Monday, September 10, 2007

The foot-shooting contest

The candidates for Ontario's upcoming October election are falling over themselves to shoot themselves in the foot.
Hot on the heels (so to speak) of John Tory's potentially disastrous championing of state funding for faith-based schools (including a hastily withdrawn comment about the freedom to teach creationist theories), Dalton McGuinty comes up with his own throw-away idea: a day off in February to solve all our problems.
So desperate is he to distance himself from the one thing which it is widely thought the people of Ontario will never forgive him, namely breaking his campaign promise not to raise taxes, that he has sunk to such thinly-veiled bribes: a new public holiday.
Presumably thinking "how can people possibly object to a day off", his campaign team may have lost touch with reality here. Even the least educated among us can see that this is an unabashed election sweetener with no economic or even social value attached. In fact, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimate that it may have an economic cost of up to $2 billion in lost earnings for self-employed individuals, which seems somewhat exaggerated to me but I take the point that there is some economic cost involved.
Keep it simple, Mr. McGuinty, otherwise we may be saddled with a Tory government again. If you felt you had to increase taxes to straighten out the books once the extent of the previous Conservative regime's mismanagement was revealed, then just say so and move on. Don't try and fool us with useless sops.
Not that I'm particularly trying to protect the guy. Is it possible that, if the others persist in shooting themselves in various parts of their anatomy, the NDP may yet rise from the dead after all these years. It's a bit of a sorry state of affairs, though, where those who say the least stand to gain the most.

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