So Stephen Harper has fired the first serious shot across the Liberal’s bow, saying he would immediately reduce the GST to 6%, then lower it to 5% over 5 years. Now this is a sexy election platform, particularly during a christmas election. Harper can parade around shopping malls, and meet & greet people, then hold up their shopping, saying “If the Conservatives were in power, this single mother of 3 could have saved $40 on her Christmas shoppping. With that savings, she could buy herself something nice as well.” or something to that effect. But I sense props! And while it doesn’t make a whole lot of economic sense (it won’t have as large an impact on the poor, as say, upping the tax-exemption level), it sures makes for excellent soundbites. Because who likes the GST?
Meanwhile, Paul Martin has responded in the way that he always does: with a fairly sensible, but completely uninteresting response. He’s possibly the least interesting leader in a long time. Even when he’s doing something good, he doesn’t make a big enough deal about it to let people care, or get excited. Total Potato-head. Lots of starch, little excitement. But I digress. He’s targeting his tax cuts at the middle-class by reducing personal income tax levels. Which should keep more in your wallet to begin with.
In the meantime, Gille Duceppe continues to champion the GST idea that I think makes a lot of sense – add more items to the list of goods that are GST exempt – children’s clothes, books, etc. Jack Layton, of course, doesn’t think any taxes should be cut. He thinks more should be spent on healthcare and education. Which, you know, I’m all for. Although I’m not convinced just blindly flinging money into either will really help anymore in Canada. There needs to be some systemic overhauls in how we approach both.