MSM speculates about NDP-Tory alliance in Ontario

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Unionist
MSM speculates about NDP-Tory alliance in Ontario

oOoOoOo

Unionist

This is typical daydreaming stuff, replete with unattributed "sources". But is this a one-off, or is the MSM carrying more of this kind of speculation?

[url=http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/932457--cohn-playing-ontario... Ontario’s populist card from left to right[/url]

Quote:

Despite approaching Ontario politics from opposite ends of the spectrum, both [Hudak and Horwath] are casting themselves as tax fighters on the HST. They harp on pocketbook issues that strike a populist chord.

Even as a party of the left, the NDP has run hard against a tax that funds vital social programs and welfare benefits (and includes generous low-income tax credits). Privately, some labour leaders have questioned Horwath’s anti-HST crusade, which sounds like an echo of traditional Tory and Tea Party rhetoric.

Stockholm

This is all part of a Toronto Star strategy to try to drive a wedge between the NDP and progressive minded people. I think that the previous Queens Park columnist Jim Coyle made the mistake of giving Andrea Horwath some good press and so he was summarily fired and replaced with a new columnist who follows orders from the publisher and bashes the NDP at every opportunity.

BTW: How exactly can the HST "fund vital social programs" if its also supposedly "revenue neutral" and not giving the province one penny more in frevenue than they were getting from the PST?

mhandel

It is interesting how the journalist doesn't seem to understand that consumption taxes are regressive (i.e. people at the bottom end pay higher percentage of their income, than higher income people).

Life, the unive...

This article tells me two things

 

1.  Martin Regg Cohn doesn't know shit about the HST beyond dishonest Liberal talking points.

 

2. The Liberals, and thus the Star, are scared shitless of the positive impression Andrea Horwath will make with voters when they get a good look at her.

Lord Palmerston

LTU is right to raise that Cohn has adopted a Liberal talking point (there is a tax credit for low income earners but it ain't "generous")...so bring on the ONDP talking points instead!

Stockholm

Lord Palmerston wrote:

 The NDP is never going to get elected on a revolt on taxes. Never. The only ones who are going to benefit as a result of this fightback will be the Tories.

Actually, he is wrong. In the 1990 Ontario election the polls all showed that taxes were the number one issue and people also saw the NDP as the best party on the taxation issue and they won the election!

Unionist

Stockholm - you're saying "he is wrong" - you think the NDP was elected in 1990 "on a revolt on taxes"?

KenS

There is a point that the ONDP should not be engaging against the HST. And Ken Lewenza makes the point.

But the title and the quote used in the opening post are ovewrought rhetoric.

Fidel

Ken Lewenza wrote:
We do not want every Ontarian to think that taxes are bad.”

Then don't suggest they need raising at all the wrong times. Keynes would never have recommended raising taxes on working class people during a recession. Duh! That's what old line parties do when their bs neoliberal ideology doesn't work and they try swerving to the left. Theyre all over the damn road trying to look like just like Rae and Laughren after 16 years' worth of bashing the ONDP. I almost get the feeling they knew full well what their bad timing on HST would result in.

Fidel

Raise taxes on the working class in good times. That's Keynesian. Billions of dollars in wages are no longer circulating in Ontario's economy. They can't make up for that by raising taxes on people who no longer have jobs or are working for less pay than before.

The Liberals only want to look better on paper before the next election. That's not Keynesian - it's opportunism. Take the heat like every other provincial government does when they raise taxes at all the wrong times. Lobby their federal counterparts to quit the ideology.

Here's the deal, McGuinty Liberals. Working class Ontarians don't like taxes in bad economic times. Neither did Keynes. Ordinary people know that taxes are necessary. We are not stupid, so don't talk down to us. But when things are broken under a neoliberal scheme of things overall, we want things fixing not new slush funds diverted to banks and foreign creditor friends of the old parties in the end. So, fix it. Do it right this time. Dalton and BC Libs, your tweaking of taxes provincially isn't going to do anything other than suck more money out of prov. economies already starved of fuel.

Three decades three recessions. It's time.

