Adult subject matter -

Adult subject matter


Canadian Press previews Michael Ignatieff’s speech in London tomorrow and what’s to come next.

Michael Ignatieff is preparing to embark on a politically risky “adult conversation” with Canadians about the painful measures necessary to eliminate the country’s ballooning deficit—including the possibility of tax hikes.

Senior party insiders told The Canadian Press that the Liberal leader is about to launch a blunt discussion of the realistic options available for staunching the flow of red ink. That includes tax increases, major spending cuts, remaining mired in deficit for years longer than anticipated, or some combination of the three.

Ignatieff won’t disclose his own prescription for taming the deficit until the brink of an election, which now seems unlikely this year. Insiders say he wants a better idea of just how bad the fiscal books are and how willing voters are to bite the bullet before making any detailed proposal…

Ignatieff intends to kick off discussion of the tough choices ahead with a speech Thursday to the Chamber of Commerce in London, Ont. That will be followed by a series of townhall-style meetings to engage Canadians in the debate.


Adult subject matter

  1. This sounds suspiciously like an idea coming from Ignatieff, and a good one at that. Time for ideas right now, and frankly if you stick to them, you can make the other side's fear mongering be a negative against them.

    • "Fear mongering" ?? Do you not watch question period ? A sensible increase in EI premiums 2 years from now to make the program balanced is being attacked as a job killing huge tax hike.

      When Ignatieff is ready to be an adult then i'll listen.

      • You should realise that it's tit for tat. Harper did the same thing to the Liberals, for instance. The carbon tax proposed as part of the Green Shift was billed as a catastrophically destructive tax, when it reality it is equivalent to ten cents per litre of gasoline when fully implemented in four years, with offsetting cuts in other taxes (including ten cents per litre of excise taxes).

      • Jesse has a point.

        If Ignatieff really does intend to take an adult approach I will be the first one to cheer him on. However, he will have to be consistent if he wants the voters to believe him. That means dropping the rabid line of attack on the EI premiums he took in today's question period.

  2. I sure hope this works, because this is the kind of thing I believe in and I hope I'm not some lonely Canadian on this kind of thing.

  3. This is an interesting development. Seems like Ignatieff is testing the waters to find out if Canadians might be receptive to hard truths about deficit reduction.

    Hard truths would be a welcome change from the pablum that both the Government and Opposition have been peddling for months: the notion that it's possible to slay the deficit in the next few years without painful cuts or tax increases.

    • Wait, does this mean I have to take my fingers out of my ears and stop singing?

    • How about some cuts to the subsidy for political parties, how about a wage reduction in public sector employees, how about cutting all that arts funding and the CBC ??

      No, there is no need for painful cuts to things we need like education, health, and public safety.

      Those things only get on the chopping block when special interests groups want to protect sacred cows.

  4. Good on Ignatieff. What took him so long?

  5. I dunno. What is so bad of the "do nothing and run a reasonably small, shrinking deficit for six years before economic growth eliminates the deficit" plan? I think Canadians have lost sight of why deficits are a bad thing (they crowd out private investment – and even that is debatable). Countries should average, over time, a balanced budget. In bad times, that means running small deficits, and small surpluses in good times.

    • Because it's not a terribly realistic scenario. It assumes strong growth over the next six years, low spending growth (as the boomers retire and become increasingly decrepit).

      Beyond that, there is a decent chance that in six years time we will be into our next recession. So, running deficits for an entire business cycle is by construction a structural deficit.

      • Growth does look strong.

        And the projections assume oil at a lower price then it is now. If oil stays around $70 and possibly goes higher next year as the recovery picks up that red ink will dissapear pretty fast.

        Let's face it. The deficit appeared when our $100 a barrel oil went away.

        Its just as fiscally irresponsible to assume the worst and raise taxes – that'll have a negative impact on the econony and the country too.

        • I don't think there's anything irresponsible about raising the GST a couple of percentage points, which would bring us out of a structural deficit (even under our optimistic projections). If growth surprises on the upside, we can pay down more debt in order to free up some fiscal room to borrow through the boomers' retirement. Go read Coyne's column from last year to get an idea of what kind of fiscal storm we are in for over the next decade or two.

          • Frankly, we are better to leave teh GST as it is and move forard with the HST. It is the provinces that need the revenue, not the federal government.

          • Frankly, we are better to leave the GST as it is and move forard with the HST. It is the provinces that need the revenue, not the federal government.

          • That's odd. I coulda sworn the BC govt is claiming the tax will be revenue neutral. Of course it wont be neutral to consumers.

          • The irony is that Harper could end up makng many of the same fiscal mistakes of the Trudeau govts. Unable to get spending under control while overoptimistically relying on future growth to balance the books. Trouble is the good times never did quite come back and the pressure to keep on spending was enormous.

  6. So, if this goes poorly, I think we can conclude that Canadians don't deserve to be treated like adults.

    • Yep. And I'm not optimistic.

  7. I suppose he's going tell us which he prefers, tax increases or spending cuts. At least until he reverses himself in the near future.

  8. Of course the adult conversation would have been welcome when the frog march of the taxpayer took place. You know, when the calls for bigger and faster were coming fast.

    So fine, adult conversation…good…..problem is who will he be listening to……because I am not sure the Canadian people know what they want done, because they dont know what the future holds, less so today after recent events.

    But the inherent contradiction of asking for more faster is the ultimately the achilles heel. But you have to start somewhere.

  9. I don't think Canadians are ever prepared to listen to a politician talk about austerity, and the need to increase taxes or reduce spending. Especially when the opposing party is prepared to say the opposite. We much prefer the easy way out.

    It hearkens back to 1979:

    The nation is facing tough economic times – high inflation, rising unemployment and a spiralling deficit. Crosbie's belt-tightening budget imposes more taxes on energy and will boost the price of Canadian oil closer to levels in the rest of the world. By removing a proposed gas tax of 18 cents per gallon, Crosbie's budget could get support from the House's five Social Credit members. But he refuses, and the five members abstain from voting.

    Anybody remember how much the price of gas went up when Trudeau won the next election?

  10. An "adult conversation".

    Interesting choice of words, which conjures up the image of the parent having to enlighten the ignorant child of the "adult" ways of the world.

    Are we, the proverbial toddlers, up to Iggy's standards.

    It seems the rest of us have a steep climb up that ivory tower to have that conversation with him.

    • "Interesting choice of words, which conjures up the image of the parent having to enlighten the ignorant child of the "adult" ways of the world."

      No it doesn't.

    • remember: "adult conversation" has 2 words (let me count them, one, two, two words, Ha, Ha, Ha), a conversation is isn't a lecture, the words have different meanings.

  11. MIcheal is a idol..

  12. Michael Mondale?

  13. "Ignatieff won't disclose his own prescription for taming the deficit until the brink of an election, which now seems unlikely this year."

    I thougt Ignatieff said Harper's time is up? Does this mean he'll now be an adult and stop his robotic approach of opposing the government on everything?

  14. okay, so now he's not: "OTTAWA – Michael Ignatieff insisted Wednesday he has no plan to raise taxes, denying a report that he's about to embark on a politically risky "adult conversation" with Canadians about the painful measures necessary to eliminate the country's ballooning deficit."

    Am I the only one confused? I thought it was (going to be) a good play.