Musings —11.04.2010 12:34 PM—
A few folks have asked me what the resignation of Gord means for Dalton [full disclosure: whose caucus I’ve given comms advice]. Some columnists have written about this too.
As someone who has actually lived in both B.C. and Ontario, and been involved in politics in both places, here’s my take. Consider them your free talking points. You’re welcome.
- The two situations are different. B.C. rolled out their change first. Ontario learned from their mistakes, and implemented the HST in the Summer with little to no controversy.
- B.C. has recall legislation, and Ontario doesn’t. Recall gave Campbell’s political opponents a focus for their attack. The fact that B.C. Liberals had campaigned on a promise not to implement the HST didn’t help matters.
- When he introduced HST, Campbell started to go down in the polls, and he kept going down. McGuinty never really dropped – and he certainly didn’t drop in the way that Campbell did.
- The Atlantic provinces introduced a blended tax more than a decade ago. All of those governments did fine, politically, after that.
- B.C. is not Ontario. They have a very polarized political environment, one that historically encourages weird political movements. Ontario doesn’t.
- Hudak is completely compromised on HST; he has no credibility on the issue. He said he’d get rid of it, but now he quietly admits he won’t. The NDP, meanwhile, aren’t very credible in their new “tax fighter” role; socialists, after all, love taxes.
- Bottom line, in both B.C. and Ontario: taxes aren’t ever really about taxes. Politically, they’re always about character. McGuinty is the only guy who has been consistent and truthful on the HST; Hudak, meanwhile, lied. Simple.