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No surprise here

Harper sees no electoral benefit to aiding cities – outside of Calgary and Edmonton, the Conservatives popularity in Canadian urban centres are low- and he obviously feels that he won’t receive any tangible electoral benefit from sending them aid, so it’s no surprise he would reject financial aid for the cities.

Harper doesn’t believe in government investing to aid cities – he believes the magic answer is to have a low corporate income tax rate, and that will magically solve the problem. Tell that to the people of London Ontario, who are still struggling to fix a massive sinkhole in the downtown caused by aging water mains and pipes breaking, and tell that to other cities, who also are trying to find funds to update infrastructure. A lower corporate income tax rate does nothing but line the pockets of Big Business – it does nothing to address the cities needs where those corporations are based out of.

14 comments to No surprise here

  • ALW

    Mike,

    Well – if you’re going to attack the Tories for being big spenders (good for you) then I certainly hope you leap to the Tories’ defence when the other parties lambaste them for being radical neocons implementing a far-right agenda.
    My stance on the GST is that an income tax cut is better, but any tax cut is still better than no tax cut.  And my stance is also, if the PCs had to suffer electoral annihilation for implementing an economically smarter tax that no one defended them for when they brought it in, I find it a bit rich that many of those who used to oppose the tax for political reasons now support it, in a sudden revelation of faith in what most economists say.  Most economists will also tell you about the array of negative side-effects to minimum wage laws too, but I don’t see the left listening to them on that issue.
    Yes yes the Tories “raised” the basic exemption from 15 to 15.5% after being elected, in the sense that they cancelled the fly-by-night cut that the Martin Liberals smuggled in under the cover of night immediately before a writ period and after the Tories had costed out their election platform.  Yes, I’m sure our opponents would have given us a pass if we’d just tossed the entire platform budgeting out the window in order to make up for the last minute Liberal policy whim.
    It doesn’t matter whether Canadians understand the intracicies of ss.91-92 or not.  Regardless, the constitution applies.  And while yes, a government could give money to areas that are outside of its jurisdiction, wouldn’t that seem just a tad hypocritical coming from a government that is attempting to restrict the federal spending power?  What is the constitutional basis for spending money on areas that a government can’t even regulate?  It is the power to pass laws from which the impetus to spend money flows.  Otherwise, there’s no legal framework for spending at all.
    You speak as if the large cities uniformly oppose the CPC.  The CPC got more votes in the GTA than the NDP – its just spread out in such a way that the Tories don’t win any seats.  So what?  The prescription from the Tories opponents seems to be to adopt principles and policies they are against in order to curry favour with those who don’t like them.  Bizarre.
    If you can speak for all of Ottawa then you must have a helluva good finger on the pulse of the entire city.

  • Shit, I used HTML tags on that last post instead of using the buttons. OOOOPS!

    The GST cut enables any province to raise their own PST by 1% (or even 2%) and hand that money directly to the municipal governments. That Miller and a handful of other mayors (along with the Toronto Star) insist on pillorying the feds for not handing over the cash is proof that they are more interested in engaging in ideological battles and partisan cheapshots rather than accomplishing anything for their cities. The Toronto Star has spent the last two weeks bemoaning the "lost opportunity" that went into the GST cut, but I have not read a single article in that paper suggesting that McGuinty step up and take the measure that the feds refused to take. As for Dion’s promise of cutting income taxes (by the way, when did income taxes become personal taxes? Is the GST not paid by persons as well?), he hasn’t once stated how much he’d cut them. The 1% drop in the GST saves taxpayers almost $6 billion a year. Dion has not committed himself to chopping $6 billion off income taxes; he’s been very noncommittal on that. Given his spending plans (national daycare, more Green Program spending, 30/50, etc…) his tax cuts are not likely to be anywhere near as deep. My own personal preference would have been to see two points shaved off each income tax rate, instead of the two points the Tories knocked off the GST. However, until I see a concrete plan where Dion says EXACTLY which income tax brackets he’d cut, and by how much, I call bullshit on his entire tax policy. While no fan of Dion or the Liberals, I want them to come up with a concrete income tax cutting proposal. The Tories have fulfilled their GST promise; now they need to focus on chipping away at income taxes. Without any Opposition pressure to do so, I worry the income tax cuts will not be nearly as deep as they should be.That’s better. Can you delete my first comment please. Thanks.

  • The GST cut enables any province to raise their own PST by 1% (or even 2%) and hand that money directly to the municipal governments. That Miller and a handful of other mayors (along with the <i>Toronto Star</i>) insist on pillorying the feds for not handing over the cash is proof that they are more interested in engaging in ideological battles and partisan cheapshots rather than accomplishing anything for their cities. The <i>Toronto Star</i> has spent the last two weeks bemoaning the "lost opportunity" that went into the GST cut, but I have not read a single article in that paper suggesting that McGuinty step up and take the measure that the feds refused to take.

