Liberals Lose Half Their Caucus Under Justin Trudeau’s Leadership

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Federal Politics, Policy | 27 Comments

It’s rare that something happens in Ottawa that truly surprises everyone. Despite having spent the last year talking about the senate over and over again, it’s safe to say very few saw this coming:

Trudeau leads on Senate Reform: Liberal Leader takes concrete action to remove partisanship and patronage from the Senate

OTTAWA – The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement:

“Canadians expect their leaders to be open and honest with them, and they expect us to come forward with practical solutions that address problems directly. The Senate, through extreme patronage and partisanship, has become an institution that poorly serves the interests of Canadians.

“Paired with patronage, the pervasive issue of partisanship and control in the Senate is a deeply negative force. We need immediate action to address this. That is why, as of today, the National Liberal Caucus will only include elected Members of Parliament, and not Senators. This action will immediately mean that each of the 32 current Liberal Senators will become independent of the Liberal Caucus.

Yes, you read that right. Justin Trudeau just blew up the Senate, in a political masterstroke.

By cutting all ties to the Senate, Trudeau inoculates himself against the Auditor General’s upcoming report on Senate expenses, and leaves Stephen Harper as the last defender of a partisan upper chamber – an awkward position for the man many believed would bring about overdue reform. This gives Trudeau the same footing to criticize the Senate the NDP has enjoyed for years. Perhaps even stronger footing, since Trudeau’s solution of a non-partisan Senate would not require a constitutional amendment, unlike Mulcair’s plans for abolition. Just like that, the NDP has been neutralized on one of its traditional wedge issues.

More important than the issue itself, is what it says about Trudeau. As hot a topic as Senate reform is in political science lectures, few Canadians will base their vote on this issue. What they will base it on is their perceptions of the party leaders, and Trudeau can now use this issue to define himself for voters. It plays to his image as an agent of change who will walk into Ottawa and shake up the way politics is done. Given how disillusioned voters are with the status quo, that’s exactly where you want to be positioned.

Moreover, this move just screams “strong leader”. Already, Liberal press releases are asking why Stephen Harper lacks the strength and judgment to follow Trudeau’s lead, no doubt a dig at the Tory tune comparing Harper’s “strong leadership” to Trudeau’s “lack of judgment”.

Like any bold move, there are risks, but I’d argue those have been overblown. It will rub some party stalwarts the wrong way, but a lot of Senators won’t miss having to shuck tickets for Liberal fundraisers. Yes, there may come a day when Prime Minister Trudeau longs for a rubber stamp Senate. However it seems unlikely the Senate will survive in its current form long enough for Trudeau to ever appoint back a Liberal majority. Having an uncooperative Conservative Senate might actually provide Trudeau with a good foil – remember how Stephen Harper loved to complain about the “unelected Liberal Senate” holding up key pieces of legislation? Those very same talking points are now coming to a Liberal fundraising letter near you!

In the end, what stands out is that this was a case of action. If Trudeau had promised a non-partisan senate, no one would have paid it any attention. Seriously, try to find me 5 people who remember Michael Ignatieff’s very impressive democratic reform platform from the last election. Voters respond to actions rather than promises, and in one morning Trudeau did more to advance the case of Senate reform as the leader of the third party than Stephen Harper has done in 8 years as Prime Minister.

The Best Intentions

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Federal Politics, Policy | 20 Comments

Michael Chong is one the most respected people in the country when it comes to democratic reform. He quit his cabinet position on principle, and proposed a series of thoughtful Question Period reforms in 2010, which seem all the more overdue after the Paul Calandra show we saw last week.

So when Michael Chong tables a private members bill to decentralize power away from the Prime Minister’s Office, it’s impossible to doubt his sincerety. It’s a worthy cause led by a noble champion. Another champion of democratic reform, Andrew Coyne, has praised the Reform Act saying “Parliament will never be the same again”. Here’s a summary of Coyne’s summary of the bill (the full text of which can be read here):

1. A leadership review vote could be triggered at any time on the receipt of written notice bearing the signatures of at least 15% of the members of caucus. A majority of caucus, voting by secret ballot, would be sufficient to remove the leader.

2. It would similarly empower caucus to decide whether an MP should be permitted to sit amongst their number. A vote to expel (or to readmit) would be held under the same rules as a leadership review.

