The anti-Harper crowd is making way too much out of an off-the-cuff comment on taxes made by Canada’s prime minister.
In a recent interview with the Globe and Mails Eric Reguly, who asked if Stephen Harper regretted cutting the GST, the PM said: “No, it’s … First of all, I believe cutting all taxes is good policy, okay? I… I’m of the school that… You know, there are two schools in economics on this; one is that there are some good taxes and the other is that no taxes are good taxes. I’m in the latter category. I don’t believe any taxes are good taxes.”
Believe it or not, this caused a knee-jerk volcano to eruptand not just in Liberal land.
Bryan Borzykowski, a fellow blogger with CB Online (who does not speak for the editorial board of Canadian Business magazine, which also dislikes taxes a lot) called Harper’s anti-taxes remark a remarkable and ridiculous statement for a conservative politician to make.
Borzykowski then pointed readers to what he calls a great post by Globe writer Adam Radwanski, who outs the PM as an anarchist. “If taken to its logical conclusion,” Radwanski insists Harpers comment means all government spending, along with everything it supports, is bad. Not just equalization and grants and other things that Harper would have taken offence to back in his National Citizens Coalition days. Were also talking about defence, and law enforcement, and any public infrastructure whatsoever – stuff that even the most libertarian members of Harpers party would concede that we need.”
Despite the massive run up in federal government expenditures, Borzykowski and Radwanski both conclude Harper actually thinks it is a good idea to abolish all public spending. But with all due respect to the logic used, it is possible to consider something bad and still accept it.
Taxes. Deficits. Credit cards. Lawyers. Dentists. Editors. Small talk with the hairdresser. Lots of things are necessary evils. And Harper clearly knows a thing or two about them. After all, he is a politician, and they also typically fall into that camp.
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THOMAS WATSONis a senior writer, market columnist and editorial board member at Canadian Business magazine. Since winning a community journalism award as a cub reporter with the Hamilton Spectator in the early 90s, he has covered business, finance, politics and technology for various news outlets. Prior to joining CB in 2001, he reported on the steel and automotive sectors for the Financial Post. Watson received two National Magazine Award nominations for business feature writing in 2008, winning a silver award for his coverage of Canadas ABCP fiasco. He landed his first NatMag nomination for exposing a stock manipulation plot aimed at Waterloo, Ont.-based Open Text during the dot-com boom, when he headed investor relations for an international venture capital outfit in the City of London. Watson holds graduate degrees in journalism, international relations and public finance and undergraduate degrees in history and politics.