Life, the unive...

Unionist wrote:

Stockholm - you're saying "he is wrong" - you think the NDP was elected in 1990 "on a revolt on taxes"?

Sometimes being long in the tooth is a good thing. 

I remember that election very well due to my involvement in it for the new Green party.  The issue was not a tax revolt (nor did Stockholm say that (which you clearly know)- it was tax fairness -something that still resinates with the HST issue.  And yes as strange as it may seen given the history that unfolded the NDP was seen as the party most likely to be fair with taxation and that was a major driving issue in that election.  That was much to my consternation by the way as we were trying to make the evironment a major issue (specificially acid rain) and it started out so promising, but pocket book issues and Liberal arrogance became the over-ridding themes.

By the way Lewenza's charaterization of the HST is entirely wrong.  The HST is a tax shift as a number of babblers have pointed out here in other threads in great detail.  Taxes have been shifted off of profitable corporations onto individuals, with no ability to pay provisions.  As as LP pointed out above the rebates are not 'generous'.  That claim is frankly offensive.  In the end the HST actually leaves the government with less money, not more to spend on social programs.  Anyone claiming to be a progressive and criticizing the NDP for attacking such a regressive move is frankly not very well informed.

Fidel

Liberal arrogance, oh aye. They are the Montreal Canadiens of politics. For decades at a time both teams owned the victory podium. Now not even the mathematically absurd electoral system is working for them. We need league parity in Ottawa and some key rule changes.

Unionist

Thanks, LP, for posting that item by Ken Lewenza. It appears to have generated some opposition here, but I'm not 100% sure which parts are being opposed.

Stockholm wrote:

Lord Palmerston wrote:

 The NDP is never going to get elected on a revolt on taxes. Never. The only ones who are going to benefit as a result of this fightback will be the Tories.

Actually, he is wrong. In the 1990 Ontario election the polls all showed that taxes were the number one issue and people also saw the NDP as the best party on the taxation issue and they won the election!

When I asked Stock whether he thought the NDP were elected in 1990 "on a revolt on taxes", Life etc. said that that wasn't what Stock had said, and furthermore that I knew it wasn't what he said.

Ok, maybe Stock can tell us what he said.

Then, this:

Life, the universe, etc. wrote:

By the way Lewenza's charaterization of the HST is entirely wrong.

Ok - now I have no idea, having read both Lewenza's piece and Life's posts, what Life is saying is "entirely wrong". Which part? What?

I personally found this important:

Ken Lewenza wrote:
The NDP is never going to get elected on a revolt on taxes. Never. The only ones who are going to benefit as a result of this fightback will be the Tories.

We have to concentrate our energies on jobs, on pensions, on precarious work, on the environment, and on good public services, because if we retreat from this our country and our provinces will be much different.

That rings very true to me.

Stockholm

A revolt against taxes led to the French revolution and also was a major step in India gaining its independent - look up the March to the sea led by Gandhi to stop the British salt tax!

Fidel

Lewenza is saying the ONDP shouldn't participate in a tax revolt at the same time he's warning McGuinty to tax fairly. Can't have it both ways with the Libs.

And the reason it doesn't work is there in so many dozen bankrupt US States today. They are afraid to tax the rich and so have taxed those least able to pay higher taxes. And they've done it leading up to and during another meltdown of the ideology which is madness. No wonder they are bankrupt down there, and it's where Ontario is headed with largest budget deficits in Canadian history and probably only second to Alberta's highest per capita deficits before Ralph raided the Heritage Fund down to sfa. We can't afford the ideology anymore. Go put on a red golf blazer or get off the throne, one or the other.

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:

A revolt against taxes led to the French revolution and also was a major step in India gaining its independent - look up the March to the sea led by Gandhi to stop the British salt tax!

So you think this is the way for the Ontario NDP to go? Just looking for an answer here. Because I want to believe that the same mistakes won't be made as in BC.

 

Life, the unive...

Yawn

 

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

Lewenza is saying the ONDP shouldn't participate in a tax revolt at the same time he's warning McGuinty to tax fairly. Can't have it both ways with the Libs.

