Thursday, September 03, 2009

Of Home Renovations and Elections

Never let it be said that Stephen Harper is not cunning. I've known for a while that the much-touted home renovation tax credit had not yet received official sanction from the House of Commons. Not that you'd know this from all the television ads and every home renovation store touting purchases as being eligible under the program. But you'd figure that someone in the Liberal party had to know that they hadn't voted on this yet.

It figures therefore, that this is the poison pill that the Conservatives are hoping to make the Liberals swallow. At best, Ignatieff will be forced to back down on his threat to vote against the Harper government at the first possible confidence opportunity, and wait until a subsequent vote when the party's bravado has a little less force. At worst, his party votes against a wildly-popular tax credit, and then has to explain to middle-class Canadians how his government will re-introduce the program whenever the House gets around to sitting again after the election - which I'd bet would not be any sooner than December.

My advice: swallow your pride, vote for the reno tax credit, and don't risk losing Ontario seats in the 519-905 belt. It's better than letting the election be branded on the theme of how the Liberals don't care about the middle class.

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At 10:45 am, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

You're way off the mark, Matthew:

"No matter what happens around an election, we support the home-renovation tax credit -- as we did when the budget was passed -- and will ensure Canadians are able to claim the credit in their tax returns in 2009 no matter what."

--Jill Fairbrother, Liberal spokesperson for Michael Ignatieff.


If we form government, there's plenty of time to pass legislation to ensure this happens before tax time,"

Stop falling for Conservative propaganda.

At 10:46 am, Anonymous Woman at Mile 0 said...

The NDP... a bunch of hypocrites. The tax credit will go through if the Libs win. That has been made pretty dam clear. A totally lame excuse. Sad.
Too bad they refuse to get a new leader. Jacks done, Jacks tired.

At 10:48 am, Blogger Matt said...


I'm well aware of how the Liberals will attempt to deal with this.

But unlike you, I have little faith in the average voter, and a lot of faith in the power of a scare campaign. Harper's propaganda people, though loathsome, have proven themselves more adept than the Liberals' ones, and I don't think it makes a lot of sense to give them a "gimme" like this one.

At 10:50 am, Blogger Matt said...

For what it's worth, I also don't have a ton of confidence that the Liberals will do any better than a minority government (if that), and that the Conservatives will do everything in their power while in opposition to make it hard for the Liberals to honour that promise - assuming that it is the Liberals who form government.

At 8:02 pm, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

They never dare to do so - opposing their own former legislation.

From here on in, I'm pretty confident you'll be seeing the Liberals are going to be doing what an Official Opposition is supposed to be doing - opposing the government. It will be left up to the other 2 opposition parties to decide the Con. government's fate.

At 8:37 pm, Blogger Matt said...

Of course, now that Duceppe has indicated that the Bloc will vote in favour of the home reno motion, things become trickier for Stephen Harper!

At 12:40 am, Anonymous MS said...

Ignatieff and many of those around him are living in a dream world right now, thinking that they can win an election on EI reform and vague attacks on Harper. Aside from any effect on the tax credit, they have not made a very strong case as to why they should be entrusted to form the government. Harper is obviously a cynical and hypocritical man, but the masses do not fully appreciate this. An election will not change the public's views.

As a Liberal, I do not want to see my party engage in a useless kamikaze attack that may backfire in giving Harper a majority. The hubris in the Opposition Leader's Office at the moment is unbelievable.

At 2:07 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

I think that the Liberals, if they so chose, could form a pretty coherent argument about why the Canadian public shouldn't want the Tories to continue in government.

If I was a Liberal strategist, and I'm not, I would probably argue that while the Liberal Party has had its failings in the past, failings that the Harper Tories won't let anyone forget, the Tories haven't done a very good job of keeping their word on anything. This election, if there is one, could easily come down to the issue of trust. The Liberals could remind people what the Tories said about the Recession, the Deficit, the appointments to Senate, the snap election they called which is possibly illegal. In fact, it is difficult to find things that the Tories have been entirely faithful to.

Still, there is not good policy to makle the focus of the election. But in a democracy, do we need such a policy? Or can we go to the polls when the opposition, who represents over half the population, fell that the Government is no longer fit to lead?


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