When the Liberals first announced they would cancel further corporate tax cuts, I saw it as a terrific move, that would give them fiscal latitude moving forward. In addition, the prospect of offering Canadians concrete pledges, contrasted with tax cuts for fat cats offered attractive "class" considerations. The frame is delicious- we're for the little guy, they're for the rich.
I note today that Tom Flanagan say potential problems for the Conservatives, in light of today's announcement by the Liberals. I also note the decidedly negative reaction from the NDP, which I attribute to a perceived threat. In one bold move, the Liberals have put something in the window, which they can draw on during a campaign- an initiative which encompasses a much broader contrast.
I've confronted the issues surrounding today's Liberal pledge. I'm sure many other people have as well, quite a common and sad reality really. Easing the emotional burden, by providing financial assistance, is something we can all relate to, it's something that gives Liberals an outline for voters. The cost isn't excessive, put beside the other big ticket government expenditures, it looks the innocent amount, backed by a perceived moral necessity. I mean, seriously, who doesn't agree with a policy that helps people during extremely difficult times? This policy is the basis of a "compassionate society", a winner in every conceivable way from the Liberals perspective.
The key to this corporate tax debate is to highlight our already, objectively verified, competitive climate. The Liberals need to address the obvious Conservative attack about "job killing", and I think they can with relative ease, particularly now when they can provide clear choices. The Conservatives will find no electoral comfort in being drawn into a debate about tax cuts for banks and big oil vs things like providing financial assistance to ALL Canadians who need it.
A further point, if the Conservatives want to say these type of initiatives are "reckless", they effectively undercut their own record. If any new expenditures are dangerous, how does one justify the billions the Conservatives are contemplating, on a host of files. Where is this money coming from, and isn't even that more pronounced, when you add on a 6 billion dollar shortfall for your big business tax cuts?
The election hasn't started, but the battle lines are clearly being drawn. The Liberals are now starting to draw the distinctions that everyone has been demanding. That they've chosen this particular terrain to highlight the divergence in policies, I think will prove to be a brilliant move. I really do.