Sorry, Fidel, elaborate on that - you're saying Lewenza and the labour movement shouldn't bother putting pressure on the government because it's Liberal and they will never listen? That instead, unions should "participate in a tax revolt"? Or what?

I need an example of one single progressive party or candidate in this country that has ever come to power, at any level of government, on a platform of eliminating some tax. Lewenza says the NDP will never win that way. He says we need to educate people that fair taxes are good - necessary - indispensable. I know that will be a hard sell, but the alternative is to join the National Citizens' Coalition and the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation and convince everyone that the NDP is a bigger and better tax-chopper than the Conservatives. That should be an easy sell.

 

Stockholm

A revolt led by the far left against Thatcher's regressive "poll tax" was key to forcing her out of poweer too.

Fidel

Unionist wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Lewenza is saying the ONDP shouldn't participate in a tax revolt at the same time he's warning McGuinty to tax fairly. Can't have it both ways with the Libs.

Sorry, Fidel, elaborate on that - you're saying Lewenza and the labour movement shouldn't bother putting pressure on the government because it's Liberal and they will never listen? That instead, unions should "participate in a tax revolt"? Or what?

Well someone in Ontario has been voting Liberal since 2003. 22% of registered voters gave these guys 100% of provincial power in last time I checked. If Lewenza thinks the McGuinty Liberals will listen to him now, then maybe he is the one who needs to elaborate.

 

Unionist wrote:
Lewenza says the NDP will never win that way.

And we're not talking about the whole province here just a phony majority of voters doing the choosing. Remember, it's FPP not true democracy we're dealing with here. And I just think we should be dealing with reality is all. Ontario voted conservative for 50 years. They're dabbling with Liberals since David "I think I can win a phony one in 1990" Petersen and Dalton "Pinocch'" McGuilty only relatively recently. Not all Ontarians understand why the cold war economics stopped working since the 1980s. They just want something to work.

Not everything just something, and tweaking taxes in a province like our's isn't going to do much and especially not with raising them for those least able to afford them in a recession. I'm pretty sure Keynes and New Dealer socialists would have agreed that raising taxes in a downturn is not what we want to do. Keynes would have said to raise taxes for those who can afford them. Herbert Hoover raised taxes on working class Americans, and it made the situation worse.

Today's US state governments have done the same, and the result is bankruptcy and high unemployment for more than 30 of them. McGuinty needs to get a plan that's his own not follow US conservatives into more debt and higher taxes in a recession. By all accounts it won't work. In fact, HST has made things worse in Ontario. I do not support raising taxes in a downturn either. More fuel not less.

Doug

Unionist wrote:

He says we need to educate people that fair taxes are good - necessary - indispensable. I know that will be a hard sell, but the alternative is to join the National Citizens' Coalition and the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation and convince everyone that the NDP is a bigger and better tax-chopper than the Conservatives. That should be an easy sell.

 

Just because a generally higher level of taxes would be a good thing does not mean that all means of achieving that are a good thing. Furthermore, higher taxes are only a good thing when what the revenue buys is worth it. A tax increase spent on collecting all the Faberge eggs in the world probably wouldn't be very useful.

bekayne

Stockholm wrote:

Lord Palmerston wrote:

 The NDP is never going to get elected on a revolt on taxes. Never. The only ones who are going to benefit as a result of this fightback will be the Tories.

Actually, he is wrong. In the 1990 Ontario election the polls all showed that taxes were the number one issue and people also saw the NDP as the best party on the taxation issue and they won the election!

Brian Mulroney was also the Prime Minister at the time & was bringing in the GST. It would have been impossible for the PCs to benefit from the issue of taxes

Lord Palmerston

Though the Reform Party certainly did.  

Unionist

Doug wrote:

Just because a generally higher level of taxes would be a good thing ...

Never said that, Doug. No one ever said that - ever - I'd venture to guess.

Quote:
... Furthermore, higher taxes are only a good thing when what the revenue buys is worth it.

