Thomas Mulcair versus taxes

‘Never… Period. Full stop.’

While in St. John’s, the NDP leader explains that he won’t raise personal taxes.

“I am categorical on that,” he said. “Several provinces are now at the 50 per cent rate. Beyond that, you’re not talking taxation; you’re talking confiscation. And that is never going to be part of my policies, going after more individual taxes. Period. Full stop.”

… He said the NDP would spend money on different things, and the NDP would make cuts, but they would be better cuts. “Yes, you can order your priorities differently. Yes, there is enough money there,” he said. “This is the type of thing that has to be done with a scalpel. They’re hacking away with a rusty machete. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re lousy managers, and the NDP will provide really competent public administration.”

This basically lines up with my conversation with Mr. Mulcair in December.

Whenever the question of inequality comes up, and really the question of anything to do when the government is in deficit and trying to get back to balance, is the question of revenue and taxes. Are you prepared to raise taxes in any way?

I ran a campaign on that. And I was categorical. And I won. And I’m going to stick to that.

So no raising taxes?

That’s not part of my plan. At all. Look at my history as a public administrator. I held a deputy-minister-level position as president of the Office des professions du Québec from 87 to 93. Go pull out my annual reports. Look at the budget figures, look at the number of employees. Pull out my three years as minister of the environment of Quebec. Look what I did at number of employees, look what I did with budgets, but I still managed to increase by 51% the number of inspections. That’s good public administration. I consider myself a public administrator first and foremost. I want to be able to run the country in the public interest. And that’s one of the things I can communicate honestly to public, is that in our government no member of our cabinet is ever going to be asked to serve any powerful interest other than the public interest. And that’s a straight-up thing that we’re going to be able to tell the public.

Going back to the NDP leadership campaign, here is what he told the Toronto Star in February 2012.

“Canadians who are going to be making a choice in the next election … have to be reassured that the person who is asking them for their votes and says they want to form a government — that person has to look the Canadian voter in the eye and say … ‘The last thing that is going to be imposed on you as an individual is more taxation unless there is no other way,” he said.

Mulcair said even if the tax bracket was pegged at $1 million, “the only thing the voter will hear ‘is these guys want more taxes.’”

His comments in St. John’s seem to specifically rule out higher personal taxes. He has previously ruled out increasing sales taxes and taxes for high-income earners.

At the same time, he opposes the reductions in the corporate tax rate that the Harper government has implemented and, I’m told, is in favour of a corporate rate that is competitive with the combined corporate rate in the United States. During the leadership campaign he proposed to “provide tax credits and incentives to companies that create jobs rather than across the board corporate tax cuts that have failed to generate new private sector investment” and “make the implementation of a Financial Transaction Tax a key priority in global economic negotiations.”

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