 332 of the budget. All the new Conservative taxes are laid out there,” she repeated. “Yesterday, the minister claimed that no one would find tax increases in this, yet we have found plenty of them. Let me try a specific example. Could the Minister of State for Finance acknowledge that the budget raises taxes on life insurance?”

Mr. Menzies bravely stood and bravely refused to acknowledge anything Ms. Nash had said.

“Mr. Speaker,” he said, “as part of our low tax plan, we continue to reduce taxes in every way.”

So never mind reading the budget. Just put that book away and read Ted Menzies’ lips.


The Commons: Stephen Harper would rather not focus on the details

  1. That’s an honestly reasonable point that the rise in tariffs is less than tariffs this government has ended. If those were because of trade deals they also came with lower tariffs on our exports. If you want to take the promise as being no taxes would be raised from Harper’s inauguration you could say it’s been kept and still give one thumb up on trade – although even if you double the value of the trade reductions for export value it seems they wiped out the equivalent of 1/3 of their free trade deals in one budget.

    I’m hoping some of our imports shift to the countries still on the aid tariff and create some jobs in countries needing them more than the bric type countries do.

    • This is all very fine, but it doesn’t change the basic fact: The government claims it isn’t raising taxes even as its budget contains significant tax increases.
      Sure, maybe those tax increases are justifiable, but if so it should justify them rather than lying about their existence. If the government doesn’t actually believe tax increases are always bad, then it should perhaps be admitting that tax increases are not always bad. Then we could have a sane discussion of just what taxes are a good idea and what taxes are a bad idea.
      Instead what we have is a government that for purposes of shrill ideology wants to claim that all tax increases are always bad and it’s always the other guy that does it, and so they can’t admit that actually they do increase some taxes. There is no reason to tolerate such calculated lies, intended to systematically distort public perception of reality.
      Incidentally, thinking of which tax increases are a good idea–so why are they selectively boosting taxes on credit unions? Their buddies the bankers don’t like competition?

      • PLease be specific with what you consider tax increases within this budget. Everyone can be vague. But we don`t need to be vague if we have a point to make.

      • Well, scrambling around for tax exemptions to close is probably how they found the credit union one. (assuming it was an exemption?) That could hurt them with western populist types, co-ops and credit unions are part of the landscape in Sk towns around here so I can’t see it being a political move.

        Given the way the Cons have treated taxes like Stephane Dion’s carbon tax as a totally overheated talking point, even though I have little problem with closing some credits in a tough situation and given the overall tariff cuts wouldn’t call this one a tax increase, I’m happy to see some of their rhetoric blow back on them either way.

        • Since you won`t mention the blow-back which occurred as a result of Dion`s proposal called the Green Shift, let me remind you that Ignatieff was one of the first in the Liberal Party to announce that he had never believed in the program called The Green Shift. It has been a while ago since that joke played itself out, but I remember it well, and I am sure Dion remembers it well also.

          • The green shift was ok policy regardless of what your judgement on global warming is, for the most part it would have been a sales tax replacing income taxes. However it was advertised as revenue neutral when it wasn’t, even as a campaign promise it was going to partly go to increased spending. Which is why for the most part although I continue to look for better, I still trust the Conservatives as much or more than the other parties.

          • The Green Shift was a disaster for the Liberals because Canadians rejected it and most members of the Liberal party rejected it too after Dion`s plan was solidly defeated by the voters. Ignatieff really did come out and state days after that election that he could not have supported the Green Shift. Go figure! Talk about blow back of the worst kind.

          • This is quite clever. The Green Shift was a Liberal policy from years ago, that the Liberals have since abandoned, and is hardly relevant to a discussion of the actual Official Opposition, the NDP, soundly spanking the Conservatives in question period today.
            I’ve noticed that Conservatives usually like to divert to arguments about “Oh, oh, but, the Liberals!!!” when the Liberals, lest we forget, are the third party in parliament right now.

          • Actually it was not me who brought it up to begin with. It was Rob in response to one of your postings and you never told him in reply that the Dion`s carbon tax was from years ago! Neither did you respond to Rob then that the Liberals have since abandoned. I guess when Rob brings up the Dioin carbon tax it is ok but when I bring it up later it is not ok. I get it. Thanks for explaining the double standards you employ.

        • They have plenty of boutique tax credits they could be closing. As long as they’re into that, how about the tax credits for kids’ sport lessons? Yeah, it’s nice to have kids exercising, but really, a tax loophole just for that? Cute, but it mostly helps the already comfortable who can afford to put their kids in lessons.
          But this is a conversation that can only happen once we admit that putting back some taxes is something we want to do and are doing; only then can we talk about which ones are a good idea. The Cons want to do it without admitting it so there can be no debate about the merits of different approaches and they can just increase the taxes under the radar on whoever they don’t really like. Sometimes they may happen to hit on a good idea that way, but it’s hardly a democratic process.
          The Cons are generally addicted to stealth policies about which they lie and cover up. Often this is because the policies won’t stand up to scrutiny; sometimes it just seems like it’s because they can’t handle the lack of control involved in actually discussing policy with either the opposition or the citizens of Canada.

