Monday, September 29, 2008

Layton's Reality Check

In an effort to defend against the argument that an NDP government isn't something that should be feared economically, Layton envoked NDP Premier Gary Doer as a practical example. On a day when the NDP released it's platform, Layton fielded questions on his corporate taxes policy and in so doing actually undercut his entire argument. You don't provide a practical example, the Doer government, when that reference shows the folly of the NDP approach. All Layton did, was highlight how out of step the NDP's tax policy is with economic realities.

Gary Doer, Layton's example, has done the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the federal NDP proposes. In fact, the Doer government has recognized the need to have competitive tax rates for corporations. The Manitoba NDP budget for 2008:
The general Corporation Income Tax rate will be reduced to 13% in July 2008 and to 12% in July 2009 with a goal of reducing it to 11% in subsequent years.

The Corporation Capital Tax for manufacturers and processors will be eliminated July 1, 2008 – freeing up $25 million for these businesses.

So Layton's argument- just look at the NDP in Manitoba if you're worried- essentially confirms that his tax proposal is reckless and lacks a basic understanding of the economic global circumstance. It really is a serious blunder, to voluntarily highlight an example which contradicts your entire premise.

Maybe Jack should use Saskatchewan's former NDP Premier Lorne Calvert, there's another practical example to allay Canadians concerns. Oops, didn't Calvert bring in a 95 million dollar corporate tax cut in his 2006 budget? I guess Layton is really chastizing, not only Harper and Dion, but fellow NDP Premiers, who unlike Jack actually had to GOVERN.

Yes, if we look at the NDP Doer government, as Layton suggests, it should serve as a giant red flag for Canadians, that the NDP platform is completely and utterly on the fringe when it comes to future economic prosperity. Rational people realize the global economic realities, that Canada doesn't act in isolation, that we must react to some simple hard truths, rigid ideology aside. If the federal NDP wants to criticize corporate tax cuts, then they are essentially attacking their own, because it would seem anyone who is forced to move beyond the convenience of theoretical idealism, has come to the same sober conclusion, no matter the political stripe. At the core of the NDP's platform is an inherent fallacy, a base argument which is dangerous, behind the curve, and completely and utterly naive, not to mention lacking a elemental understanding of the modern circumstance. Canadians should compare the real world example of the NDP government in Manitoba, as Layton recommends, and that reading will speaks volumes.


Anonymous said...

Oops Steve, Doer didn't reduce corporate taxes right away. He first got his social policy house in order. Also he didn't drop corporate tax as recklessly as both the Libs and the Cons have done/propose to do.

Layton has committed to keeping the corporate tax rate for big biz at 22.1% which is the same rate that Paul Martin had established.

The small biz tax cuts brought in by Harper will remain because as most economists will tell you, it is small biz that is a most effective job generators.

You may want to get McGuinty and Duncan on side with this messaging since when Flaherty attacked them for NOT cutting corporate tax they both said that cutting corporate tax does not lead to job growth.

Layton has never said that he would not lower corporate taxes at some point. He has said the first priority is ensuring that Canadian families get the help they need within the framework of a balanced budget.

The NDP (unlike libs and cons) isn't interested in giving tax cuts to profitable companies that ship jobs offshore. Obama also is against tax cuts for corporations that won't provide job guarantees. Why should Canadian taxpayers subsidize profitable companies that close down plants in Canadian communities.

Anonymous said...

All the NDP's platform does is reverse the taxcuts put in place by the Cons/Libs earlier this year that are to take effect in 2009.

What you don't point out is that our corporate tax rates are already competitive, lower than the US as well I believe. Doer and Calvert both lowered provincial taxes, to bring their provinces in line with others in order to remain competitive not to pull ahead of the pack.

What the New Democrats are suggesting is that there is no need to cut taxes further, instead that money should be invested into social programs. So ontop of a balanced budget plan they have also laid out how they will pay for everything.

The NDP proposal is the anti-thesis of the Harper approach (backed by Liberals for the most part over the last 2.5 years) and costs less than the Liberals.

What I see is a platform that addresses all of those promises once made by Liberal governments of the 1990s to get elected and where then conveniently put to the side afterwards. So if putting citizens ahead of corporations is "base", than count me in.

Steve V said...


That is pretty feeble stuff. It's really quite simple, you don't use Doer to allay fears, when Doer basically says you need to lower corporate tax cuts. The only motivation for doing so, is because it's seen as a way to stop jobs "moving offshore". We can tie ourselves in convenient talking points, but the guy Layton cited for Canadians thinks he's dead wrong. Period.

ottlib said...

anon and sean:

Canadians do not trust the federal NDP to form a government and they never have. That is a fact that even NDP partisans cannot deny.

The reason for that is Canadians do not trust the NDP on running the economy. They always put forward plans for big spending and taxes on the "rich" and "big business" which Canadians seem to instinctively know would be counter-productive at best and harmful at worst.

The latest incarnation of the NDP platform just reinforces that perception.

It does not matter what the fine print says. It really does not matter how it compares to the governments of Doer and Calvert.

The only thing that matters is to overcome that latent distrust by Canadians in the NDP they had to do something different. Instead they fell back on what they have always done so you can probably expect the results to be what they have always been.