3. It would remove the current provision in the Elections Act requiring any candidate for election to have his nomination papers signed by the party leader. Instead, the required endorsement would come from a “nomination officer,” elected by the members of the riding association. There would be no leader’s veto.

Coyne points to Australia as the working example of MP-initiated leadership reviews, but it’s hard to think the ongoing feud between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd was good for the Labour Party, or Australia.

The move would undoubtedly transfer more power to MPs, as would giving them the ability to kick one of their own out of caucus. But all that is being transfered are punitive powers – the opportunity to boot a leader, or a caucus member. This act would do nothing to give them a greater say in passing laws or having their opinions heard – it would merely create a group of restless MPs with no real power except the ability to turn on their leader and each other. Welcome to Survivor: Ottawa.

Removing the threat of expulsion by the leader might encourage MPs to speak their mind, but it’s important not to overstate the impact. The only two MPs booted from any caucus within the past 5 years – Peter Goldring and Helena Guergis – were forced out not because of policy differences, but because of scandal. Going back further, Bill Casey and Joe Comuzzi were removed after voting on principle, but it’s unclear if having MPs vote against their party on budgets would or should be tolerated. Garth Turner’s outster was actually brought about by a vote by members of the Conservative Party’s Ontario caucus who felt he wasn’t being enough of a team player, so I don’t buy that transfering the whip from the PMO to MPs will actually lead to more “mavericky” behaviour.

It’s possible MPs will be be able to leverage these punitive powers into real legislative power, but if the goal is to empower MPs in the House, committees, and the decision-making process, why not bring the change about directly?

However, the part of this bill that has received the least attention, but is the most problematic is giving riding associations the ultimate say in candidate veting, by having them elect a “Nomination Officer”. It’s unclear how exactly this would work, since all parties (almost always) hold nomination contests in unheld ridings and Green Light Committees vet candidates to make sure there aren’t crack videos of them floating around the Internet.

One assumes the Nomination Officer could deny an MP, or a candidate, the right to run for nomination, or could veto a candidate once nominated. This opens the possibility of an impass if the Nomination Officer nixes a candidate who has been elected by the riding, or is at odds with a potential candidate because they support someone else. Paranoia already runs deep in local politics, and you can be sure MPs concerned about a challenge would do everything in their power to ensure a friendly face is elected as the riding’s Nomination Officer. That means local ridings will spend more time fighting each other, than doing the types of things local ridings should be doing.

The thing is, there’s an exceedingly simple solution to this – open nominations, where all MPs must be re-nominated by members of the riding. This gives members a say without turning riding association board elections into Game of Thrones. Indeed, this is something Justin Trudeau has promised, so this change would either be irrelevant to Liberal nominations, or would needlessly complicate them.

Which begs the question of why Parliament needs to police political parties at all? For good reason, Parliament doesn’t set the cut-off dates, eligibility, or rules for nominations. They don’t tell parties how often to conduct leadership reviews. The parties themselves decide if they want delegated conventions, one-member-one-vote races, or a primary-style supporter system.

So although Chong’s bill may look like a step forward for democracy, its impact would be largely negligible and, in some instances, it may do more harm than good.

King or Country

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Policy | 8 Comments


You may have missed it, since the story slipped largely under the radar, but a baby was born in England Monday.

As this post will show, I’m a staunch republican (the kind who want the monarchy out of Canada…not the kind who want to arm fetuses). Still, I don’t take offense to the hoopla that has consumed traditional and online media this week. I get excited about equally silly things (“YES! Someone I have never met hit a baseball very far yesterday“), and this isn’t so silly once you consider this baby’s face will one day be on money and in history books. Better to get excited about this than the latest Kardashian offspring. So I think we’ll all survive having our Facebook feeds full of Royal Baby posts rather than the usual stream of 90s nostalgia, celebrity gossip, and not-so-royal baby pictures.

What I do take issue with is that this baby will grow up to be the King of Canada, regardless of what he does with his life. We’re selecting an individual who will be our face to the world, and rather than trying to find someone with qualities we admire, we’ve decided to play the genetic lottery. I can’t think of anything more un-Canadian than giving someone a title based on their blood rather than their merits.

