Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Poison Pill Pretty Tasty To NDP

The Conservative government plans to bring in legislation connected to the harmonized sales tax in the coming months, giving it the tool to bring about its own demise should Prime Minister Stephen Harper wish to capitalize on the Liberals' current misfortunes.


As I have argued previously, of the three parties with a presence in the ROC, GST/PST harmonization as an issue in any upcoming federal election probably works to the advantage of the NDP, with both the LPoC and CPoC suffering a bit because of their association, on either the federal or provincial level, with the process. So if Harper is willing to trade a little weakness on his own squad for a stronger NDP and a Liberal party that is weaker still, this would be a smart move tactically.

I would therefore suggest that the Libs think of a way to support such legislation, especially if (as the article referenced above would suggest) it is introduced as a stand-alone bill. There are a couple of justifications for this stance (other than the ones that involve the stench of terror).

1) The policy Ignatieff has settled upon is to do nothing to hinder any federal/provincial harmonization deal, and although this position was taken hypothetically and dependent upon the existence of an Ignatieff-led Liberal government, I see no particular reason there should be a different position as opposition. Why get in the way of a deal struck by the (quite popular) McGuinty Liberals?

2) I find that this "voting blindly against" allegation sticks in the craw a little bit. It seemed silly of the NDP to take a stand against every little piece of legislation without even having seen it, and now the Libs risk getting stuck in the same situation. Given that Thursdays' non-confidence motion will fail, if this legislation comes forward between now and the next opposition stay and, as a stand-alone, is acceptable, then it should be supported.

Of course who knows what the Bloc will do? They don't have a stake in this game policy-wise, having harmonized their sales tax years ago. Tactically, given CROP's latest result, I would think they'd be inclined to support.

12 comments:

janfromthebruce said...

Actually,the Bloc would be more inclined to abstain as it would not matter one way or another to them.
The NDP would vote against it, as they are going on an issue to issue bases, and the libs - who knows.
Considering that Iggy supports the harmonization unless he's changed his mind again, and rethinking the libs position considering the crop poll, for instance, the libs will support it.
And personally the crop poll doesn't look bad for the Bloc.
Checking those leadership numbers, with both Harper and Layton just 3 points behind Iggy (and it is my understanding that the poll was conducted before Libs blew up their Quebec organization and aired their dirty laundry publicly). And puts a whole new meaning to go big or go home.
Have a great day - it would appear that "poison pill" is meant for the libs.

bigcitylib said...

Bloc seems down a couple of points, if I remember correctly, and Harper Tories up a couple. Remember, a Harper majority deprives them of influence.

The Jurist said...

Jan: Actually the Bloc has its own set of concerns about the HST (notably the fact that Quebec hasn't received federal money for a provincially-administered system) which would make it highly likely to vote against any implementing legislation aimed at Ontario and B.C. So the Libs shouldn't expect any help there either.

wilson said...

I'm thinking the legislation to increase seats in Ontario, Alberta and BC is the poison pill.

In the coalition agreement, didn't Dippers and Libs both agree to not bring in legislation, at BLOC request?
I thought I read that somewhere, could be wrong, but....

bigcitylib said...

Harper did that, Wilson, he would lose every seat in Que.

Joseph said...

Personally, I don't see how the new HOC seats would be much of a poison pill. The legislation is much fairer than the last attempt (love him or hate him, McGuinty deserves a bit of kudos for standing his ground on that). Plus, the new seats would be competitive ones (most in suburban areas). Stepping outside the bubble for a second, it's a pretty fair distribution.

bigcitylib said...

But Que. has vowed to oppose vociferously. Fairness aside.

Ti-Guy said...

Wilson's trolling up and down Liberal blogs today. She must have partaken of Rahim's special blend earlier than usual today.

Stephen Gordon said...

How about a third point, where it is noted that the HST is good policy, and should be supported regardless of partisan considerations?

Actually, that should be point #1, but that's probably too much to hope for.

Ti-Guy said...

Actually, having a government that doesn't operate exclusively on partisan considerations is to much to hope for. That and having economists who...

...oh, never mind.

bigcitylib said...

SG,

I made no mention of the merits of the bill because I am still in the middle on that one. For example I know of a number of small business people/groups who are familiar with it and quite unhappy about it. On the other hand, there is a kind of foolish populism about the opposition, esp. out in B.C.

Stephen Gordon said...

Well, you don't have to work through it all on your own; you could look up some of the research.

This is probably as good a place as any to start. Or google scholar.