'Dear Minister Flaherty' - Macleans.ca

‘Dear Minister Flaherty’


The NDP files its suggestions with the Finance Minister, including pension reform, EI reform, municipal funding, an extension to the home renovation tax credit and a repeal of planned corporate tax cuts.

In addition to job creation measures, the Government must address the looming structural deficit, as identified by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page. The deficit was caused, in part, by previous reckless reductions in corporate income tax rates. Like most Canadians, New Democrats recognize that in the long term, we cannot spend more than we collect. Yet your government has not only attempted to deny the existence of the structural deficit, it has aggravated the imbalance by reducing revenues despite the absence of any evidence that those tax savings have led to investments in jobs for Canadians. Your unbalanced corporate tax policy is exacerbating our overreliance on oil extraction, and contributing to a high dollar, which in turn hampers job creation and exports in the value-added sectors of manufacturing, forestry, aerospace and others. We propose that you announce the government will not proceed with additional cuts to the corporate tax rate in 2011 and 2012.


‘Dear Minister Flaherty’

  1. Like most Canadians, New Democrats recognize that in the long term, we cannot spend more than we collect.

    Serious question: Has there ever been an NDP provincial government that didn't have a deficit?

    • Manitoba?

    • Saskatchewan for most of the 2000's, no?

      • I looked it up, and you're right. Romanow eliminated the deficit in the 1990's, and since then Saskatchewan posted a number of budgetary surpluses thanks to all those fiscal conservatives in the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.

        I think Saskatchewan is the exception, though.

        • Liberals and Conservatives are pretty skillful at running budget deficits too. I think it depends much more on the time and place than on the party. Is there a Liberal or Conservative equivalent to Bob Rae's unilateral tackling of the public sector unions to reduce the deficit? That's got to do down as the bravest single budget-slaying action in Canadian history. He's still hated for it in Ontario.

          • Honestly, I don't know much about Bob Rae's ill-fated premiership, so I'll take your word for it that his much-hated austerity measures were brave rather than incompetent.

          • I remember Rae as Premier. JM's right, he was brave. But in a weird way. We are currently excoriating the PM for his many backshifts on previous positions. You would have to throw Rae under the same bus. I'm not sure, though, that anyone woul argue with what he felt he had to do. Tackling public sector unions when you're the freakin' NDP Premier? It's like spending your way out of a recession for a conservative.

            It really points out that ideology is often unsustainable either for populist reasons or just sound economic reasons. We can choose to express our partisan allegiances in terms of supposed ideological stances, but we are always going to be disappointed if we expect our respective leaders to hold religiously to them when faced with either evidence or strong popular opinion to the contrary.

    • And you have to consider the possibility that those deficits might be inherited
      from conservative ( including Liberal ) governments …

      • Deficits are often inherited; the question is whether the governing party is able to improve the situation or make it worse.

        I completely agree that Conservative and Liberal provincial governments have also been guilty of fiscal mismanagement.

    • This has probably been dignified with far more responses than it deserves already, but let's drive home the point: the NDP's track record is far better than that of the other parties when it comes to balancing budgets. See here, with data from the federal government's fiscal reference tables.

  2. Bless the NDP, their solutions are always the same, no matter the era or level of govt. LOL

    • The tendency (skill? ability? other?) to propose the same solution over and over again, independant of the problem at hand, is not unique to the NDP.

      • True, the Cons do it too.

      • Ouch

      • Why are you against the troops?

        • I got a note from Wherry this morning…..apparently today it's my turn to be "Against The Troops".

          PS, he mentioned that it might be your turn again tomorrow. Hopefully you'll be ready ;-)

    • And somebody, somewhere, sometime ,might just try those solutions … you know, just in the
      interest of science and all …….

  3. How is forestry considered a value-added sector if oil extraction isn’t.

    • We make our own 2x4s & paper, but we ship the crude south to be refined.

      • Crude oil is more valuable than bitumen. Therefore, by definition, it is value added even if we don't refine it further.

        • It definitely takes a lot of sweat and smarts (and carbon emissions, granted) to turn oilsands into something that will even flow down a pipeline.

          And I believe that we do export a lot of timber to the US to be milled or pulped there. Someone please correct me if I’m worng.

      • But when you add more value to bitumen products, you create far more GHG. From extraction to petrochemicals, you produce more emissions with each step in the process.

        http://www.industrialheartland.com/ for those who want more info on the cluster of these facilities that are being considered just North of Edmonton.

        I find it amusing that many of the same people who want to significantly reduce our GHG emissions for the sake of the environment, are also chirping that we're selling our raw bitumen like nobody's business. Making the "value-added" argument and the environmentalist argument would appear to be mutually exclusive, at least for the time being.

        Also, if you look at the kinds of jobs created in the oil and gas industry, it requires some smart cookies. The kind of professionals that make Alberta the nation's best educated. Contrary to popular cinema, we don't strick straws in the sand like milkshakes and drink your milkshake.