Actually, I can think of one thing more un-Canadian: being literally not Canadian. It never ceases to amaze me how the same people who shredded Michael Ignatieff to bits for “Just Visiting” are aghast at the suggestion that the Canadian head of state should be someone who tours Canada more often than Paul McCartney.

In effect, there’s no reason to have a British head of state in Canada other than history. As someone who has memorized every single Heritage Moment word-for-word, I’m not quick to dismiss history, and I do find Colby Cosh’s argument for “historical continuity” strangely compelling. But Canada’s history with Great Britain has not been one of continuity, but rather one of us shedding our colonial ties in a centuries long striptease towards nationhood. We got our own Parliament, then we got our own foreign policy, then we got our own flag, then we got our own constitution. All that’s left is having a head of state we can call our own.

Simply put, we’re no longer a British colony. On the 2011 Census, over 10 million people marked “Canadian” as their ethnic ancestry, with around 6.5 million marking “English”. Most Canadians view the country as a cultural mosaic, and even those with more traditional views talk about our 2 (or 3!) founding peoples. This is a country which now has closer ties to the US than the UK, and I can only imagine what the uproar would be if we had an American head of state.

The strongest argument against dropping the Monarchy – indeed, against any form of change – is the alternative. Indeed, an elected head of state is a scary prospect when you consider some of the people Canadians have elected recently. However, given the Queen has never had to weigh in on constitutional matters during her reign, I don’t see any reason we couldn’t simply “promote” the Governor General to the role. Maybe you tweak the appointment procedure, maybe you limit the pool of candidates to Order of Canada recipients – but in the end, I’d rather see them appointed by Canada’s Parliament rather than appointed by God.

It’s likely not worth getting worked up, one way or the other, over a position which is largely symbolic. But with no disrespect to boy George, a symbol which represents Canada should be Canadian and should represent Canadian values. The Monarchy does not.

Another Argument Against Legalizing Pot Goes Up In Smoke

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2012 US Election, Federal Politics, Policy, US Politics | 14 Comments

The stoned slacker vote is up for grabs

In the midst of a largely status-quo election, several groundbreaking ballot initiatives passed last night. Puerto Rico voted to apply for statehood. Same sex marriage was legalized in Maine and Maryland, and was upheld in Washington State, snapping a 32 vote losing streak for equal marriage proponents. And both Washington State and Colorado voted for complete marijuana legalization and regulation. The implications of this in Canada could be far reaching, and I’m not just talking about a spike in “road trips” from Vancouver to Seattle over reading week. I expect what happened last night will lead to some sober reflection on Canadian drug laws.

At least it should, because on the very same day marijuana laws in these two states became more liberal than Amsterdam, an omnibus bill imposing mandatory sentencing for drug crimes in Canada came into effect. So while ganja may be coming to a store near you in Denver, a student who grows 6 marijuana plants in his UBC dorm room and shares them with his friends could be looking at 9 months in jail.

While the NDP and Liberals have spoken against these “tough on crime” measures, both parties have been rather timid on the drug file in recent years. In March, Thomas Mulcair said he was against decriminalization because marijuana leads to mental illness. He later backtracked, saying he was confused between decriminalization and legalization; in either event, it’s safe to say we won’t see much movement from the NDP on this issue anytime soon. When asked about marijuana by High School students in 2010, Michael Ignatieff showed his deft ability to relate to youth by telling them he’d rather see them “digging ditches” than smoking “marijuana cigarettes”.

Ignatieff elaborated on his position by pointing to border problems legalizing the drug in Canada would create. Indeed, supporters of the current prohibition laws are quick to claim legalizing a product in Canada that is illegal in the US would lead to everything from chilled diplomatic relations to 10-hour lineups and full car searches at the border. But thanks to voters in Washington and Colorado, these arguments have now gone up in smoke. After all, no one’s going to risk smuggling joints across the border when you can just as easily buy American.

Most importantly, should these ballot measures withstand almost-certain legal challenges, there will now be two trials to cite when making the case for or against legalization. For better or wose, we’re about to find out what legalization really means; I imagine social scientists are already giddy with excitement at the prospect of crunching the crime data. If unintended consequences or logistical nightmares rear their head, no one will look at legalization in Canada for another 30 years – But if the results are largely positive and the tax dollars roll in, the case for legalization will no longer be theoretical. Suddenly, the risk won’t look quite so big and the change won’t seem quite as scary.

