Last week, Brian Topp had the temerity to suggest that it was time to raise taxes on the wealthy and on corporations. Jim Flaherty, predictably, called that notion "dreamy." In the last federal election, none of the parties dared make such a suggestion. When Michael Ignatieff wondered aloud on the issue, everyone rained on his parade. But, Lawrence Martin writes this morning, things have changed:
The tax breaks of the affluent class are becoming an issue everywhere. Debts and deficits, which were accrued in good part because of ideologically inspired tax-cutting, have reached threatening levels. As the global downtown drags on, the ever-growing income gap between haves and have-nots is being showcased. Economic nostrums such as deregulation are increasingly being called into question.
More than that, there is the simple question of social justice, a phrase which is absent from the Conservatives' vocabulary. Instead they speak glowingly of their management of the nation's finances:
They trumpet the splendid economic fundamentals, many of which – an example being the regulation of the financial sector – were put in place by previous governments.
Historically, Canadians have accepted higher taxes as the cost of a just society. While interim leader Nycole Turmel does not have the gravitas to make the argument, there are many in the NDP caucus who do have the necessary skills. "In Mr. Topp, Thomas Mulcair, in Peggy Nash and others they have an impressive set of leadership candidates who are unflinching."
During the minority years, the opposition parties blinked continually, afraid to bring on an election. Now, while the Harperites use their new majority to ram through all kinds of regressive legislation, the opposition parties have the time to define this government. The Harper crew is the spawn of Ebeneezer Scrooge. It's about time someone had the courage to say so -- again and again.