I have to say, I’m liking Stéphane Dion’s Permanent Tax on Everything™ more with every passing day. The advance reviews are so awful, it has to be good. Remember when Jean Chrétien and Stéphane Dion introduced the Clarity Act in 1999? No, no, you probably don’t. Well, it produced a poo storm of majestic proportions, is what it did, with the press gallery and the super-genius Liberal caucus (Official motto: “If Only We Had Paul Martin Leading Us”) leading the lamentations and grinding of teeth.
“Let sleeping dogs lie,” they said. The very same people who had said discussion of secession rules was a bad idea when separatists were doing well in the polls now argued that discussion of secession rules was a horrible idea because separatists were doing badly in the polls. “Right policy, wrong time,” they said. What they certainly never said was “36 seats in Quebec,” and yet that’s what the Liberals got, including a four-point advantage over the Bloc in the popular vote, after a federal election campaign in which the sovereignist brain trust invoked Chrétien’s supposedly hated name so frequently it sounded like some form of Tourette’s.
Now here’s Stéphane Dion with his Green Shift Permanent Tax on Everything™. The super-genius caucus hates it; the Globe’s chief political strategist wants sleeping dogs let lie; the Tory brain-in-a-jar election team thinks it’s idiotic. None of this is a guarantee of success, but Wells’s Second Law holds that an Ottawa consensus is an awfully tempting thing to bet against.