Regardless of what the courts say, yesterday’s votes will serve to embolden legalization activists on both sides of the border. Washington and Colorado may be blue states, but Obama only carried them with slim majorities – surely us public-healthcare-gay-marriage-loving socialists in Canada are at least as supportive of marijuana legalization, eh? These results should therefore give everyone pause to rethink the common wisdom that being labelled “soft on drugs” is campaign kryptonite. After all, the most basic rule of politics is that if the public supports something, it doesn’t hurt a politician to also support it.

Despite that, I can’t see Harper or Mulcair changing their positions – they’ve both stated their opposition to legalization and both are timid risk-averse politicians. But what about the Liberals, whose members voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana at their convention earlier this year? As I wrote at the time, there are many below-the-surface electoral implications to consider before running on a pro-pot platform. Who feels strong enough about this issue to change their vote over it? Does this help Liberal fundraising efforts? Does this play to the larger narrative of the Liberals as the party of “evidence-based” policy? Does it detract from the rest of the platform? If Justin Trudeau is the next Liberal leader, does this show he’s gutsy and stands for something, or does it play into the “airhead” narrative? Would this, combined with Justin’s youth appeal, actually get young Canadians out to the polls?

It’s a complex electoral calculus, but what happened south of the border last night might very well be the tipping point that prompts the Liberals to light up and run on legalization in 2015.

Issue Management

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in --- 2013 LPC Leadership Race, Federal Politics, Policy | 16 Comments

I spy with my little eye, someone running for leadership

In her Star column today, Chantal Hebert supposes that the Quebec Nation resolution might resurface as a divisive issue during the Liberal Leadership race, as it did in 2006. While I don’t think there’s any appetite to revisit that specific debate, with a Quebec election on the horizon and a guy by the name of Trudeau considering a run for LPC leadership, it seems almost certain that Quebec’s role within Canada will emerge as a question at some point.

And that’s not a bad thing. The Liberal Party needs to decide what it stands for, and the “Quebec question” is a fundamental issue that every party needs clarity on. I personally feel a strong federalist position is the LPC’s best opportunity to differ itself from the NDP and Tories, but others will argue a softer stance might put the NDP’s Quebec seats in play. Either way, the debate, however emotional it may get, is worth having.

Less fundamental and less emotional is the topic of supply management, which has gained steam as an issue this week due to trade talks…WAIT! DON’T GO! I know it’s a dry issue, but bear with me.

I won’t go into the policy implications of abolishing supply management – for those, read this article by Mike Moffatt. I won’t even get into why this could be a winning issue for the Liberals – for that, read Rob Silver’s post on why voters might like the idea of cheaper milk and cheese.

What I will talk about is this policy in the conext of the Liberal leadership race. Through her op-ed and media blitz on the subject, Martha Hall Findlay has effectively launched the first policy debate of the contest:

Hall Findlay calls for end to supply management system

OTTAWA — A former Liberal MP delivered the latest broadside against a system designed to guarantee prices for farmers in certain sectors Thursday, stating membership in a potentially lucrative free trade deal is at stake.

Martha Hall Findlay released a paper in Ottawa calling for an end to the system, known as supply management, as Canadian officials planned negotiations to become part of the major international agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Some of the other eight nations who are part of the deal are calling on Canada to get rid of the system, which guarantees certain farmers prices for their goods and caps the amount they can produce, as a prerequisite for joining.

The trade talks make getting rid of the system more important than ever, said Hall Findlay during her press conference at the Château Laurier, since the deal would provide new markets for farming sectors such as beef or pork who aren’t part of the system.

Why I like this from a leadership perspective is that it lets Martha get ahead of the pack and define herself as a substantive policy-first candidate. Sure, she’s going against the Liberal Party’s official position but she’s not in caucus anymore, so she has a bit more leeway to be “mavericky”. What’s more, considering the Liberal Party just finished a convention championing “evidence based policy”, it would be very hard for other candidates to attack Hall Findlay’s proposal as being “un-Liberal”.

The media spin on this has been nothing but positive, with articles heralding Hall Findlay as a gutsy risk taker. Liberals are looking for a leader who will put forward bold policies, and abolishing supply management is a bold policy that avoids the pratfalls that typically befall bold policies, namely being considered “extreme” (i.e. pot legalization) or “political suicide” (i.e. carbon taxes).