Who is proposing "higher taxes"? Taxes should be raised for the wealthy and the corporations. They should be lowered for low-income working people. There is no need whatsoever to raise or lower them for the vast majority in between.

Your point about what taxes are spent on is very well taken. That's one reason why a "lower taxes" campaign is wrong-headed. It never gets around to addressing the priorities of public spending. If it did, it would say things like, "slash military spending, cut off the oil barons without a penny", etc. You won't hear that from Bill Vander Zalm, now, will you? Their interest is to make the filthy rich still filthier and richer.

Which brings me to my question. Did you read LP's quote from Lewenza above, and if so, what do you think of what he said?

 

Fidel

Stockholm wrote:

A revolt led by the far left against Thatcher's regressive "poll tax" was key to forcing her out of power too.

There is no such thing as society Thatcher the Snatcher. Anymore.

But Maggie was a national level leader raising taxes on tens of millions more people. She had to try something as the neoliberalology was pauperizing a nation even after abandoning tight money by 1986. They needed a crash cart by then not more conservative witch doctoring  with tweaking taxes.

Lord Palmerston

Unionist wrote:
Privately, some labour leaders have questioned Horwath’s anti-HST crusade, which sounds like an echo of traditional Tory and Tea Party rhetoric.

Indeed.  Ken Lewenza is right to warn of the dangers of jumping on the anti-tax bandwagon.

Ken Lewenza wrote:
I said to the Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, "Andrea, the harmonized sales tax, as unpopular as it may be, cannot be an issue from the progressive side. It can't be an issue that makes Ontarians more cynical about taxes. We want to pay taxes. We want a civil society. We want health care. We want education. We want infrastructure. We do not want every Ontarian to think that taxes are bad.”

That does not mean the CAW supports the harmonized sales tax in its entirety. Obviously, they’ve got to give tax credits to seniors, tax credits to lower paid people and should exclude certain things. I have already said to Dalton McGuinty, on the advice of Jim Stanford, that he better not exclude the financial sector which is being contemplated today, because they make a helluva lot of money and should pay taxes for a civil society.

We are arguing about elements of the harmonized sales tax, but brothers and sisters, don't buy into this tax rage because if you do, as progressives, we will be destroyed because you need taxes for a just society, as a society that cares for one another. This union has always taken the position of fair taxation. Fair taxation doesn't mean harmonized sales tax. It doesn't mean PST, it doesn't mean GST. It means a fairer taxation policy.

At the end of the day this is not an issue that the labour movement should take on. We cannot join the Tories. We cannot join those that believe that we're over taxed, because if we believe we're over taxed, the next time you go to hospital, take your credit card. The next time a sewer in your neighbourhood has to be fixed, take your credit card. The next time you want garbage collection, take your credit card. The next time you jump on transit and see the increases that the private sector will develop vs. the public sector, take your credit card.

We've got to continue to fight for good jobs, good wages, pay fair taxes and fight for a civil society through that tax base.

I know there's a lot of controversy on this but the only ones who will have anything to gain will not be Ontarians. Do you know who is going to gain? The Conservative Party. The NDP is never going to get elected on a revolt on taxes. Never. The only ones who are going to benefit as a result of this fightback will be the Tories.

We have to concentrate our energies on jobs, on pensions, on precarious work, on the environment, and on good public services, because if we retreat from this our country and our provinces will be much different.

 

http://www.caw.ca/assets/pdf/Ken_report-dec09-final.pdf

edmundoconnor

Fidel wrote:

Stockholm wrote:

A revolt led by the far left against Thatcher's regressive "poll tax" was key to forcing her out of power too.

There is no such thing as society Thatcher the Snatcher. Anymore.

But Maggie was a national level leader raising taxes on tens of millions more people. She had to try something as the neoliberalology was pauperizing a nation even after abandoning tight money by 1986. They needed a crash cart by then not more conservative witch doctoring  with tweaking taxes.

It was actually 'Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher' after her decision to stop free milk to schoolchildren, while Secretary of Education and Science in the Heath government.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Cohn's analysis is simplistic, if it even qualifies as an analysis.

