By Larry McLennan
Published: Sept 13, 2015
STEPHEN Harper is much better than his alternatives, that is Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau. In my several decades of being politically aware , if not politically absorbed, Harper impresses me as the best Prime Minister Canada has had the experience of being governed by. This is especially true given the serious worldwide economic and geopolitical situations which have arisen in the last 10 years.
Canada is fortunate that after the great economic crash of 2008, a pragmatic and savvy PM was at the helm of the country. Desperate times called for a reasoned and practical reaction by the Federal government and the Conservatives, under Mr. Harper, provided it. The response was for the government to carry out a massive deficit-producing stimulus program (which is against the fiscal preferences of the Conservatives) to dampen the deleterious effects of the recession. Ironically, both the NDP and the Liberals demanded the government go even deeper into deficit despite the fact they now criticize the Conservatives for going into deficit in the first place. Is hypocrisy spelled NDP, Liberal, or both? Subsequent to the stimulus program and deficit, the Conservatives have been working to eliminate the deficit and while they still have a way to go, they seem to be pretty much on schedule.
Regarding taxes, Mr Harper and the Conservatives have endeavored to put more money into the hands of private citizens rather than in the hands of the government. Just look at the proposed significant tax reductions and incentives his government has proposed. The proposed Split Income provision will benefit most families, especially middle-class ones. This tax allows families with children under 18 years of age to assign up to $50,000 of income from one parent to another in order to lower the tax paid to the government. Both the NDP and the Liberals oppose this apparently because some rich people might benefit more from it. As a tax accountant, I can relate to you that I have had numerous inquiries from clients regarding how soon it would come into effect and not all of them are ‘rich’ in the way NDP or Liberals would like you to believe.
Business taxes have also been reduced or proposed to be reduced by Mr. Harper and the Conservatives. The Small Business tax was reduced to 11 per cent and is proposed to be further reduced to 9 per cent while the corporate tax is to be reduced from roughly 22 per cent to 15 per cent. These tax reductions help to keep businesses profitable and to pay greater dividends to shareholders such as Union Pension funds and middle-class investors. The NDP, however, wants to reverse Corporate taxes back to the pre-Conservative government rates in the mistaken belief it’s going to help the economy and keep jobs in Canada. Well, I think NOT.
As to the pipelines, Harper is for all of them provided they pass the environmental requirements. Here in BC, both Mulcair and Trudeau are against the Northern Gateway pipeline and their union-based middle-class jobs. And I must say Mulcair is a true dogmatic socialist. It would be interesting to compare the successes of NDP-run governments to non-NDP run governments. It probably wouldn’t look good for the NDP and it would look even worse for Canada. As to Justin, well he’s the hare the Liberals have chosen to run this race. Is he the best they could conjure up? That doesn’t bode well for their bench strength in caucus. I have a feeling that if his last name was Smith, he couldn’t get elected as a dog catcher. If Justin is the best they have, it doesn’t appear that the Liberal Party is up to the task. But I guess Justin’s probably a nice hare though.
Larry McLennan is a Professional Accountant (RPA) with RIA/CMA designation