Friday, September 11, 2009
The anti-deficit platform. Today Finance Minister Jim Flaherty just announced that Canada would continue to run a deficit until 2015. People still remember the Liberals' record on the Canadian debt, a record that remains unstained and separate by their other problems that eventually got them run out of office.
So far here's Ignatieff's explanation on how he will slay the deficit: "Wait and see". Pretty lame performance so far. If I were in his place I would advocate a return of the GST to 7%. It may seem like a suicidal move to do so, but I think many voters understand that Canada simply doesn't have the tax base to run a surplus in times of economic crisis, and it would be easy to promote it as a return to sound fiscal policy, especially so since the Liberals had nothing to do with its reduction to 5%.
Will he run on that platform? I doubt it. But an increase in the GST is one of the main ways in which the Liberals could distinguish themselves from the Conservatives in the upcoming election if the other parties choose to make it happen. EI payments, foreign relations, treatment of overseas Canadians etc. just isn't going to do it.
To make it even more palatable, just combine a rise in the GST with a slight drop in income tax at the same time. Propose that 25-50% or so of the extra revenue would go towards that for example.