In a one-on-one interview today with Citynews’ Richard Madan, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said that he won’t take a GST hike off the table in dealing with the economic crisis.
Madan: “On the tax side, is it time to boost up the GST to its former levels of 6%? Do we need to that? Do you support raising the GST?”
Ignatieff: “I won’t be drawn at the moment where Canadian taxpayers and consumers are struggling with their bills, jacking up GST doesn’t sound to me like the greatest idea. But, let me be clear here: If we are in a deep deficit in year 3 or 4 you can’t exclude tax increases to get us out. Canadians understand how bad deficits are. So I’m not going to take a GST hike off the table… later, I just think it would be a bad idea now, in the recession.”
MADAN (Voiceover): But Dion has shifted his own tune lately, suggesting that Canada may be headed into recession. And he only mentioned his controversial Green Shift plan just once at the end of his speech.
MADAN (to Dion): You mentioned “recession” in your speech. So if indeed Canada does hit a recession will you delay implementing your carbon tax?
DION: First, it’s not that. It’s the Green Shift.
MADAN: No, I know. But the question is: if things get worse, will you delay implementing a carbon tax, Green Shift, whatever you want to call it? Will you delay it?
DION: It’s not carbon tax, it’s a Green Shift. It’s to put a cost…
MADAN (interupts): Will you delay it?
DION: No, because it’ll be good for the economy.
Did you get that? If Canada falls into recession, Dion believes his “don’t call it a carbon tax” Green Shift will be just want Canada needs to get out of the storm.
The Opposition parties have gone mad with attacks explaining that Mr. Harper doesn’t care about the economy because he’s not panicking. The opposition will be upset to learn that the World Economic Forum has declared Canada’s banking system the most stable in the world.
There have been cries of dissent from Dion’s own ranks on the Green Shift and it’s timetable for implementation. Liberal candidate Shawn Murphy told the Charlottetown Guardian on September 12th, “This winter, I don’t think you’re going to see the green shift even if the Liberals got elected.” Former Minister of Revenue John McCallum conceded about Dion’s carbon tax, “I cannot say to you that no Canadian will be unharmed by this… it’s not going to be totally painless for every human being”.
There’s an old saying that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While Mr. Dion’s plan aims to address environmental concerns with his plan, the ballot question will ask who is the best manager of the economy as crises become a daily occurrence in foreign markets. Canada has a sound economic position — indeed, the fundamentals are strong — and while members of his own team have second thoughts about his carbon tax, Mr. Dion is ready to add new untested variables to the economic equation in a time that calls for the kind of stability that comes from an economist Prime Minister rather than untested tax theory from a man who is not.