Yet in response to a question from Jack Layton on the HST, Stephen Harper recounted this heart-warming childhood anecdote “when I was a boy, my father used to say that I should work on things that I am good at. The NDP is not good at fighting taxes.”
Well, that ends all that, doesn’t it? Um, no. Not really. Primarily because it’s not true.
Let's review the facts, shall we?
FACT: It was the Conservative Prime Minister who Harper had worked for in the 1980s who introduced the GST. It was New Democrat MPs who voted against it.
FACT: It was the Conservative Premier of Saskatchewan who signed a deal to harmonize that provinces’ provincial sales tax with the GST. It was the New Democrat Premier Roy Romanow who killed that deal dead.
FACT: It is the New Democrat Premier of Nova Scotia who today fulfilled a promise to take the HST off of home heating for families in that province.
FACT: What Jack Layton's NDP are fighting against today is a Conservative Prime Minister’s plan to pay $6 billion to the Ontario and BC Liberal governments so they will agree to hike the federal sales tax by 8% and 7% respectively. The very same Conservative Prime Minister who way back in December 1996 said:
“We need another way. This harmonization of the GST, this tax collusion between provincial and federal Liberal governments, is not the way to reverse the economic decline of this country.”
Far from being “not good at fighting taxes,” it’s been the New Democrats - and only the New Democrats - who have demonstrated the most consistency and courage fighting regressive sales taxes.
It’s a shame that the PM’s pater hadn’t also imparted the virtues of being correct on his doe-eyed progeny.