Tax Lock


A number of years ago I was at a party and wound up talking to a couple of conservative activists – one a party official and one a newly elected MP. This was maybe 10 years after the defeat of the Conservatives in 1993 when the governing party was reduced to 2 seats. They were bemoaning the fate of the party, now somewhat revived under Stephen Harper and went on and on about what a good government it had been.

I pointed out that the judgement of the Canadian people had been different. And they said: it was Trudeau’s fault. That’s right, after nine years in power, they remained convinced that all that was wrong in Canada was the fault of Pierre Trudeau. They, themselves, were blameless. I couldn’t help but laugh.

When they asked why, I said that if, after nine years, they couldn’t bring in a program of their own they were either incompetent or were lying about the facts of the situation. It was not well received.

Yet here we are again with Jason Kenney – after nine years in power – complaining about the mess that the former liberal government had left (you know balanced budgets, a stellar international reputation, that sort of thing) and how they were still struggling to fix it (you know that list) and were terrified that Canada would let things return to the way they were.

The terrified part I believe – the Conservatives seem to be terrified of most things and are determined that we should all feel the same way.

But really? After nine years, it is still the other guy’s fault. Lame does not begin to describe these people. It’s no wonder so many of them have decided to jump ship – even they can’t stand the whining.

Now we have the Prime Minister proposing a ‘tax lock’ act which will prevent any government from raising taxes. They commit to no increases themselves (though they don’t include fees and service charges which have skyrocketed under their administration) and challenge others to do the same.

Like balanced budget legislation and similar tax restrictions, these have been tried by various right wing governments around the world. It has led to two results. Either the very same governments revoke the legislation or when times are tough they fall into economic collapse. Of course, conservatives don’t mind fiscal crises; it gives them an excuse to cut services to people who need them.

In any case it is nonsense. You don’t even have to repeal the bill; you just need to include a clause that exempts this particular tax from the legislation. Parliament’s will is supreme – even over previous parliaments.

But it is typical of the simplistic – actually pathetic – thinking of the brains trust running the Harper administration. Everything is black and white and nothing ever changes which I guess is why they can’t take any of the blame when things go wrong.

People say that Harper is always the brightest guy in the room; it must be because he’s only in rooms with his fellow partisans.

And that’s ten minutes.


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