Drool patrol

It was a typical long Monday on the Hill. The finance committee sat for six hours and heard from more than 20 more special interest groups – some with good briefs and great ideas for the next budget, some with hands out and their shamelessness written all over them. It now irritates me seriously when we listen to people too arrogant to prove their points or provide us with facts, and yet almost spittingly dismissive of we few Conservative MPs. Obviously they think these Tory days are just an interlude in their money-for-nothing Liberal neverendum.

Speaking of Libs, they seemed to be feeling their hormones today, hooting in the House and even mustering up Paul Martin for a late-day appearance during votes (he shows up maybe once a month). A couple of them told me they were energized after Sunday’s leadership debate, and that little tiff between Rae and Ignatieff. “It’s good to see them knock each other around,” a Toronto-area Grit whispered to me by the gold curtains, “because we now know this is the big leagues, picking one of them to be party leader, and perhaps prime minister.”

If the finance committee experience is any guide, then God help Canada if the Liberals crawl back to power. Day after day their MPs do exactly the same thing – lament any Tory attempts to trim spending, dump on us for having put $13 billion against the debt instead of spending it on their friends, claim the GST cut did absolutely no good, argue for increased spending for social housing, social services, education, transportation, health care, transfer payments, artists, poor people and everyone who lives in region, and trash both tax cuts and corporations.

As a consequence, I have no idea how this committee will end up recommending anything. Which is why Jim Flaherty is not waiting, telling an audience today that more personal and business tax cuts are coming, along with some new measures to help lower-income people get back into the work force.

So, I’d wager the coming budget will look pretty much like this:
– another point off the GST
– a drop in the income tax rate for the lowest bracket
– the promised rollover in capital gains taxes for reinvested profits (look for a complicated new investment account to be created – Bay Street will love it)
– provisions for social benefits not be clawed back for lower-income workers
– a lower growth forecast for the economy
– an agricultural action plan, bringing in new income-support for farmers
– more middle-class tax credits aimed at family expenses

Of course, I’d also like to see the budget contain a commitment to income-splitting for all families with kids, pension-splitting for retired couples, introduction of an after-tax lifetime retirement savings plan, municipal infrastructure and environmental tax-exempt bonds, more program spending cuts (I have the names of about 100 special interest groups if Jim is interested) and a ministerial Dick-and-Jane lesson on what happens when too many people want to buy houses.

The danger we face in Budget 2007, of course, is just what has the Liberals drooling on the committee table. Next year could bring the multiple threats of a noticeable US economic slowdown, a true reversal in the Canadian housing market, sliding oil prices, a very expensive mission in Afghanistan and, ah yes, an election.

And a watershed one it will be. Like it hasn’t already started.


#1 jerry on 10.16.06 at 11:43 pm

Bob Rae’s new federal Auto Insurance Program.

It will be modified after the Saskatchewan government insurance program, but there will be no premiums to pay. It will also cover all major and minor auto repairs. Everything will be Free. There will also be government grants so the poor can own a vehicle.

You just have to whip your car into the nearest auto clinic show them your auto insurance card, and the job will get done. The program will be supported by a carbon gas tax of 20 cents, which will be attached to each liter of gasoline. 75 cents after the liberals get elected

There will be 100 billion injected over the next ten years to get the program off and running. However critics say that sum is not enough as people will have to wait up to six months for a windshield replacement. Industry spokesmen say we will do what ever it takes to get it to work.

#2 John G on 10.17.06 at 12:14 am

In other words Garth….the pigs are drooling waiting to get back to the trough….like you said “God help us”….

#3 Paul MacPhail on 10.17.06 at 12:43 am

There’s a brite side, Garth. The Conservative Party could always run on it’s record, which is pretty darn consistent with what they said they would do during the last election. Given a choice, I think people will place their vote where they trust it will be acted upon. They of course won’t agree with everything, but they’ll at least know that they’ll get what’s promised them. Better to get 90% of something than 0% of everything that was promised during the 13 years prior to this latest Conservative government.

