Thursday, September 03, 2009

The latest petty partisan play

What a canard this latest Conservative rationale for no election is: "Election would kill home-reno tax credit: Tories." Leave it to the Conservatives to threaten yet again. You're going to lose X if you do Y.

In terms of timing, a fall election would leave plenty of time to enact that credit into law under a new government. It's to be claimed as a credit with peoples' 2009 returns to be filed in the spring of 2010. Have they forgotten the bright yellow envelope the woman waves around in their commercial? Message sent on timing.

And Liberals have publicly squashed the issue by indicating the credit would be supported under a new government:
"No matter what happens around an election, we support the home renovation tax credit — as we did when the budget was passed — and will ensure Canadians are able to claim the credit in their tax returns in 2009 no matter what. If we form government, there's plenty of time to pass legislation to ensure this happens before tax time," Liberal spokeswoman Jill Fairbrother said in an e-mail.
And there's more on the empty bravado of wielding this non-issue tax credit over the electorate:
“This is just a Conservative game,” Liberal finance critic John McCallum said. “We are 100 per cent committed to the home-renovation tax credit and will ensure the appropriate legislation is there so people get their tax credit.”

Toronto Dominion Bank chief economist Don Drummond, a former federal Finance Department official, said an election would create some “uncomfortable” uncertainty regarding the program. However, he says as long as the measure is ultimately approved by Parliament before the 2010 tax filing season, the credit would not be affected.

“If I was the Commissioner [of the Canada Revenue Agency], I would just stay cool and leave it in limbo,” Mr. Drummond said. “People won't be filing until February, March and April of 2010 anyhow. So I'd probably just say ‘Hey, I'm waiting to see what happens before the end of the year.' ”
So are there any real issues here that are actually worth discussing?

How about the Harper government's blatant incompetence in not ensuring the credit was passed at the same time the budget was in early 2009. Why might it have been left out at the time? Probably the wasted fall session, prorogation until the end of January. Instead of working through the fall, they ended up playing catch up to get that budget done. That might have something to do with the fact that the credit remains unpassed to date. Our long national hangover from prorogation vacation not quite over.

Then there are the ubiquitous television ads on the tax credit that we see, despite it not being law. What an irresponsible situation Conservatives have created that they now haplessly seek to profit from. And having these ads running while there are no ads educating Canadians on something a little more advertising-worthy these days, H1N1 information, is a striking fact.

Manufactured posturing over a non-issue tax credit. The gaming of the "dream scenario" sounds more like a tempest in a teapot.

(see also FarNWide)