Obviously enough, no one is going to vote for the next Liberal leader because of their position on supply management. But policy can serve as a foil for leadership. In the same way having a red book was more important for Jean Chretien than what was in it, putting forward “courageous” policies is a way for Hall Findlay to define herself as a “courageous” politician.

The Third Way

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Boring internal Liberal Party matters, Federal Politics, Policy, Polls | Leave a comment

The latest Ipsos poll paints a rather dreary picture of Liberal fortunes, with what was once the natural governing party languishing more than 15 points behind both the NDP and the Conservatives.

Of course, the NDP are in their post-leadership honeymoon, the Liberals don’t have a permanent leader, and a horse race poll when politics is the farthest thing from the electorate’s mind won’t tell you a lot. But I think we can safely assume the Liberals are a distant third, trailing two parties who are both intent on hugging the centre of the road, making it almost impossible to pass them. So what’s a centrist party to do?

I agree with Rae’s message of staying to the middle of the spectrum, but the days of finding sunny compromises between the NDP and Conservative extremes on every single issue are numbered. When you’re the third place party you need to give people a reason to vote for you, and a milquetoast platform topped with some language about the “extremist” positions of two very non-extremist parties isn’t going to be convincing.

Faced with this new reality, the challenge is standing out and being noticed. That likely means on occasion passing the two parties ahead of you on the right, and on occasion passing them on the left. So maybe the Liberals adopt a few “right wing” economic policies even the Conservatives dare not touch, like the abolishment of supply management. Maybe it means “out-NDPing” the NDP by proposing a national pharmacare program.

Of course, the entire concept of a left-right political spectrum is somewhat arbitrary when you think about it. Is democratic reform a right wing or a left wing issue? Either way, parties talk a lot less about it the closer they get to power, so there may be an opening there for the Liberals who are decidedly nowhere near power. There’s certainly an opening on the “Quebec question”, given the PQ may be in power a year from now, and both the Tories and NDP have spent long nights flirting with the separatists in recent years.

The other thing to consider is the dirty little secret that most voters aren’t reading through party platforms and casting their vote based on policy. Did Jack Layton leap from third to second because voters found his policies that much more compelling than Ignatieff’s? Most voters would be hard pressed to identify a single area of cleavage between the two party platforms.

Now, I’m not saying the Liberals are one leadership change away from power. As I’ve written before, there’s a lot of structural work to be done, and even if voters didn’t know the intricacies of the Liberal and NDP platforms last election, they had a clear impression of party brands, and an overall sense of party values. But a party’s leader does matter, and it’s just as important to have a leader who can differentiate himself or herself from Mulcair and Harper, as it is to have policies that can be differentiated from the NDP and CPC platforms. That doesn’t mean the Liberals should search for the anti-Mulcair or shy away from an experienced and polished politician like Harper – only that there needs to be some kind of “value add” that makes their leader stand out. The brilliance of Jack was that he always smiled and could connect with voters – that’s an ability Michael Ignatieff lacked completely, and one both Harper and Mulcair struggle with.

In the past, all the Liberals needed to do to get elected was wedge themselves squarely between the extremes. There are still many issues for which that strategy makes sense from both an ideological and political perspective. But adopting that knee-jerk approach on every issue and failing to stand out is a sure fire path to irrelevance.

The Liberal Platform

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2011 Federal Election, Federal Politics, Policy | Leave a comment

The Liberal launched their platform online Sunday. It’s an impressive document that uses the word “Family” 96 times in it. And while the Family Pack will be the policies that get the most attention, what caught my eye was the Democratic Reform section.

Back in 2006, the GST cut grabbed the most headlines, but I’m still convinced the Accountability Act was Harper’s most important platform plank. That’s because it gave him the right to speak on the corruption issue and showed his government would be different (ha ha ha!). Until then, he was just an angry guy throwing stones. The Accountability Act gave him real credibility on the ethics issue and gave voters fed up with Adscam a reason to vote for him, not just a reason to vote against the Liberals.

While the Liberals have taken great joy in pointing out the many reasons to vote against the Tories on the ethics file, they have yet to offer much of an alternative. So, with the platform launched, let’s see what they’re promising:

1. A more open government: All access to information requests will be posted online and a new website will let Canadians search for financial information on grants, contributions, and contracts. Oh, and the long form Census will be coming back.

