Murray Dobbins writes that none of our political parties are adopting big ideas. It's not that they're not out there. He points to the Alternative Budget which the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives has released in response to Jim Flaherty's do nothing document:
The CCPA's alternative budget replaces most of the revenue lost through tax cuts by measures that are actually quite modest, including:
That's about $40 billion in new -- or rather recovered -- revenue from modest tax increases that could be sold to Canadians if the NDP actually had faith in the intelligence of the people they hope will vote for them.
- Reversing just half the recent corporate tax cuts to raise $11.6 billion.
- Setting a new high income tax bracket of 35 per cent for earnings over $250,000 in order to raise $2.5 billion (it was 80 per cent in the 1960s).
- Closing tax loopholes and dozens of tax credits to raise $9.6 billion.
- Creating a 1 per cent withholding tax on all assets held in tax havens to raise $2 billion (catching the tax dodgers could raise even more).
- Establishing a 0.5 per cent financial transactions tax -- the so-called Robin Hood tax -- to raise $4 billion.
- Placing an inheritance tax on estates over $5 million to raise $2 billion.
- And finally, implementing a carbon tax of $30 a tonne to raise a net amount of $7.5 billion (after provision of a green tax refund).
All three parties -- most recently Justin Trudeau's party -- has committed to not raising taxes. But Dobbins points out that:
We live in a fabulously wealthy country -- twice as wealthy in real dollars per capita as we were when medicare was first introduced. Everything we dream of is possible. But it requires a political party with the courage to put forward Big Ideas.
Instead, the Conservatives offer lower cell phone rates and the NDP offers lower ATM rates. It used to fall to the NDP to offer big ideas -- which the other parties eventually adopted. But now:
Regrettably, Thomas Mulcair and the NDP have opted for small ideas. Canadians won't be fooled. A recent Ipsos Reid poll asked -- in addition to for whom people would vote -- who they thought would win the 2015 election. Forty-five per cent thought Trudeau's Liberals would win, 43 per cent believed the Conservatives would emerge victorious and just 13 per cent thought the NDP would win.
Tommy Douglas would be appalled.