          • It is just an opinion making process for you or anyone else to start nit picking the various tax credit apart. But you are not the government and neither do you stand as a candidate to be elected anytime soon, at least I have never heard of a candidate by the name of purplelibraryguy standing for anything trust worthy. How can people trust anyone who isn`t even prepared to voice opinions under a real name. At least Harper speaks for himself and openly so. That much cannot be said about you.

            Real and serious conversations can only really be had here on these comment boards when participants are to held responsible for their expression of opinions.

            When hiding behind an imaginary name, most anything can be stated. There is no value in any of it in the real world.

    • Shorter Rob: “Sure, black may not actually be white as the Harper Government claims, but if you look at the many many shades of grey…”

      Cognitive dissonance eh?

      • If the opposition wasn’t arguing the budget increases taxes they’d be claiming it was irresponsibly cutting spending. No problems with cognitive dissonance there – Harper is always wrong, negative, lying, dishonest, etc. I’d rather see some colour rather than as black and white as that.

        If the question is whether Harper has overall kept his commitment to no tax increases, it’s fair to say he has if the tariff jump in this budget is less than their record of trade deals. It’s nothing to be glad about since it cuts into their trade record but I think the degree to which you can call it “shades of grey” depends mostly on how much you want to be able to say Harper has broken that promise.

        • And TJCook is always fishing for promises being broken by Harper. And if he cannot find them, he will invent them.

  2. I support the PM 100% in taking the opposition parties for fools if they, the opposition parties are not being serious themselves. It was the NDP who kept asking for an apology from a Minister for the cooking of a meal. The media must think that to be normal behavior – to apologize for giving compliments.

    It was the NDP members and the Liberal members sitting in committee who ALSO voted down the right for Mark to present his motion on selective abortion to be presented to the House, but we get no special reports on why the Liberals and the NDP are so dead set on voting down the presentation of such a motion. How refreshing it would be to hear what Liberal and NDP MP`s have to say on important issues like that.

    I just listened to Nick Nanos on P&P and he, too, could not find anything to say about the opposition parties and their stand on selective abortion other than saying that `the opposition parties have their parties in line when it comes to the issue of abortion.`

    And we are still wondering why the PM should even bother being serious about anything when hardly anyone else is. Why bother to be taken for a fool time and again when the opposition parties are never taken seriously by anyone in the media.

    • in other words:


    • You could have stopped after “I support the PM 100%.” You still would have been repeating yourself, but it would have saved some space.

      • Except that your answer is yet another excuse not to have to respond to the contents of my posting Talk about repetition and predictability. Nothing new there from the opposition corners.

        To be ok with parliamentarians demanding for Ministers to apologize for giving compliments is the most absurd thing to do in parliament, yet men like Wherry think it is just perfect for special effect when serving in the House.

        • Because the contents of your post are tripe. In case you haven’t noticed, the NDP and the Liberals aren’t governing. So all the red herrings you bring up about them simply stink of rotten fish.

          And I don’t care who the opposition is or how they act, I expect our government, at least, to act responsibly, and it’s supporters, if they’ve got half an ounce of honesty in them, to not excuse the government because other people are behaving badly.

    • I like it when people as partisan as you post. It shows people what they have to look for to see partisan ideology instead of any sort of real point and real debate.

      I invite you to take off the partisan blinders and join us grown-ups in adult discussions on our country’s future.

      • Actually it is you who does not respond to any of the real comments I make. But you can comment now on what you think about NDP MP`s use of parliament asking for apologies from a minister who has given compliments. You are certainly aware that the receiver of the compliment regarded it as a compliment but somehow the NDP is not ready to let such citizens speak for themselves. Let me further tell you that the person who told all of us that she did indeed agree with the compliment given, used her real name when telling us about it. A Mister Twitt can sit back and insult and do whatever because no one will ever have to know who the real coward is behind that fake name you are using. Coward. That is what you are. A coward.

  3. `new taxes on safety deposit boxes“

    Actually, there will no longer be a tax deduction for safety deposit boxes. I guess the NDP reading comprehension skills are not that great, but Wherry still thinks the NDP skills are outstanding.

    • That’s an increase in taxation.
      Again, whether it’s justified is not the issue–the point is the brazen denial of reality, the lie, so much like so many other Conservative lies.

      • No it is not. It is a credit which is no longer a credit. You may be paying more taxes but that is like saying that earning more money also leads to an increase of taxes to be paid.

