I'm inclined to agree with Olaf's conclusions, regarding the Liberals potential GST hike policy. I understand the superficial bad optics of wanting to raise a universally hated tax, but the whole idea speaks to something else, that can be framed positively.
First of all, if the Liberals were to adopt a GST hike, coupled with a income tax decrease, the policy could be woven together as a tax fairness strategy. The important component, demonstrate that the measures are a re-distribution, that doesn't translate into more money in Ottawa's coffers. People aren't likely to take the Liberals word, but the policy will get credibility from the experts. From everything I have read, whether it be a right-wing think tank or the tax policy lobby, income tax cuts have more real resonance, for more people, than the flashy GST cut. The fact that the experts largely agree allows for some cover, when the Liberals would surely come under Tory fire. Liberals want to raise your taxes would be the Tory counter, but the objective observer would be largely sympathetic.
What I really like about the idea, is that is politically counter-intuitive at first blush. What you can dismiss as silly, might actually turn out to be quite shrewd. Such a proposal conveys a posture, wherein political consideration isn't the starting point. The Liberals take a risk on potential bad optics, which begs the question why? Why would you endorse something that appears so unpopular? That endorsement speaks to a seriousness, wherein Liberal economic policy is based on sound logic, rather than a vote grab. This framing could provide an interesting counter to Harper's Tories, who increasingly convey a politics first mentality. The notion of "good government", we are not looking at the polls, but formulating policy out of principle. The easy route is too offer more goodies, but we believe this is where Canada needs to go for tax fairness.
No question, adopting such a policy would be risky. Having said that, in an era where everything appears packaged for consumption, where politicians go to great pains to not offend, such a policy position might just strike a cord. The trick is to get people to look beyond the headline, and this an open question for a dis-interested electorate. I'm inclined to believe the Liberals could pull it off, if done properly, because above all the partisan sniping, there does exist a fundamental logic to the ideas.