#4 Paul MacPhail on 10.17.06 at 12:44 am

16 hour workday + 3 rum ‘n’ coke = “brite” instead of “bright”. My bad.

#5 Mel on 10.17.06 at 12:51 am

You say,expenses for the middle class?

I consider myself ‘poor’ middle class. Kids are grown, both of us retired. So, what about our retirement expenses Garth?

Concerning next year election, if the Conservative government does not bring about some serious environmental changes, I will have no choice but to vote Green.

#6 richard on 10.17.06 at 4:36 am

You know, Garth, the Liberal hooting etc. reminds me of Dalton when he was in Opposition to the then-Conservative government. I heard an interview with him on CFRA and he spent the first part of the show criticizing the Ontario government for anything and everything. When the host asked him what his party would do, he had zip for an answer. He just repeated his criticisms. This sounds like the federal Libs – criticize but not offer any solution. Kind of like Judy and Robert M.

Stay the course, Garth. Tax reduction will work for the majority of Canadians. Only those who are too lazy to work and save will be opposed.

Off-topic – I get a kick out of the Lib reaction to John Baird’s attempts to get the best deal for us on the light rail project in Ottawa. Reg Alcock said that TB involvement was unprecedented. Well, perhaps it should be a precedent. If our federal tax dollars are to be spent, they should be spent wisely. Nobody should be opposed to this. For myself, I am highly suspicious of our city council and our mayor – why the rush? Why the hissy fit? Given the secrecy (even our councillors do not know the whole story) surrounding the project, I suspect that somebody is in line for a payout.

Your government (Conservative) is doing a great job. Keep on supporting efforts to reduce our cost of living, Garth.

#7 Richard on 10.17.06 at 7:39 am

Speaking of “my bad”, Paul, may I add one more to the list. It is “its record” and not “it’s record” for a possessive. This error crops up more and more often in written text. LOL.

#8 Charley on 10.17.06 at 8:09 am

Great post Garth! I am absolutely horrified by the prospect of a Liberal government getting back into power. The Liberals have no vision, no policies, no ideas, not much of anything really except their “win at any cost” mentality that has kept them in power for wayyyyy too long! All they can do is be critical of the Conservatives wonderful initiatives because they can’t even counter with any of their own! If this government doesn’t get a majority in the next election, there goes any real movement that would have been made on environment, crime & justice, senate reform, tax relief, and – most importantly – GREAT GOVERNMENT!!

I really hope that people are not so partisan that they will see what is best for our country and not just vote along party lines to bring back a bunch of “nothing”!! And I was a Liberal for a long, long time so I am no “partisan hack”!!

#9 John G on 10.17.06 at 9:09 am

Paul..it seems the opposition and some Canadians are upset that this gov is doing exactly what it said it would do……go figure!

Conservative in Canada- a politician who must be 10 times more effective, ethical and brilliant than the other default party’s to remain in Gov…..

#10 William Hane on 10.17.06 at 10:04 am

Yes, god forbid we fund anything like literacy, health care, education, transport, artists. There’s no way to help middle and lower class Canadians except by padding “big oil’s” pockets (Conservative Danny William’s words, not mine) and letting rich people make more off their investments. Oh wait, that’s how you help the rich, not the average citizen.

When someone puts their had out for education and they’re not a religious loony you give them the money. Providing illiterate Canadians with a tax shelter for their investments is not going to teach them read.

YOu think the liberals are about the money. Sheesh. It seems the Theo-cons theme song should be “It all about the benjamins”

#11 Frank on 10.17.06 at 10:16 am

Hmmmm….36% support nationally…sliding in Quebec..sliding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Doesn’t sound like the Mule Skinner and his band of Kool Aid drinkers is resonating with the majority of Canadians yet. And that’s before we hear the Hot Air Plan (oops, meant to say the Environmental Plan put together by Pretty Blonde Rona and her band of Alberta pirates.

#12 Ken on 10.17.06 at 10:20 am

So, I’d wager the coming budget will look pretty much like this:
– another point off the GST

I’d prefer to have left the GST at 7% and deeply cut income taxes (where Canada is out of step with our trading partners) but a promise is a promise.