        • Nonsense. Earning more money does not imply a change in government rules; the case is irrelevant.

          Creating a tax credit is a tax reduction. Given the same tax base, it reduces revenues. And we can be quite sure that in the past, the Conservatives have created tax credits and been quite happy to characterize this as tax reduction. Eliminating a tax credit is a tax increase.

          • Please provide some proof as to when the CPC government has referred to a credit as a not a credit but a tax reduction….Let us hear for ourselves.

            I can sit here all day too and pretend that my opinions or hearsays are the truth.

            And earning more wages is also a tax increase automatically because you end up paying more taxes and the government will collect more taxes.

          • That’s moronic. We’re talking about government tax policy. A tax increase is a change in government tax policy that results in the collection of more taxes. Eliminating a tax credit or deduction is a government tax policy, it results in the collection of more taxes, therefore it is a tax increase. This is not hard.
            My making more (pre-tax) money on the other hand has nothing to do with government tax policy. It is therefore not a tax increase. You know this perfectly well, you are just being deliberately obtuse.

          • Strange that you seem to single me out for being obtuse. You must not read many of the other postings. Perhaps you also find it obtuse when making fun of the blow back when the CPC undergoes it, just so to score points, but not finding it so funny when the Liberal version of blow back comes to mind.

            Perhaps you prefer to block certain things out of your mind. Or perhaps you prefer cognitive dissonance as a governing philosophy too.

          • Well ducked. If you’re clearly wrong on the topic at hand, go on the offensive about something completely irrelevant! Oh, and whine that having it pointed out that you’re wrong constitutes being victimized.

          • I don`t think I am wrong at all about my interpretation., My interpretation is different from yours and I have already said so. Now I don`t repeat myself enough and next time around you will accuse me of being too repetitive. I have no intention of falling in that trap.

            Why do you insist on settings of traps. Why not post under a real name.

          • C.S. Lewis disapproved of directly quoting writers you disagreed with because it made things personal and distracted from the actual ideas. It’s an interesting point. anonymous comments can be worse, like a lot of YouTube, but they can also be better. I seem to recall Benjamin Franklin didn’t always use his real name.

          • Sure, whatever excuse works for you. Interesting that purplelibraryguy has not found a chance for explaining why he uses a false name to offer opinions here, since the subject of using false names was addressed to him to begin with. He must be thinking about what other excuses are out there. He would certainly not want to copy yours.

          • Oh, and I don`t take purplelibraryguy as a writer, if that`s what you were going for.

          • On the CPC website they refer to maintaining a tax credit on new manufacturing equipment as “”Providing tax relief on new manufacturing equipment”.

          • Tax relief. I do not read the word tax reduction, do you.

          • Kellie Leitch said on Mar 3, 2013 “The disability tax credit provides a tax reduction to people …”

          • Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act
            Private Members’ Business
            March 4th, 2013 / 11:10 a.m.

            Kellie Leitch
            Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

            Mr. Speaker, the
            Government of Canada has made a clear commitment to supporting
            hard-working Canadian families through various tax credits and income
            support programs, so that they are there in the times of sickness or
            disability. Government members recognize that Canadians sometimes have a
            difficult time making ends meet. We understand there may be occasions
            when they need others to look out for them, to prevent an already
            difficult situation from becoming worse. When times are tough, we need
            to support each other.

            I am proud to stand beside my hon. colleague from Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke and her private member’s bill, which will make sure we do exactly that. Bill C-462
            introduces new measures that would protect the rights of individual
            Canadians with disabilities and their families to fair tax treatment.

            One of the most important
            programs to help Canadians with disabilities is the disability tax
            credit, also known as the DTC. However, those applying for the credit
            are not always treated justly by some business operators who seem more
            intent on generating inappropriate profits for themselves than actually
            ensuring their clients’ needs are met.

            There have been numerous
            cases brought to our attention in which promoters have charged up to 40%
            of the amount of a person’s income tax credit, often amounting to
            thousands of dollars for something that is very simple to do. These
            businesses are generally just completing part A of the DTC application, a
            straightforward process that usually takes very little time.

            In fact, in my clinic,
            with many cerebral palsy patients, or in my riding, with a number of
            disabled constituents, these individuals have mentioned to me that they
            are concerned about this inappropriate treatment and that they are in
            need of help.

            If for any reason someone
            with a disability or a family member providing care needs help, the
            Canada Revenue Agency has agents who specialize in the disability tax
            credit. They are just a phone call away, and they can assist both
            taxpayers and qualified practitioners by providing information on both
            the criteria and application process. Most offices of members of
            Parliament also provide help to constituents who are in need assistance
            on this file.