The NDP is not echoing the Conservatives' stance on the HST. Their positions on it are entirely different. The NDP is right to point out that the HST is part of a massive tax shift away from corporations and onto the backs of individuals. That's something that the Conservatives in Ottawa not only don't have a problem with, but are paying the provinces to implement.

That said, Andrea is right to say that the Liberals should not take NDP support for granted in a minority situation. Let the voters vote, then we'll see who has enough support in the legislature to form a government.

Lord Palmerston

Scott Piatkowski wrote:
The NDP is not echoing the Conservatives' stance on the HST. Their positions on it are entirely different. The NDP is right to point out that the HST is part of a massive tax shift away from corporations and onto the backs of individuals. 

There are legitimate critiques of the HST package raised by the NDP, but the way this issue has been framed differs very little from that of the Hudak Tories.  The ONDP has the "Unfair Tax Grab", the Tories have "Dalton's tax on everything."   The message of both of these campaigns is that taxes are a burden to be avoided.

Life, the unive...

The NDP- never met a tax it didn't like

I'm sure you would like that better.  Unfair tax grab is substantivly different than a tax on everything.  The HST IS an unfair tax grab that increases taxes on individuals and gives it to corporations - sort of a reverse Robin Hood.  There is lots to criticize with the Ontario NDP, but this isn't one of the things.

Lord Palmerston

I'd like to see the NDP run on Robin Hood type themes - but that's not something the party so-called "modernizers" can get behind.

duncan cameron

Stock's recollections jibe with mine. Rae won brandishing a list of corporations that paid no income tax. The numbers were done for the Federal NDP, I used them in two columns for the Financial Post. Rae was/is a great orator; he made the most of those numbers, calling for a Fair Tax Commission which he subsequently created. It produced a very good report. The government brought in a corporate minimum tax.

This built on opposition to the GST led by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the Action Canada Network. The Ontario Federation of Labour (with Sec.-Treasurer Julie Davis who was then Ontario NDP president playing a big role) ran a very successful Fair Tax Campaign. Over a million people signed OFL petitions in Ontario (before the internet) on the issue, not long before the very unexpected Rae Victory.

Now the sad part. Rae got defeated by Mike Harris, the "tax fighter" using Reform style faux populist politics, to stage a pretend tax revolt. Rae ran on himself, consigning his Fair Tax Commission report to the dustbin, sadly. In 1995, the Federal government reduced transfers to the provinces. They hated seeing Harris get the credit for tax cuts. Harris did his number on the poor, education, health, recreation, culture, etc. to pay for the cuts.

In BC Jack Layton calls the HST the Harper Sales Tax. He is on to something. At his town hall here he exclaimed "too bad" Ontario is not like BC where there is widespread citizen opposition to unfair taxes.

Consumption taxes are fine so long as you re-distribute income, which we don't in Canada to any degree. We are not similar to high consumption tax countries in Europe on that score. We also do not make corporations pay real taxes on value added by their employees. limiting ourselves to rather small CPP contributions, and UI premiums at the Federal level, and very little in the provinces (health and safety maybe).

The NDP should always call for fair taxes, and attack unjust taxes. Northing should be said that is not research backed. N.B. the pro-consumption tax people around labour are significant players in part because labour researchers differ on the issue as debates on babble have revealed. Personally I am against making people who have less income pay more in taxes proportionately that those who have more income. Go Andrea go.

The GST/HST turned business into tax collectors, and then reduced their taxes. Lots of "independent" workers went underground by not registering for the GST. Many poor people do no get the GST credit. The GST was probably the worst public policy of the last 40 years along with free trade. Thanks Brian. Forever lying Brian for good reason.

 

 

Fidel

Ayup, that post was a ringer.

KeyStone

Well, despite Andrea's marketing of the anti-HST, her real problem is not with the tax, but with the corporate tax breaks that make the HST necessary. We are trasnferring the tax burden from profitable corporations and moving them on to regular people.

Hudak on the other hand has no problem with corporate tax breaks, he just has a problem with taxes in general.

There really isn't any common ground here.