– a drop in the income tax rate for the lowest bracket

Better than nothing.

– the promised rollover in capital gains taxes for reinvested profits (look for a complicated new investment account to be created – Bay Street will love it)

This strikes me as bad policy and bad politics.

– provisions for social benefits not be clawed back for lower-income workers


– a lower growth forecast for the economy


– an agricultural action plan, bringing in new income-support for farmers

We waste sooooo much money on farmers. Canada has a significantly higher proportion of our workforce in agriculture vs the US and EU. We should allow rationalization (i.e. people getting OUT of farming) rather than keep on paying people to farm uneconomically. Enough is enough!!!

– more middle-class tax credits aimed at family expenses

Bad policy, but what else can you expect from Flaherty. What ever happenned to making taxes lower and simpler and letting people make their own decisions?

Overall, a C-.

#13 Frank on 10.17.06 at 10:20 am

Via the CBC…”U.S. Department of Homeland Security opened its third air surveillance base near Canada on Monday, furthering eroding claims the shared border is the longest undefended one in the world.”


Looks like the Mule Skinner’s ass kissing is not turning out quite the way he had planned.

#14 Pawel on 10.17.06 at 10:29 am

Hi Garth, is there anything that you could have done to prevent our embarrasing stand on asbestos in Genova over the weekend? It’s the conservative cabinet after all that decided to be in a company of Russia, Ukraine, Peru, India and a couple of others…not the leading edge if you ask me :)

#15 Richard on 10.17.06 at 10:42 am

William Hane – it looks like you could use some education in writing. Perhaps you should have paid more attention when you were attending school – after all, your parents paid for it through their taxes.

#16 Lewis on 10.17.06 at 11:02 am

The FRANK and JUDY Show
Nice to see that you are concerned that Mr. Harper is ‘down in the polls’.
Your commentary would be meaningful IF today was election day. BUT like most of your comments, they are not, as today is NOT election day. As to your ability to predict with any degree of accuracy what will happen when that important day sometime time in the future occurs, I doubt it will be any better than in the last election when you no doubt predicted a Paul Martin victory?

You just seem to have difficulty realizing that Stephen Harper is a hell of a lot smarter than you are.

You both are sounding more and more like ‘dippers’ with your inability to come up with any comprehensive, workable solutions to the perceived problems you envision and do not recognize or give credit to those who do. I guess that “it is your job to criticize the government” for any and all reasons, like paid Liberal shills. Do you eat peanuts and drink beer?

I will be looking forward to election day again when you,and Red Robert, are enjoying yet another meal of crow.

BTW Which of the four liberal clowns in the Liberal comedy show are you supporting?
And a secondary question: Which of the Dipper’s daft resolutions were you supportive of?

#17 Charley on 10.17.06 at 11:19 am

I am getting a little tired of the same old criticisms regarding the recent program cuts, here is some information that doesn’t seem to get reported:

Status of Women: 5 million cut was to ADMINISTRATION, no funding cuts to actual programs!

Literacy: 81 MILLION committed to literacy programs, recent cut made to adult literacy program only which was shown to be ineffective (rates still increasing despite money spent).

The remaining cuts were done because, after a full evaluation of all programs, some were either showing no “value for money spent” (programs not doing what they were supposed to do) or the services were simply redundant (already covered under another program).

By the way, health care & education are PROVINCIAL jurisdictions there William.

We finally get some good governance and some extremely partisan people can’t stand to see it so they resort to the same old “scary” Stephen Harper meme(I’m surprised there was no mention of Bush anywhere!).

This government has done more in their brief time in power than the last government did in 13 years! Lots more good stuff to come with environment, crime, budget, to name a few.

Polls mean absolutely nothing right now and won’t until it’s election day!! It’s the old “let’s do a poll to create news about a poll” trick by the media, pathetic really!!

