Michael Ignatieff says federal Liberals will support legislation to implement a harmonized sales tax in Ontario and British Columbia, despite previously bashing it as a job-killing “Harper sales tax.”
The Liberal leader announced his decision Tuesday after meeting his MPs, many of whom felt trapped in no-win situation and were torn over what to do.
Some MPs fear a backlash from voters in the two provinces, who are becoming increasingly angry about the prospect of paying more for a host of goods and services.
Others fear alienating the Liberal governments in Toronto and Victoria, whose campaign machines will be vital to the success of federal Liberals in the next election.
In the end, Ignatieff came down on the side of respecting the wishes of provincial governments, not to mention longstanding federal Liberal policy.
“This is a request from the provinces because they believe it’ll improve the competitiveness of their economy and create jobs,” Ignatieff said, noting that federal Liberals have promoted harmonization for 15 years.
“We will support this legislation in Parliament.”
If they hadn’t previously demagogued this, people might actually be applauding them for their statesmanship. As it is, they just look confused and miserable. You’ll notice no actual principles were involved in this decision: it’s all based on expedience, and fear —fear of voters, fear of the provinces, fear of being seen as inconsistent. But it’s still the right thing to do.
Now perhaps the Conservatives will stop pretending they had nothing to do with their own legislation.
AS FOR the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, their performance on this issue — and I do mean performance — is beneath contempt. At least the NDP believes the rubbish it spouts.
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