It doesn’t matter what the party affiliation is, they all know the description of tax and spend is going to get them nowhere with the majority of voters.
Policy talk being heard on the federal level shows just how delicate a subject that is. The idea of seeing that corporations carry their fair share has long been a mantra for the federal New Democrats, but Leader Thomas Mulcair is carefully taking the edge off that stance.
At a party event in Ottawa on Sunday, Mulcair dismissed the idea that his party, should it form government in the next federal election, would raise the taxes wealthy Canadians have to pay.
Duly noted in that position is the irony that the party has a star candidate, Linda McQuaig, running in an upcoming byelection in Toronto Centre who has written on that subject and on income inequality, and has advocated a tax hike for the rich.
For typical low- to mid-income Canadians, many would be happy simply to see wealthier people at least pay their share, without the advantage of any loopholes.
The federal NDP formed Official Opposition in the 2011 election and speculation has continued that for the first time they stand a chance of winning government in the next one – although since then the Liberals have regained much support.
Whatever the chances, if the party is to be anything other than a voice crying in the wilderness, it has to come closer to the political centre to have a shot. Mulcair has said, among other things, an NDP government would roll back recent tax reductions on corporations, replacing them with “targeted tax incentives” for smaller firms to create jobs for youth. That’s certainly much softer rhetoric about corporations than we’ve heard in the past.
As for fairness in taxes, work has already begun to catch those individuals and corporations that safeguard their wealth offshore to avoid paying Canadian taxes. Rather than burden companies with higher rates, let’s see more focus in that direction.