#18 Marc on 10.17.06 at 11:30 am

Frank, I believe it is called the environmental approach this month. It is not a plan if my memory serves me correctly

#19 Richard on 10.17.06 at 1:05 pm

Charley, Lewis – I lift my hat to you. Frank and Judy are certainly special. I mean that in the French-language sense. To be “spéciale”, in French, is not necessarily a compliment.
I still don’t know why we need to spend extra money on literacy – I went to school, learned to read and write, I did my homework, I paid attention to the teachers etc. What is so different today? Oh, I forgot, the Judy and Frank types made schools “esteem friendly” so if poor Johnny didn’t want to buckle down, he did not need to do so. With Judy and her type as teachers, is it any wonder we have literacy issues.

As for Frank…well, what can one say about a vacuum-for-a-brain.

#20 Paul MacPhail on 10.17.06 at 1:41 pm

Approach, plan, accord; who cares what it’s called? It probably should be “agenda”, as we all know that conservatives have hidden agendas. Anyway, if it accomplishes what it’s supposed to, that’s what matters.

#21 Snap Up Real Estate on 10.17.06 at 2:10 pm

I did not think that the Conservatives would be any better in government than the ousted Liberals. But, the last few years I think I have changed my tune. If a GST cut takes place the hearts of many Canadians will be won.

#22 Robert Carley on 10.17.06 at 3:04 pm

“…we all know that conservatives have hidden agendas.”

And other political parties do not?

It seems to me that this government has clearly stated its agenda(s), at least more so than the ‘wave your arms around and try to please everyone’ Martin Liberals, and the ‘what is Quebec wanting today’ Chretien Liberals.

#23 Richard on 10.17.06 at 4:09 pm

I think that Paul was being tongue-in-cheek when he made the hidden agenda comment. At least, I hope he was so being. Otherwise, the guy’s a fool, repeating the same old tired lines of unimaginative people. Next up – Stephen Harper is scary. Brrrrrr.

#24 John G on 10.17.06 at 4:22 pm

Charley..there you again…making perfect sense to an audience of idiots….

Frank….the cpc is actually in a great place in the polls…you would understand what I mean if you had a clue how politics works….

#25 Marc on 10.17.06 at 5:14 pm

Approach, plan, accord; who cares what it’s called?

Obviously somone in the environment ministry as it was they who has changed the name. I agree that as long as it works who cares what it is called but I don’t see why these ministries have to spend time thinking of an appealing name for what they are going to announce. Seems like a bit of a waste in my opinion.

#26 Irate Tolerant on 10.17.06 at 6:02 pm


Still dreaming are we? Since you’re having difficulty finding Conservative fault, I’ll throw you a couple of bones. But the score is now:


#27 Judy on 10.17.06 at 7:50 pm

Yes, Stephen Harper is scary. He and George Bush are not only joined at the hip, apparently they share brains as well.
From Harpers 3 strikes initiative, to his Clean Air (a.k.a. Clear Skies) scheme, to “stay the course”, to “measured response”, to banning S.S.M., to 100% support to Israel no matter what they do, to exterminating the Wheat Board for George Bush (which Bush and the Republicans have been trying to do for years), to tax breaks for Big Business ( no matter what their bottom line is), Mr Harper has been “in-step” with Mr. Bush from the get-go.
I have yet to hear one policy from Mr. Harper that was conceived in his own brain- how many Republican strategists does he need to formulate a “Made In Canada” agenda??

#28 Paul MacPhail on 10.17.06 at 9:00 pm

You’re correct about the sarcasm, Richard. I’m nobody’s fool (and by this I don’t mean that I’m hoping somebody will adopt me someday). As for Harper being scary, unless you’re a Liberal or a Dipper I couldn’t imagine it except perhaps on Halloween.

#29 Frank on 10.17.06 at 9:16 pm

“Frank….the cpc is actually in a great place in the polls…you would understand what I mean if you had a clue how politics works….”

Please John…do explain how ‘politics works’……

#30 Marc on 10.17.06 at 10:30 pm

Judy, Harpers 3 strikes plan is far different from the US model. It is only regarding serious asaults and sex crimes I believe. Tell me why society needs people like Robert Whitmore on the street? Maybe you would like to have these undesirables as neighbours but I sure do not.

