Team Martin will find it difficult to distance itself from Team McGuinty’s controversial budget and tax increase according to reports from the Toronto Star.
Robert Benzie reports that the McGuinty’s people hired top Martin adviser, David Herle, to do pre-polling and give advice on a budget which handed down the first tax increase in Ontario in about 10 years.
According to one senior Liberal insider:
“The McGuinty Liberals knew that the budget had to contain tough measures. They also knew they’d receive complaints about those measures from their federal cousins… So they made the smart strategic move of hiring Martin’s campaign co-chair to work for them… On the subject of health premiums and breaking (election) promises, Paul Martin’s closest adviser said: ‘Go ahead and do it.’“
McGuinty and Martin both play for “Team Liberal” and Martin’s top adviser gave advice to break Liberal election promises.
While Paul Martin may say that Harper “wants to do to Canada what Mike Harris did to Ontario, which is cut taxes prematurely, then have to cut social services to pay for them and leave the province very heavily indebted.”, Andrew Coyne notes:
“In the immediate aftermath of the McGuinty budget, Martin tried to turn it to his advantage, saying in effect, Mike Harris made him do it, owing to his “premature” tax cuts. The suggestion was that Harper’s tax cuts would force some future PM to do the same thing. Yet it’s just statistically untrue that Harris starved Ontario of revenues: The Harris government collected more revenues, even as a percentage of GDP, than either of its predecessors, and more than any government in Ontario history in real dollars per capita. You can look it up:
Average Revenues/GDP, fiscal years 1986-1995 (ie Liberal and NDP gov’ts): 14.6%
Average Revenues/GDP, fiscal years 1996-2004 (ie Conservative gov’ts I & II): 14.7%”
Vote Stephen Harper and you get fiscal conservatism. If you vote Paul Martin, which of his promises will be broken? (or “abandoned” as that is now the Liberal party’s preferred euphemism)