Saturday, March 01, 2008

Doesn't He See the Hole He is Digging?

Flaherty seems determined to continue to bash Ontario and it's Premier. It's inconceivable to me that this is just petty rivalry at that level of government, but I'm really beginning to wonder. There is obviously no love loss between these two, but Flaherty is now openly lying to Ontarians and it's not just to the masses, who have difficulty navigating the Federal/Provincial responsibilities. No, he's making these comments to people in the know and those who proclaim themselves to be fiscal conservatives are calling him out on it.

Without getting too mired into the detail of what Flaherty is criticising McGuinty of, it boils down to this. Flaherty's ideology dictates that he call for more tax cuts at every turn, get rid of national programs, shovel dribs and drabs of money to the provinces and let them deal with social and other programmes.

Ideology aside, Flaherty insists on throwing kerosene on the fire by making statements that are untrue and pointing the finger at McGuinty. For instance, he says that Ontario has the highest business tax in the country. Not true. More than lies, the article points out the hypocrisy of Flaherty's statements.

In Jim Flaherty's mind, it's always time to lower taxes. It's what he preached when he was in the Ontario legislature and it's the sermon he's been giving since he arrived in Ottawa, with particular emphasis on the sins of Dalton McGuinty's government for failing to "to understand the long-term benefits of tax relief."

The Finance Minister has a track record, however. The Ontario government in which he served for eight years cut taxes - although corporate reductions came late in its tenure - and it created more than a million jobs.
But it also left behind attenuated social programs and a $5.6-billion deficit. As well, although Mr. Flaherty is now keen on the provinces harmonizing their retail sales taxes with the GST, he made no move toward that in his 15 months as Ontario's finance minister.

True enough. I've never heard a journalist ask him if he ever sought to harmonize taxes.

Here's the point though. A recent poll asked about the reaction to what Flaherty is doing and it wasn't favourable.

Nationally, the poll suggests 47 per cent of respondents sided with Mr. McGuinty, with only 27 per cent backing Mr. Flaherty.

In Ontario, the poll found 56 per cent support for the Premier and 25 per cent for the minister.

I know this post is a navel gazing, an Ontario-centric concern, but look at the national numbers. He's impressing few. He doesn't seem bothered by that, but it does not bode well. The con's think they have the 905 locked up, but guess what? That is where manufacturers are located and that is who he is refusing to help. That is who he is ticking off.

He's living in a different time and his ideology has not moved on. This is what perplexes me so much about conservatism. It's regressive in my view, but my bias aside, if you just analyse what they really represent, it's their status quo that goes back years, decades and more.

I implore my conservative commenters to tell me how their ideology deals with the future, how it fit's in. What do you offer that looks forward? How have you adapted to the changing landscape? I suggest you have not. You live in past times that you would like to revive and miss the point that they do not exist anymore.

On the same subject, but a lighter note. Jane Taber did her in-depth reporting and uncovered this:

Relations between Harper Tories and McGuinty Liberals. Ontario Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Jim Watson ran into federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at a downtown Toronto hotel on Wednesday, the day after the budget.

Mr. Watson says he "berated" the minister for not including any new money for affordable housing. According to Mr. Watson, Mr. Flaherty replied: "I love beating up on you guys - you're not a very good government." Mr. Watson reminded him that the McGuinty Liberals had won back-to-back majority governments. He said that Mr. Flaherty then "scoffed" at the idea of putting money into social housing and said, "We have no constitutional role to play in housing." Mr. Watson called that an odd answer given that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is a federal Crown corporation.

Mr. Flaherty's recollection of the conversation is different: "He didn't say he loved beating up on Ontario," says his spokesman Chisholm Pothier, who asked him about the chance meeting. "He reiterated to Watson that he will keep pushing the message that Ontario must lower its taxes because the high taxes are a drag on the economy. Watson did not reply with a crack about two majorities, he moved right into affordable housing."

Who knows the truth, but if I were a betting woman, Flaherty's record is pretty clear.

I wonder this though. Is it possible that he is trying to set McGuinty and the Lib's up? Included in that list, maybe John Tory? Maybe he's thinking about taking over the Con leadership and being Premier? I'm just thinking out loud here, but if that is his aim I think he ignores that people have something called a memory. He obviously does not.

Well done!


wilson said...

The poll doesn't say what the question is, but I think it was along this line
' which Mr. McGuinty accuses Mr. Flaherty of concentrating too much on the oil-and-gas sector, and giving short shrift to troubled manufacturers...'

Ahhhh, Everyone loves to hate big oil and Alberta.

It is puzzling why he keeps poking at McGuinty.
Maybe those in the know think he is going to take a run at Dion's job??? So he's getting a head start on the defining him thing...?

Karen said...

lol wilson, cute theory.

It is weird though isn't it?

Anonymous said...

He wants the top tory job in Ontario for his wife and he wants her as premier of ontario. He has short legs and a very'BIG HEAD'.............granny

Karen said...

Hmmm, now there is a thought granny. She's the critic for Women's Issues right?

Shudder. With her at the helm of Ontario while here husband was still in government doesn't bear thinking!

Dante said...

If the Ontario economy tanks relative to the rest of Canada, it will my McShitty who wears it. What will really kill the liberals is if Ontario becomes a have not province for the first time since confederation.

Karen said...

dante, in theory you are right, except the theory has changed and based on that poll, most Canadians get that.

The world has changed and Flaherty has failed to see that, stuck deep in his ideological rut.

If Flaherty wasn't being so openly beligerent toward Ontario, you might still have a point, but it's way past that.

Even Hazel McCallion is berating Flaherty and she's no Liberal.

Karen said...

For those interested in this subject, I just added an update. McGuinty wrote to Harper pointing out just how inappropriate this game is.

Considering my next post, I'm not sure Harper will care, but according to the recent poll, Canadians and the people of Ontario do.