Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hey Jim, What About That Other Province?

The Conservatives are once again lambasting Ontario's Liberal government, this time Flaherty criticizes McGuinty's economic policies:
Federal finance minister Jim Flaherty sharply criticized the Ontario government Wednesday for its reluctance to cut business taxes, and what he called a “lack of vision.”

The McGuinty government suffers from a “lack of leadership, a lack of vision and a lack of economic stewardship,” he said in an early morning speech in Toronto to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. The provincial government “fails to understand the long-term benefits of tax relief,” he added.

The business tax burden is putting Ontario manufacturers at a disadvantage, Mr. Flaherty said. It is also driving away new business investment.

Bailing out individual industries “is just the kind of protectionism that hurts trade and kills jobs” he said.

Nevermind the fact of the fiscal disaster Flaherty left for the Liberals, his criticisms are pretty juvenile for the federal government.

If anyone doubts Flaherty is playing politics here, as opposed to genuine criticism, then the answer is found in his omission. Last time I checked, Quebec's taxes where quite high and their manufacturing base was in trouble. Why does Flaherty continually chastize Ontario, while remaining silent on Quebec, which may well be relatively less "visionary"? Shouldn't Flaherty be calling out Charest too? Flaherty might have some credibility, if his comments weren't so obviously political in nature, rather than a genuine attempt to offer a path forward. What an ass.


Anonymous said...

Don't lose sleep over this speech.

CFIB sympathizes with the CPC and Flaherty is just making its target voters happy.

Looking back, a populist speech on the stump which you don't see from our PM. Could be a boost for Flaherty's wife if John Tory is forced to fall on his sword.

It may be one of the few lobby groups that are happy with the five per cent GST and increasing the tax breaks for depreciating equipment.

When the Canadian Taxpayers Federation are critical of your policies, you need to find a safe house somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Since I have contacts with the CFIB, this was taken from their open letter to Sunny Jim Flaherty.

CFIB calls for economy-boosting budget

February 5, 2008
Ottawa – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on the federal government to give the economy a much-needed boost with Budget 2008, especially as the U.S. economy falters.

“If it’s true that the U.S. sneezes and Canada catches a cold, then our economy could use a healthy dose of vitamin C right now,” said Catherine Swift, CFIB’s President and CEO. “The government can remain fiscally prudent, while also using tax measures to encourage growth and investment.”

CFIB would particularly like to see personal income tax cuts, and the elimination of the 1995 deficit-fighting measure that increased the fuel excise tax by 1.5¢ per litre, as well as an end to the tax-on-tax anomaly that allows the GST to be charged on top of the federal excise tax and provincial taxes.

CFIB is also calling for:

The small business threshold to be increased from $400,000 to $500,000
An overhaul of the outdated employment insurance system;

Further improvements to capital cost allowance measures;

Measures to ease succession for entrepreneurs;
An ongoing commitment to reducing red tape and paper burden.


How many of these objectives will be in the next budget remains to be seen. The answer is very little due to the government's balance sheet. If all else fails, blame McGuinty.

Steve V said...

I'm not sure I see the benefit for the Cons in Ontario, by energizing the provincial Liberals. Pretty harsh stuff, Flaherty isn't exactly the perfect advocate in Ontario.

ottlib said...

The Conservative strategy has been clear from the beginning.

Satisfy their base, and trashing a Liberal government in Ontario does just that, and hive off selected constituencies in the country to get those 156 seats.

They do not give a damn about actually governing the whole country. That is how Stephen Harper is most like George Bush.

I would also point out that they do have a base in rural Ontario which pretty much supports them no matter what so Mr. Flaherty's statements will probably not really hurt them that much.

Which is the answer to your question there Steve. :-)

And that is the reason why when these guys are finally thrown out of office it will be that much sweeter.

Steve V said...


I guess the question isn't whether it will help them, but does it hurt them outside of their base. These kind of personal attacks, directed towards McGuinty by the likes of Flaherty and Van Loan, are almost unheard of and unbecoming of a national government. This stuff just motivates McGuinty, and if I were the national Liberals, I would already be booking him for some timely appearances, pointing out the regional seat distribution disparities, things of that nature, another advocate.

Ron said...

For the last couple of years, Dalton has whined and cried about not getting enough money from Ottawa. All the while he has been raising taxes and raising spending. For probably the first time in history, the normal Canadian disparity in wealth has reversed and BC, Alberta, Saskatcewan, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia are all seeing an increasingly healthy balance sheets because of oil and natural resources and Ontario is in decline because of its overly unionized, inefficient, heavily polluting manufacturing industries. All of this is being exacerbated by Dalton's failure to positon the province for an economic slowdown, in total contrast to what the Conservatives have been doing for the last two years. So now we are in a position where Ontario taxes are too high, the grubby special interests are too well entrenched to allow for decrease in spending and the only economic plan Dalton his is to continue to whine and cry that Ottawa doesn't give Ontario enough hand outs - what a sorry state Ontario has fallen into - it is now a beggar province - quite a downhill slide from it former glory eh?

Steve V said...


Good grief...just mindless Ontario bashing.

Anonymous said...

Will the CPC rural base turn against Harper?

McGuinty did exceptionally well in small town Ontario: Belleville, St Thomas, Goderich etc. The only reason why these places don't turn against Harper is because of our guy. A French Canadian academic from Science Po has very little traction there.

Still the Greens under Elizabeth May could be running in the early teens in these places. They may siphon CPC votes in ten ridings and help Dion. The Greens actually have a better economic policy that the CFIB will favour.

Harper and Flaherty are desperately finding ways to get in the 40s in Ontario. Since no substantial tax cuts can be used without skewing the balance sheets, the only alternative is negative campaigning. If worse comes to worse, the Cons whinge about illegal immigrants, street kids, and welfare mothers high on crack etc. May get the hockey dads on board just like Mike Harris.

MarkCh said...

McGuinty did exceptionally well in small town Ontario because he played the anti-Muslim card. I don't think those people necessarily think much of his economic policy.

Anonymous said...


Don't see you as someone who favours the use of sharia law to settle family disputes.

Yes, Dalton's stance on religious schools did extremely well. Don't think Dion can defend liberal values against a so-called Muslim peril.

This is Dalton's legacy when all is said and done. Ending sharia law in family mediation and Family Day. Makes Mike Harris look like a libertarian. Something Harper may need to consider when he sees his Ontario poll numbers.

MarkCh said...

I'm ambivalent on the sharia law arbitration issue. Frankly, I think two consenting, informed, adults, should be able to settle their differences on whatever principle of arbitration they like. However, I question why any informed woman would choose to have sharia in a family law case. So, this is a tough issue for me.

Miles Lunn said...

I am all for not giving subsidies to corporations, but this should apply in all parts of Canada. This means eliminating subsidies to the oil companies in Alberta and to Bombardier as well in Quebec. I do though support government intervention in helping workers who lose their jobs re-train and improve their skills as well as I support government providing help in creating a competitive environment. Subsidies to corporations should only be done if events beyond their control happen such as a trade dispute, natural disaster etc. They should not be given out to companies who perform poorly due to poor decisions and bad management.