Politics - Federal

Another Federal Election Coming?

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 19, 2009

Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff has announced that the Liberals will not support a Conservative budget next week if it includes tax cuts.

"This budget has three simple tests that it must pass," Ignatieff told Liberal MPs and Senators. "Will it protect the most vulnerable? Will it save jobs? And most important of all, will it create the jobs of tomorrow?"

As they position themselves in advance of the budget, the Liberals argue that, while they generally favour income-tax cuts, it's the wrong approach during the recession.

"We don't want to see the Prime Minister come up with the kind of broad-based tax cuts that put Canada in a permanent, structural deficit once we recover from this (recession)," Liberal finance critic Scott Brison (Kings-Hants) told CTV yesterday as his party gathered in Ottawa for the caucus meeting.

The argument, shared by the Big City Mayors Caucus, is that any additional consumer money from tax cuts will go into savings, not spending.

As evidence for this the Liberals note the failure of US President George W. Bush's tax cuts last year to circulate more money in the economy.

Instead, the Liberals argue, the government should stimulate the economy through urban renewal projects, increases to Employment Insurance payments, more funds for skills training, and more money for affordable housing.

Collision Course

This appears destined for a collision course with the Conservative budget, which is expected to feature tax cuts prominently.

The $30 million question, if the Liberals vote down the budget, is what will happen next.

The Liberal-NDP coalition supported by the Bloc Quebecois that was established last November to form a government after voting down the new Harper government has not been disbanded, despite the fact that Harper managed to avoid a vote of non-confidence by proroguing Parliament until January 27.

However, the coalition has proven widely unpopular outside of Quebec. This may be due to widespread public misunderstanding about how the Parliamentary system works, but it could also be due to public disapproval of former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, who led the Liberals to an historically poor showing in last October's federal election.

With growing public fear about the global economic crisis and Dion's replacement with Ignatieff, public sentiment toward a coalition government may improve, especially as the Conservatives are vulnerable to the criticism that they have failed to respond in an adequate or timely way to the recession.

At the same time, public approval for the Liberal Party itself improved some eight percent after Ignatieff was appointed leader, and the Liberals are now statistically tied with the Conservatives.

As a result, the Liberals may decide that their chances of electoral victory are better if they disband the coalition and run as a single party.

Working against this strategy is the fact that the Liberal Party is still broke from the previous election. It's hard to see how they could afford to run another election right away.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 19, 2009 at 21:52:01

The liberals are concerned about the most vulnerable? Now isn't that a joke, they are just as bad as the conversatives, they could care less. Look the provincial liberals, yes, cut the grandparents of ROCK and all other grandparents off temporary care assistance, slash the special diet, revamp an Ontario Child Tax Beneifts, so the people are actually get less then before, get rid of the back to school allowance and winter clothing allowance. They have never changed Workfare or the Elect to Work. They have disregarded many workers in the temp industry by not enforcing statue labour law in regards to stat holiday pay, overtime, they have let the temp companies cite law that is non existant within the Act. They have allowed the temp companies to deny workers their rights to Employment Benefits, when unjustly dismissed and WSIB when injuried. Yes the liberals are good at taking away from those the most vulnerable and putting back into their pockets, remember the 27% raise they gave themselves. There is no difference between the two main parties, talk is cheap and their actions have spoken loudly.

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By Smokin (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2009 at 06:56:51

Grass is smokin again! I suppose Grass supports the Harris approach or the NDP-Bob Rae approach; on the one hand we saw every public service decimated; on the other we saw the province brought to its financial knees.

The Liberals brought in universal day care and layton/NDP killed it and brought in Harper....now isn't that a fine kettle of fish!

Pronvicially we have had labour peace and prosperity; now that we are hit by a world wide depression we have a kinder gentler govenment to look after things.

Grass hasn't just sipped the lefty Kool-Aid, he has drowned in it!

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 20, 2009 at 08:59:43

Smokin: Is that all you can do is try and insult me? The facts speak for themselves, your liberals are no better then the conversatives. But then of course, you are not one of those that sit at the bottom are you?

If you are going to give a valid rebuttal then focus in on the issues.

So please explain where did all the money go from the HRDC boondoggle or how about adscam? How much of the public money has disappeared, you know the 250 million?

Your liberals are just as bad as the conservatives, they do not care about those the really struggle, I know here's a suggestion, why don't you go out into the communty and speak to those at the bottom.

As as far as the NDP or Bob Rae, at least his government did try to make things easier for those like myself who were single parents. At least I had daycare, I could work to supplement my mother's allowance while attending post secondary education without being penalized like now, I suggest you look into the workfare policies or the single parents who try to go back to school and are denied any extra money once getting OSAP. But then you would really have to talk to someone who has gone through it Please explain at that time how people who were making in excess of $80,000 were entitled to free day care, opposed to those who were struggling to make something of themselves.

You are the one has drank the koolaid, get a life bud.

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