Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Harper flip-flops again

Well, the intrigue on the Hill continues. I now appears that Harper is trying to drive a wedge between the NDP and the Liberals on the budget. Now, after weeks of railing against the "monsters" in government he is willing to support the original (read: Conservative) budget as put forth by the "corrupt" Liberal Party back in February.

Let's not be too quick to think he's given up, or "blinked" as wonderdog indicates. I personally see this as another move on his part to "have his cake and eat it too." That is, he can still force and election on the second vote. Then he can say that he supported the budget but no the "deal with the Devil." That would take a lot of wind out of the Liberal sails in an election. And Harper can continue to demonize the NDP as spenders and creators of deficits.

Never mind that nothing in the NDP ammendments does anything to create a deficit. The books are still balanced. Only instead of the corporate tax rate dropping from 21% to 19 % it stays where it is. The $4.6 Billion that this cut would have given to the largest corporations now goes to housing and the environment.

Never mind that this new version of the budget is the reason the Liberals have enjoyed a resurgence. The deal has been hailed by various provincial governments and endorsed by the Toronto Star as a good deal for Canada.

Never mind that two day in a row, TD Canada Trust, one of the country's largest financial institutions, has indicated that Canada's largest coprorations don't need corproate tax cuts because they haven't done anything with the cuts they have already recieved - the have made record profits but have not re-invested their cuts or created any new jobs.

Never mind that the same TD Canada Trust further reported that the poorest of Canadians have a disproportionalty high tax burden, thanks to the GST [I'll find that link and post it soon].

If Paul Martin is smart, and the events of the last couple of days show he just might be, he would continue pressing on with the NDP ammendments. They would increase his popularity and hammer the final nail in the coffin of Stephen Harper. Not only will Harper have failed to support the tax cuts when he had the chance, he failed to stop the Liberals and NDP from doing something he detests - public spending. If both measures pass, I would expect to see Harper trying to draw EI benefits by the fall.


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