    As for Dion’s promise of cutting income taxes (by the way, when did income taxes become <i>personal</i> taxes? Is the GST not paid by <i>persons</i> as well?), he hasn’t once stated how much he’d cut them. The 1% drop in the GST saves taxpayers almost $6 billion a year. Dion has not committed himself to chopping $6 billion off income taxes; he’s been very noncommittal on that. Given his spending plans (national daycare, more Green Program spending, 30/50, etc…) his tax cuts are not likely to be anywhere near as deep.

    My own personal preference would have been to see two points shaved off each income tax rate, instead of the two points the Tories knocked off the GST. However, until I see a concrete plan where Dion says EXACTLY which income tax brackets he’d cut, and by how much, I call bullshit on his entire tax policy. While no fan of Dion or the Liberals, I <i>want</i> them to come up with a concrete income tax cutting proposal. The Tories have fullfilled their GST promise; now they need to focus on chipping away at income taxes. Without any Opposition pressure to do so, I worry the income tax cuts will not be nearly as deep as they should be.

  • Olaf Olafson

    Wow, Harper sure is a super villian, he did 15 years worth of damage to the Canadian cities infrastructure in less than two years.
    Or could it have been the neglect of the liberals, they were pretty busy stealing so they probably didn’t have time to actually govern.
    Is the concern actually for the cities, or are we just playing partisan politics?

  • zoop

    Look closely at this issue an you will see the differences between Grits and Tories in Canada.

    Harper has in fact massively increased transfers to the provinces, well in excess of any tax cuts announced to date. This funding is distributed equally according to population, unlike previous governments which used its ‘spending power’ to play political games to win votes, and pit one region against another. Under the Tories we have increased, stable and predicable transfers to the provinces, and a similarly stable and predictable equalization program.

    This is a significant (if a little boring) improvement to the the way our federation operates. By making transfers and equalization stable and predictable, the spending power is transfered to the provinces, where it belongs.

    Its up to the provinces to sort our their own spending priorities, they have the money and the constitutional responsibility. What has McGuinty done with increased funding so far, other than launch partisan attacks against Harper?

  • Observant

    Toronto is not Canada ..!!!

  • I think of Aaron as a Scott Tribe watchdog. It’s pretty funny, actually.

    Oh and I guess my comment would be… what’s McGuinty talking to the Feds about money for the cities?

  • In saying "Harper sees no electoral benefit to aiding cities – outside of Calgary and Edmonton" would you think he might be even punishing the majority of masjor urban centres for not voting Conservative? or would you suggest he’s not so much purposely punishing, but it just happens to be an indirect consequence?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCheV4JP2Cw

  • Nuke the Wudrick Troll

    Unless you don’t consider Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Barrie, Kitchener, Peterborough, St.Catharines, Ottawa, Quebec City, Chicoutimi and St.John’s cities.  Because all those places elected Tory MPs.  And they’ll elect them again.

    You fucking troll.  Those places are an economic drain on Canada.

  • Aaron,

    I’m merely pointing out the hypocrisy of the Conservative Party again.

    When they produce a TV ad that smears Dion with lies, they rely on the fact that most Canadians don’t really understand that lowering the GST was not as good an idea as lowering personal income taxes, something every economist I have read agrees with (I wonder what your stance, as an economist, is). No they are playing on the ignorance and ‘teh GST bad’ attitude of Canadians. So even if Dion says he will raise the GST and lower other taxes, making a better tax program where we pay lower taxes, the Conservatives will accuse him of a ‘tax grab’. Liars.  Might I remind you that the last GST cut was paid for by the CPC raising the basic exemption from 15 to 15.5%, meaning you guys already did exactly what Dion is considering doing, but with the taxes in the reverse order

    But when it comes to not providing funding to cities, all of a sudden Canadians are smart enough to know the intricacies of Section 91 and 92 and will forgive him. You know those sections mean that Ottawa cannot pass laws with respect to municipalities, but there is nothing that would prevent them from say, giving tax money directly to the cities and then taking that money out of what is transfered the province (an idea Jane Jacobs once presented to Paul Martin). Nothing.

    As for "not doing what the citizens of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto want”, feel free to keep up that kind of attitude. I don’t claim to represent all urban Canada, but I know math and the populations of Toronto (GTA) Montreal and Vancouver  are around 17 million people or 50% of Canada’s population. If the CPC want to alienate them, go for it.

