Friday, October 12, 2007

Harper dials down the bravado while Dion goes at a Conservative "strength"

First, to Harpie...sounds like the realization has set in with someone that the party workers in Ontario have no taste for an election right now after the slaughter this week. Those must have been some interesting phone calls between the federal Conservatives and the provincials, of the "Are you out of your mind, man?" variety. Of the "You want me to knock on those front doors, again?" variety. So a chastened Harpie takes a step back from the ledge.

And what's also just as likely...he also sees that Dion refused to take his bait last week and commit to anything. Oh yeah, Dion sitting back and assessing the situation was a real bad idea...it's not right to have an election now. Dion's the only one leading the common sense parade in Ottawa that is in sync with the Canadian people on that. So Jack Layton? Have a seat please. From the CBC report:
The federal Conservatives will not "abuse" the right to make pieces of legislation matters of confidence in their minority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.

"We will use our mandate wisely," Harper told reporters in Ottawa. "I don't think you can consider something confidence that isn't significant enough to fight an election over if you were defeated on it."

Harper's comments come a week after he suggested that if the opposition supports his upcoming speech from the throne, they must also pass, at later dates, all items that come from it, or risk triggering a federal election.
Meanwhile, Dion is going right at Harper with a promise to reduce corporate tax rates.
During his speech to the Economic Club of Toronto, Mr. Dion dangled a pre-election carrot to the well-heeled crowd — vowing to further reduce the federal corporate tax rate, which fell from 28 per cent to 19 per cent under the previous Liberal government.

The Liberal leader pointed out that the Conservatives have only promised to reduce the rate to 18.5 per cent by 2011, and said the Liberals “want to go deeper.”

When asked about specific targets, Mr. Dion replied: “We'll say more if there's an election, but our commitment is to go deeper than what is planned.”
I like the gist of Dion's objective here, to put Harper on the defensive with aggressive policies and go right at him. While some may howl at corporate tax cuts, consider the difficult competitive environment that is growing given the high dollar. And I wouldn't expect this would be the only tax relief being contemplated either. There's got to be personal income tax rate cuts in there, I would hope. And again, he's not laying all his cards on the table, either. Keep 'em guessing, Stephane.