By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 0 Comments
To Joe Momma then, where Murray Rankin, the bespectacled and button-downed national revenue critic for the official opposition, stepped before the cameras this morning to pose beside the proprietor of this bike shop, a tattooed young man in a white t-shirt and newsboy cap.
“We would like the hypocrisy to be exposed,” Mr. Rankin explained. “They said they wouldn’t raise taxes and here we are, a little bit later, in this very same store, pointing out that they are.”
This is most certainly fair play. It was Jim Flaherty who used this establishment for a photo op last fall. And it was Jim Flaherty who stood in the House less than a month ago and said he would not raise taxes. And it is the budget Mr. Flaherty tabled that day that raises taxes on the importation of hundreds of products from dozens of countries. And it was this government that championed the few tariffs it decreased as “supporting Canadian families and communities.” And it was this government that once screamed and cried about the very idea of a tax on iPods. And it was this Prime Minister who gave his word that, so long as he was prime minister, there would be “no new taxes.” And it was this Prime Minister who once mused that “I don’t believe any taxes are good taxes.”
“I feel misled more than anything,” offered the bike shop owner.
Fair enough. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 4:45 PM - 0 Comments
NDP MP Glenn Thibeault has written to the chair of the standing committee on industry, science and technology to request a “study into the increased taxation of iPods and other goods.” (The full letter is here.) And, tomorrow morning, NDP national revenue critic Murray Rankin will visit Joe Momma, a bike store in Ottawa, to discuss the Harper government’s “bicycle tax.” Joe Momma was the backdrop for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s announcement of C-45, last year’s second budget implementation bill.
The NDP has made up all this fearmongering dialogue about tax increases in budget 2013. There are no tax increases in budget 2013.
Somewhat similarly, Heritage Minister James Moore, responding to a question on this from Justin Trudeau this afternoon, ventured that “if we were raising the taxes the Liberals would be all for it.” Otherwise the government’s defence seems to be three-fold: assert that theirs is a “low tax plan,” claim a desire on the part of the opposition to raise taxes and allege that to not raise tariffs would be to give special treatment to China.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM - 0 Comments
I sat down with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in the leader of the opposition’s office yesterday. Here is a transcript of our conversation, slightly abridged and edited.
How do you see the last year for you and the NDP? Do you feel you’re winning? Do you feel you’re getting somewhere?
We’re doing well. And the Abacus poll was confirmation of that … I dare say that we’ve been through a rough 18-month cycle. I mean, we started off in 2011 with a huge high, May 2. We realized then … It was interesting. I don’t think I’ve told too many people this story. I sat down with Jack shortly after, like two, three days after the election and when we became official opposition, he was asking me to become opposition House leader, it was a great feather in my cap. And then he said something to me that was quite interesting, he said, you know, this is a huge challenge. And I was just expecting him to be so effusive with the breakthrough and everything and he said, no, no, this is going to be a huge challenge. So then the huge challenge became all the bigger with his loss. And then we had to really work hard through a long, seven-month leadership where we were missing a lot of our frontbenchers who were in the campaign and then we had to rebuild.
When I held the little press conference up in Toronto after the leadership, the next day, I used an expression that came to spontaneously, I said, we’re going to have a cascading transition under the sign of continuity. So I was so lucky, like somebody like [chief of staff to Jack Layton] Anne [McGrath] stayed with me long enough to hand off to [current chief of staff] Raoul [Gebert], overlapped with Raoul … So a couple of the other changes that took place were like that. We brought in a few people, the core team you still recognize when you see them around us. And so it’s been a huge challenge in terms of the structure and the organization, but some of the good points for me after becoming leader: in August I was doing my parish visit in Quebec, I would be in places like Vercheres—Les Patriotes, where Sana Hassainia is our MP, and be in a community hall on a Sunday morning with several hundred people who had all paid as part of a fundraiser, but she had municipal officials there, you know the mayors and the councillors, she had community groups, she had the schools and stuff like that. They’re getting settled in, they’re putting down roots. The same day I was at a corn roast for Helene LeBlanc and she had about 600 people and a lot of the cultural communities, so they’re setting down roots, they’re doing their fundraising, they’re getting well known in their communities, they’re in their local papers, so that part’s coming together.
Come this spring, we’re pivoting, right? We’re going to be entering the third year. And so the consolidation phase has to be finished. We’ve got to start the preparatory phase for the next campaign. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:37 AM - 0 Comments
During his discussion with reporters Wednesday afternoon about decorum, Nathan Cullen was asked which Conservatives he was referring to. And the NDP leader identified two by surname.
Who are they? Well, some of them have been admonished by the Speaker and will continue to be. Some of them get admonished by their whip, twice, three times a week. I think what they get away with is the fact that their constituents don’t know about it, right. So if you look at Mr. Calandra or Mr. Watson, I’m sure they go home on the weekends and talk to their constituents about how hard they’re working, but never mention the fact that mostly what they do is try to disrupt the House and are offensive, basically offensive. I dare them to do that in any of the school visits they do or any of the church stuffs that they do in their regular touring around the riding. They don’t act that way. Why do they act that way here? Well, I guess it’s a certain frustration of their actual limitations of influence on the role of this government. So it’s no excuse, so not at all.
I’m not sure how often I’ve ever heard Paul Calandra shout something. There was some kind of exchange on Tuesday between Mr. Calandra, Mr. Cullen and Thomas Mulcair after Mr. Calandra, I believe, said something during Murray Rankin’s first question. Mr. Watson is, to my ear and recollection, a more frequent heckler. He had his own welcome for Mr. Rankin.
I emailed both Mr. Calandra and Mr. Watson to ask if either wished to respond to Mr. Cullen’s comments.
Mr. Calandra responds as follows. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 9:18 PM - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s by-elections in Victoria, Calgary Centre and Durham. Results should start coming in after 10pm when polls close in Victoria. We’ll be here all night (or at least as long as it takes to exhaust whatever drama can be found).
Some numbers by which to measure the night. First, the vote percentages from the 2011 election in each riding.
If you combine the 2011 results for those three ridings, the cumulative total divides like so.
9:45pm. Beyond the obvious (who wins?), some questions for tonight. How low does the Conservative vote go in Calgary Centre? How well does the NDP vote from 2011 hold up? Can the Liberals show improvement? Can the Greens make significant gains? Continue…