2. Reforming Parliament: Many of Michael Chong’s thoughtful QP reforms have been lifted. In addition, the Liberals are promising regular face-to-face meetings between the party leaders, limits on the PM’s power to prorogue, and a People’s Question Period. All good policies.

3. Modernizing the Voting System: A pilot program to try out online voting for soldiers, students, and all those other unpatriotic Canadians living outside the country.

All of these are good proposals. They’re not sexy, so it really comes down to how they’re packaged and how heavily they’re sold. If the Liberals do try to turn up the heat on Harper over ethics, I hope they highlight this alternative to combat the perception out there that all parties are the same.

And now, something for those of you who actually vote

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2011 Federal Election, Federal Politics, Policy | Leave a comment

After yesterday’s “Learning Passport” announcement, the Liberals roll out their pension policy:

Michael Ignatieff announces Liberal plan to strengthen public pensions and support seniors

VANCOUVER – A Liberal government will help Canadian families save for retirement with new measures to enhance our public pension system, including increased support for seniors and a new, voluntary Secure Retirement Option for Canadians without access to a pension plan, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff announced today.


As part of our plan, a Liberal government will work with the provinces and territories to enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) with:

■ A gradual expansion of the benefits provided by the CPP; and
■ A new Secure Retirement Option that will offer Canadians a simple, voluntary, tax-deductible savings option backed by the trusted, publicly-run CPP.

A Liberal government will also provide a $700-million annual boost to the Guaranteed Income Supplement to reduce poverty among seniors, especially women and seniors with disabilities.

To help workers left out in the cold when their employer goes bankrupt, Mr. Ignatieff also committed to greater protection for those collecting long-term disability benefits, and to create a Stranded Pension Agency to give Canadians a new and safe option to manage their private pensions after corporate bankruptcies.

Retirement security is a HUGE issue right now, so this looks like a winner. The challenge, of course, is communicating a complex pension and income supplement scheme in a 15 second pitch.

Higher Learning

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2011 Federal Election, Federal Politics, Policy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Liberals have rolled out their first major policy plank of the campaign – the Learning Passport, which will mean $1,000 a year to every student attending post-secondary education.

The biggest knock on Ignatieff has always been that voters don’t know what he stands for. With that in mind, the Liberal platform will be especially important this campaign, as it will be the document that defines Ignatieff. So how does this policy look?

When looking at a campaign policy, there are seven key questions that need to be asked:

1. Is it easy to understand? Can this policy be explained in a 10 second pitch or on a 140 character tweet? In this case, you can explain it in 11 words: “one thousand dollars a year to students, to encourage University education”.

2. Will it be seen as meaningful by voters? For anyone in University, or with children approaching that age, this will certainly help.

3. Does it address a need or fix a problem? Yup – university tuition rates have skyrocketed in recent years.

4. Does it say something about the party’s values? In this case, it shows the Liberals and Ignatieff value education.

5. Does it differ you from your competition? That remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely the Tories will make a similar pledge.

6. Does it speak to your base and your target vote? Liberal voters tend to be university educated, so this is clearly something they value.

7. And, least importantly, is it good policy? There are probably better ways to go about this but, at the absolute worst, it incentivizes post secondary education.

On all counts, this policy performs quite well. To me, it looks like a winner.

Hopefully we see more of this over the course of the campaign.

Stephen Harper Family Tax Cut

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2011 Federal Election, Federal Politics, Policy | Leave a comment

The first Tory policy announcement of the campaign:

The Conservatives will make the first policy announcement of the campaign Monday morning – a family tax cut that will hope to woo parents with children under 18. Stephen Harper will kick off the day at a family residence in Sidney, B.C. to sell ‘Stephen Harper’s Family Tax Cut,’ a pledge that aims to snag votes from the middle class and from new families.

Mind you, that should probably read “woo parents with children under 13“. Because it’s going to be at least 5 years until this is actually implemented:

The Tory camp says the tax cut will not be applied until the deficit is eliminated, which is not expected to happen until 2015-2016.

So a tax cut 5 years in the future? For those keeping track, we’ve had 3 elections in the last 5 years.

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