    "Unless you don’t consider Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Barrie, Kitchener, Peterborough, St.Catharines, Ottawa, Quebec City, Chicoutimi and St.John’s cities.  Because all those places elected Tory MPs.  And they’ll elect them again. "

    I can speak for Ottawa in that list, and our city is none too happy with the Feds for a whole host of reasons.

    I personally would prefer to pay NO taxes to the feds, but if I am, I hope it comes back to me in better services. Right now it isn’t.

    Meaning with an 8% increase in spending in the last budget and nothing to show for it, the Cons are no better, and in some cases worse than the Liberals.

  • ALW

    Good grief Mike.  I’m not sure if you’re implying that, because “regular Canadians’ don’t have an understanding of how the constitution works, that somehow means the constitution doesn’t apply.  But I’m sure you don’t mean to imply that, because folks like yourself like to hold up the constitution and the Charter when you like it, and ignore it when you don’t.  There’s nothing stopping the constitutionally appropriate level of government – the provincial government – from handing over more money to municipalities.  And there’s nothing stopping provinces from raising taxes to fill in the tax room created by federal tax cuts either.  But because Premiers aren’t willing to spend the political capital to do it, somehow that’s Harper’s fault.  Sorry: when Harper makes decisions about matters under his government’s jurisdiction, then he’s responsible.  You can pretend that he’s responsible for things that, constitutionally, he isn’t, but that doesn’t make it true. I don’t know who appointed you as spokesperson for all urban Canadians, but when those people say they want the money back into their cities, they could just as easily mean into their own pockets.All this nonsense about Harper abandoning “cities” is code for “not doing what the citizens of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto want”.  Unless you don’t consider Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Barrie, Kitchener, Peterborough, St.Catharines, Ottawa, Quebec City, Chicoutimi and St.John’s cities.  Because all those places elected Tory MPs.  And they’ll elect them again. 

  • So, observant, let see if I have this straight – regular Canadians are of course nuanced and smart enough to understand the division of powers as laid out in Sec 91 and 92, so they will completely understand when the Tories tell them to screw off, we won’t give any of your own money back…its a jurisdiction thing…but they aren’t nuanced and smart enough to understand that lowering the GST was bad economically and that a Liberal plan to raise the GST while lowering personal taxes better (according to well, almost every economist asked so far). Hence your lying Dion commercials (and as a libertarian, I don’t give a rat a** about Dion, but those commercials are absolute lies).

    Nice of you to admit that Harper is screwing over cities to make himself look good though. The honesty from you guys is refreshing. Yes there is only one taxpayer and if Harper can make the feds look irresponsible while forcing the provinces and cities into deficient, great. I mean, that’s what his Finance Minister did here in Ontario when Mike Harris screwed over this province.

    The cities want more of the taxes they already pay to Ottawa to come back to them, not be spent, for instance on $1.5+ billion in yearly subsidies to the Tar sands, with record profits and oil over $90 per barrel, and have most of the oil go to the US. Do you get it yet? 90% of Canadians live in urban centres and pay most of the taxes in Canada. They want more of their money to come back to where they live. Harper says no, he has other plans, like sending it to some of his corporate buddies to the tune of $7,5 billion in no-bid military contracts for equipment the CF says it doesn’t want or use. Or ensuring there is enough of it around to send to the various Conservative riding associations who are trying to use the In and Out scandal to defraud the taxpayer out of millions in fake refunds. If Harper really was so concerned, he’d make sure, some way or another, almost all of the money a region paid in went back to it.  Its called subsidiarity. But then, he couldn’t try to buy votes, could he?

    I have news for you – there is nothing in the constitution that prevents the Feds from merely giving money to cities. Nothing. Not Section 91 and 92. Nothing.

    The only moron here is you.

  • Clinton

    Wasn’t is Stephan Dion who said the Liberals wanted larger corporate and business tax cuts?  Maybe I misunderstood his Franglish.

  • Observant

    You are such a moron !!!  Cities are the creation of provinces and constitutionally not part of the federal government.  What you are suggesting is that cities should beg for aid from the federal government when their provincial governments refuse to help them … like some third world entities ..!!!!

    Harper is trying to shrink the grossly obese federal government by cutting back federal taxation, and when he gets the necessary majority government he will start to cut out the Liberal-infested fat from Ottawa.  Goodbye Liberal-created and financed make-work advocacy groups parasitically sucking off the taxpayer.

    But looking at Toronto, premier McGuinty gave Toronto new taxing powers so they could raise local taxation.  Harper gave Torontonians a GST and personal tax cuts.  So why doesn’t the corpulent Toronto City government just raise taxes for their particular needs?

    The cities want ‘free money’ from Ottawa, so city politicians can avoid raising local taxes and risk their political arses … after all there is only one taxpayer … which is something you conveniently ignore .. ergo moron.

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