Anonymous said...

again, Steve you miss the point, this time with anons post....

Doer got his social (as did Calvert) house in order first, than cut taxes...cutting taxes without taking care of the general public is just irresponsible. So what I deduce from your attack on the NDP plan is that you support tax cuts to big business, which is fine. But what your not addressing is how you'll pay for social programs without that money.

As for not "trusting the NDP" to manage the economy, your right. Rightly or wrongly the public perception is that the Federal NDP can't. The only problem is they have never been given a chance. Provincially they have a pretty good track record (sure raise me a Rae, I'll raise you a Trudeau or a Harris). That's a problem the NDP will have to figure out how to address. But again, they are not trying to appeal to hardcore Conservative or Red Tory voters.

Anonymous said...

Bob Rae is a Liberal. Gary Doer and Roy Romanow are New Democrats and endorse Layton.

ottlib said...

"That's a problem the NDP will have to figure out how to address."

Here is a hint. Stop doing what you always do. It does not work and it has never worked.

What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The release of the NDP platform will have its widest appeal amongst the NDP base, which is about 12-15% of the electorate.

With two weeks to go Mr. Layton has given the Liberals a gift. He has given many of those who are thinking of voting NDP a reason reconsider.

We will have to see if the Liberals can take advantage of Mr. Layton's gift.

Anonymous said...

The Liberal platform is almost TWICE as expensive as the NDP platform and they plan to pay for it through higher taxes on people through their ill-conceived carbon tax.

JimmE said...

... right, get your socialist house in order first. Right. Guess in the case of Mr Layton Ms Chow that would include the years they lived in subsidized housing while being Toronto city councillors.
I wish some smart reporter would bring that gem up when speaking to Jack.

ottlib said...

"The Liberal platform is almost TWICE as expensive as the NDP platform and they plan to pay for it through higher taxes on people through their ill-conceived carbon tax."

It does not matter!!!

The NDP are not trusted to form a government, the Liberals are.

The NDP is dealing with deep seated distrust in their ability to deal with the economy. It is a longstanding distrust that the NDP needs to address.

Their platform for this election does not do that because it is just more of what we have seen from the NDP for over 40 years!!

In almost every other election where we have seen release a platform like this one their level of support winds up in the teens. It should come as no surprise if that happens again this time.

Mark Dowling said...

So if Layton has to pay heed to Doer does that mean Dion has to propose whatever Charest or McGuinty is doing right now?

Just asking...

Steve V said...


That misses the point entirely. Layton used Doer to allay any fears of an NDP government. Nobody would be talking about Doer, if not for Layton's unwisely using him to support his economic platform. It's kind of like Dion using Brad Wall to support his tax shift idea.

Anonymous said...

Dion is too busy paying tribute to the Social Credit premier of BC - Gordon Campbell - a man who makes mike Harris look like a leftist.

RuralSandi said...

Notice Layton doesn't talk about the other socialist countries that are succeeding - Sweden and Demark - low corporate taxes and are using the carbon tax system very successfully.

Saw a speech on CBC last night from NDP leader, David Lewis from "1972" .....almost word for word as Jack Layton's, on his package, etc. See, the NDP haven't progressed or modernized since at least's now 2008, issues have changed, the economy is global now.

Steve V said...


I saw that speech too, it really demonstrated how dinosaur-like the language looks now. BTW, I think that was the same program that had the Doer reference from Laytong.

burlivespipe said...

They don't have to follow Doer's and Calvert's actions, because the federal NdP only acts from a position of third or fourth place. No risk, no foul.
It's like their wacked out Harper-esque environmental plan: favouring cap and trade alone to address climate change. If they were honest with their followers, they'd admit that it would take YEARS for a system to be in place, and that the end result would be businesses passing on the costs to its customers, ie. higher costs. But there'd be no income tax cuts... But hey, the environmental crisis can wait - cue the cry '13 years!' Unfortunately, the NdP never had to worry or deal with a huge federal deficit, either.
The whinging from the far left continues unabated.
But if their idea of salvation is a two-party system, i suggest they look at BC: for every one- or two-term NdP gov't, we get 3-5 successive right- and centre-right gov'ts. But at least they're Number Two!

Anonymous said...

"i suggest they look at BC: for every one- or two-term NdP gov't, we get 3-5 successive right- and centre-right gov'ts. "

You mean the neo-fascist BC Liberal gov't that Stephane Dion keeps praising? I guess that means that if we elect the Liberals they will do to Canada what Gordon Campbell did to BC - caveat emptor.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

As Dion rightly stated, no successful NDP party in Canada or social democratic party abroad that has formed government in the last ten years advocates the policies Layton does on corporate tax cuts or economic policy in general. Yes, there are more left wing parties in some other countries, particularly Europe, but they don't win elections and more importantly ironically most Social Democratic parties in Europe have shown a greater likeliness to form coalitions with slightly right of centre parties than hard left ones.

The only example I can think of an NDP government in Canada advocating policies similiar to Layton is that of British Columbia, but they also got absolutely decimated in 2001 after 10 years in power, so they should tell you just how great an example they are. At least the NDP in Saskatchewan still formed a strong opposition when they lost as have most social democratic parties in Europe.