Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dissension in the ranks?

As I blogged earlier, Christine Elliott has semi-famously come out against Ontario's harmonization of its sales tax in spite of the fact that it's a policy strongly endorsed by her husband, (and economists, by the way) who happens to be the finance minister of Canada.

Elliott is an interesting candidate in that she's announced that she has the support of a couple federal members of parliament: Mike Wallace (Burlington) and Jeff Watson (Essex).

It would be nothing more than wild speculation to say that this uncharacteristic show of support by federal members could be perceived as opposition by the MPs to their government's plan for provincial sales tax harmonization. In fact, the MPs' endorsement of Elliott is almost certainly not an endorsement of her policy positions (after all, what does politics have to do with policy?)

That said, given Elliott's controversial stand on a major policy issue - and we could speculate some more and say the fact that it's the only issue on which she's taken any position is indicative of its importance to her - it is surprising to see federal MPs, who are usually kept on such a tight leash for the sake of the federal party's messaging efforts, publicly throwing their support behind any candidate in the race.

Cross-posted to The Shotgun.

1 comment:

Cory said...

All the provincial candidates have come out against harmonization, so if a federal conservative wants to get involved, they have no choice but to back a candidate who is against the HST.

Personally, I'm disappointed that the PCs took the knee-jerk reaction route and just automatically opposed something because McGuinty proposed it.

What they should have done is come out for harmonization, but against how McGuinty is introducing it.

For example, they could have said, "Harmonization is the right thing to do however, to prevent it from being a tax grab we'll lower the PST portion from 8% to 6%",