Here's something else that would advance our cause in Nova Scotia if we could only talk about it without the pious platitudes: taxation.
As it turns out the provincial government has its Tax and Regulatory Review on the case. This could be a very useful exercise if it actually goes to the root of the matter. But will it? Or is it meant to chow down on the prevailing dogma: that the only way forward is to reduce taxes, especially business taxes, and to avoid at all cost the heresy of topping up taxes for the highest earners.
Hopefully the review committee, led by public policy expert and former Ontario cabinet minister Laurel Broten, will take account of the problems with this creed.
Another golden moment is slipping away. I don't mean the Leafs (not only). I mean the Ontario election we might have had, the one about taxes, with a debate on what it means to be a society. I adore elections like that, rare as they are: the 1988 free trade election, the 1992 Charlottetown referendum (technically not an election, but still a vote). They stand out because they aren't about who wins; they're about what matters.
Premier Kathleen Wynne seemed up for it. She proposed solving the Metro transit catastrophe with "dedicated" taxes. She even teed them up: half a per cent to HST, a gas tax rise. Then she raised her bet: a provincial pension plan, since the Stephen Harper government won't do anything to address that situation.
For years, most pundits have concluded that any politician proposing higher taxes must be either brave or suicidal. These days, however, a growing number of leaders, across the spectrum, are willing to do precisely that. And instead of self-destruction, they may just be showing canny foresight.