PermanentTaxOnEverything: A little perspective

It’s actually a lot of fun watching everyone get excited, both admirers and detractors, about a policy idea in Ottawa. But this might be a good time for everyone to remind themselves that Dion’s PermanentTaxOnEverything™ is a suggestion for allocating $15 billion, four years out.

The government of Canada plans to spend $200 billion this year.

So (a) If this is the apocalypse, it doesn’t take much to have an apocalypse these days; (b) The same message goes out to everyone saying this plan is the equivalent of a federal budget, or a replacement for the old Red Books. Um, no, it just isn’t; (c) This means that if he wanted to, Stéphane Dion could have three or four more days like yesterday  before an election. He just needs to find some other issues on which his ideas are markedly different from the government’s, and on which the virtues of early exposition would outweigh the advantages of pre-writ secrecy.

Because the amazing thing is not that the Leader of the Opposition managed to set the agenda this week. The amazing thing is that we ever got to the point where it would be considered a novelty when the Leader of the Opposition managed to set the agenda. Folks: that’s what leaders of large political parties with a long history of governing the country are supposed to do, and more than once.