From the House Week of April 10 to 17, 2015
OTTAWA – POLITICS – This week proved that Finance Minister Joe Oliver is living in an alternate universe when it comes to fiscal management and taxation.
For as long as Joe Oliver has been a Member of Parliament he has been a die-hard partisan who has never let facts get in the way of his crazy political rhetoric. When he was Natural Resources Minister he labelled anyone who has opposed any of his government’s various pipeline projects as “extremists,” which is also the same word he uses to describe members of ISIS. Lumped into this group of environmental “extremists” are not only New Democrats, but also Barack Obama who is so extreme he was elected – twice – to serve as President of the United States. When he was promoted to Finance Minister last year his rhetoric was dialed up a notch further. Suddenly, every other party wanted to “raise everyone’s taxes” and the NDP had big plans for a massive “$25 billion carbon tax.” Oliver’s claims are of course are absurd. The only tax that New Democrats have proposed increasing since 2006 has been the corporate income tax rate paid by the largest and most profitable companies, and even then we’ve only proposed raising that rate to where it was before the Conservatives came to power and a full point below that in the United States.
The fact that is that no matter what question is put to him in Question Period – from plummeting oil prices to his deficit and the delay of his next budget – Oliver simply rises, dutifully reads from his cue cards, and utters ridiculous claims about his opponents. On his best days he most closely resembles the man known as ‘Comical Ali’ who was the “Information Minister” for Saddam Hussein, and who would routinely appear on state television to tell the Iraqi people that there was no war even as bombs fell on their heads and explosions could be heard in the background of his broadcasts. Well, ‘Comical Oliver’ was at it again this week when he announced that his government would introduce legislation to make running budget deficits illegal. It is clear that the man is living in an alternate universe. It is, after all, his government that has produced seven straight budget deficits including his first and only budget to date as Finance Minister. In fact, no government has ever produced a larger deficit than his Conservative government’s $58.2 billion deficit in 2009, or added more to the national debt which has increased by $158.7 billion over just the past six years.
While Oliver rambles on there are facts one can check about how New Democrats actually perform in government. According to Oliver’s own Department of Finance figures, of the 52 total years the NDP has formed provincial governments since 1980 we’ve had balanced budgets or surpluses for exactly half of those years and deficits the other half. Our record of avoiding deficits is better than both the Conservatives (who balance budgets 37% of the time) and the Liberals (who balance budgets just 27% of the time). During that same period the average unemployment rate in provinces governed by New Democrats has been just 7.1% compared to 9.3% for the Conservatives, and a whopping 10.1% unemployment rate under Liberal governments. And on taxes Tom Mulcair has committed that the only tax rate to rise under his leadership will be the one for large corporations while all other tax rates will stay the same, and the small business income tax rate will be lowered from 11% to 9% which will help small businesses grow in every city and town across Canada.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Joe Oliver entered this alternate universe where down is up and up is down, but New Democrats have always lived in the real world. Balancing budgets, lowering unemployment, and keeping our tax rates in check are what we do, and according to the Department of Finance we do it better than anyone else.