            Despite this free and
            helpful service, many Canadians are turning to promoters who have sprung
            up in growing numbers in the past number of years. While I certainly
            would not suggest this applies to all promoters, some of them are known
            to target and aggressively pursue individuals who are eligible for the
            disability tax credit, especially if they may be eligible for refunds
            retroactively up to 10 years. I know this personally from my experience
            in my clinic, hearing from parents of their challenges in dealing with
            these aggressive promoters.

            Unfortunately, once they
            turn their paperwork over to these individuals, people with disabilities
            often end up with as little as 60% of the money to which they are
            entitled. That is like paying 40% interest on a bank loan or credit
            card, something that is totally unacceptable, and should be unacceptable
            and deplorable in the mindset of parliamentarians.

            The contingency fees
            charged by some businesses far outweigh the value of the services they
            are performing. There is a lot of money involved, money that Canadians
            with disabilities actually need. In 2012, the federal tax savings for
            someone eligible for the DTC will be up to $1,132 for an adult and
            $1,792 for a child under the age of 18 or their family member supporting
            them. Since these credits can be claimed retroactively going back over a
            decade, potentially 10 times these amounts are available to eligible

            That is why we must act. That is why the bill put forward by the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke
            is essential. We have to ensure that promoters do not take advantage of
            these Canadians with disabilities and recover many of the extra costs
            they incur for their health conditions.
            Let me remind the House about the types of situations we are talking about. The disability tax credit provides a tax reduction……….“

            Yes, there you have it. Good to read that Kellie Leitch knows what`s she`s doing. Perhaps Wherry should highlight some of what Ms.Leitch has to say in regards to attempts at fraud and how aware she is of that possibility.

            Thanks The_Original_Matlock. It seems that I am not the only one being driven by passion.

          • “Please provide some proof as to when the CPC government has referred to a credit as a not a credit but a tax reduction….Let us hear for ourselves.”

            I did. Now, back to the point that started this. If introducing a tax credit is a tax reduction, ending a tax credit is a tax increase.

            The CPC are increasing taxes.

          • That’d be pretty much every time they talk about the sports equipment, or music programs for kids, etc.. they lump those all in and call it all “reduction in taxes”

        • By your logic the Conservatives are no longer allowed to claim that a tax credit is them lowering taxes.

          • By your logic you just jump on another bandwagon in order to not have to come up with anything original yourself. I have already said that tax relief is not written as tax reduction. You cannot read, that much your are showing us all. But than that is not original either.

    • Eliminating a tax reduction is a de facto tax increase.

      Stop being dishonest.

      • Stop being a coward. Use your real name.

        • LOL.. when you’re reduced to attacking the alias thing, you might as well just shut off your computer for a day or two. It’s obvious you’ve lost and now you’re just making yourself look pathetic, Francien.. if that is your real name.. no reason on earth why we should think it is.

          • If this was about winning or losing, then the no-namers will win each and every time because they can say and claim and do whatever it takes to do the winning: no one knows who they are and are not held to account on anything they say. That`s like winning on nothing.

            My point of being here is to show that responsibility must be taken if we want to accomplish anything, be it in debate or be it in action. Therefore, content is of importance, and when a real name is attached to content then one cannot just say anything because it can be coming back to haunt you for real. Fake names have nothing to worry about. In other words: cowardly!

            Every day PM Harper stands up and speaks under his OWN name, Now that takes more courage than all of the no-namers combined.

            But if you like to claim the wins by being a fake, take those wins. Why should anyone care. It`s all just fake.

          • Wow. And if names had anything to do with the strength of the argument itself, you’d have a point.

            Too bad you’re pointless.

        • Lol. You’ve lost. I expect the next post to invoke Godwin’s law.

    • Francien Verhoeven..Obviously the PMO spokesperson for today.

      • Someone has to speak the truth. Not much coming from the rest of the commenters here besides the normal talking points being made under false pretense.

        • Ronald Reagan once said: “facts are stupid things”. It is clear that the Conservatives have wholeheartedly embraced this view. What matters is not how things are but how they seem to be, and how that seeming resonates at our most emotional and gut-level responses.

          They’ve figured out that if you simply keep repeating the same thing, over and over again, people will come to believe it regardless of whether it’s true. Cons policy is essentially relentless messaging aimed at the gut, just like a Pepsi or Tide commercial. The NDP has a carbon tax. Mandatory minimum sentences are making our streets safer… This budget does not raise any taxes.

  4. And once again we see an example of a party who figured out that they can’t be called “liar” directly in the House, and so take full advantage of it to bald-facedly lie.

  5. So the NDP are going hoping the people will support them because they are seen to be opposing any tax increases.
    That should work out well.
    The only folks stupid enough to believe that crap are chronic lefties and regulars on this blog including Whrrry.—-Fools.

    • Actually, they’re more hoping people will stop supporting liars. That has to happen before there can be any consideration of what else they will support.

  6. There is an old saying, “If the father lies, the children lie”.