#31 Judy on 10.17.06 at 10:44 pm

Marc: The 3 strike plan would not apply to Whitmore!! It requires 3 Federal violent offences. One of Whitmores offences was provincial and he only got 16 months for that. So Whitmore would not have been eligible for the so-called new tough plan.
So , you can forget the Whitmore example.

#32 John G on 10.17.06 at 11:08 pm

Frank…36% after making some tough and unpopular decisions….a smart strategist would take that result all day long……

#33 W.C. on 10.17.06 at 11:44 pm

For Whitmore, they could apply this Dangerous Offender’ designation law, insted of waiting for him to re-offend:


” What is a “Dangerous Offender” designation?
A Dangerous Offender (DO) designation results from an application by the provincial Crown Prosecutor to identify offenders that if released after a normal sentence would pose a significant danger to the public.

If granted, the designation carries an automatic indeterminate sentence with no chance of parole for seven years.

Offences that meet the Dangerous Offender criteria are defined in the Criminal Code as serious personal injury offences, including specific sexual assault offences or, alternatively, a particular offence that was essentially violent or potentially violent and carries a potential maximum sentence of at least 10 years or more.

Q. What would warrant a DO designation?
A dangerous offender designation may result from a single act of brutality or a number of offences (i.e. repeat/habitual offences). The nature of the offence for which the offender has been convicted would be a serious personal injury offence, and he or she represents a continuing serious threat to the life, safety or physical or mental well-being of other persons.”

#34 John L on 10.18.06 at 1:12 am

Apparently the new “3 strikes” law isn’t replacing the Dangerous Offender law so the Crowns can use whatever is deemed most applicable. Frank and Judy should set aside the angry troll work for a while and do a little research 😉
You’ve gotta love folks who only hang out here to lecture Garth on what a screwup he is; you’d think they’d find kindred spirits to play with.

#35 Catherine on 10.18.06 at 7:22 am

I see that Judy is starting to use “scary” rhetoric. I thought that Judy was an intelligent person, who was able to debate with well reasoned and well thought-out arguments. Oh well, I thought wrong.

#36 Lewis on 10.18.06 at 10:50 am

For Frank, Judy and any other lefties.

Taliban Jack after Jane Creba’s killing by gang members. “evil men” behind the shootings should serve long and hard time in prison.
“We all have to make that commitment to Canadians, to the families, that we will come together in Parliament and act on all these issues immediately. And that’s certainly a commitment I’m prepared to make today,” Layton said during a campaign stop in Toronto.

NDP Justice critic Joe Cromartin yesterday in parliament: Joe Comartin called the bill “a bit of an overkill”
“This is political posturing,” said Comartin, predicting the bill (to get tough on repeat offenders)has little chance of passing the Commons before next spring, when another federal election is widely expected.

For you friends of the dippers;
“Posturing” is when you talk but do not deliver, IE what the NDP have done on this issue. What a bunch of double talking hypocrits

The Conservatives promised to get tough on repeat serious offenders and are now fullfilling that promise.
Frank and Judy take note.

#37 Larry on 10.18.06 at 12:44 pm

Well How are the Liberal bashers feeling now. It looks like the Conservatives want an MP that will tow the line..no matter how bad it is for the people of Canada. Another vote for the Liberals.

#38 jerry on 10.18.06 at 3:48 pm

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?

#39 Russ on 10.18.06 at 5:31 pm

i agree with much of what you say. I also agree that JAILS ARE OVER REPRESENTED BY CRIMINALS. perhaps the inequity could be reversed if they would lock up some more innocent murderers?

#40 Dean on 10.19.06 at 11:35 am

Hi Garth,

I’d like to add another issue that is affecting me personally. I believe you may have also written about this in the past. The issue is with regards to Federal Locked-in retirement accounts and the inability to access these funds despite an intense financial need. It’s as if the government doesn’t care if families are destroyed during a financial crisis as long as they don’t have access to funds that are legitamately theirs. Usually the people that want to access these funds are only going to do so out of great need. I really hate it when the government feels that they are better then people and must force them to do things for their own good. I hope that you can help work towards changing this unjust and unfair legisilation.