"When our economic recovery is assured, Canada will return to a balanced budget without raising taxes or cutting transfers to the provinces like the Liberals did." Another gem from the CPC's party website, and a superb iteration of their policy.
The Conservatives criticize Michael Ignatieff for contemplating raising taxes, and vow to not cut transfers to the provinces. Instead, they have opted for increased taxes in all but name on EI premiums.
While the Conservatives argue that they oppose tax rises because they may hurt the lower and middle classes, they have proposed a policy which will hurt these same people much the same. The only difference is in the name. The Conservatives are essentially banking on the Canadian public letting them pull the wool over its collective eyes.
There is one other option left open between no tax increases and no cuts to the transfers to the provinces: cuts in the federal government's own services and expenses. This hypothesis may even be more satisfying than accepting that the Conservatives are intent on raising EI benefits, as it fits perfectly with the progressive erosion of the government that Stephen Harper has presided (in the full meaning of the word) over.
Either way, that the Conservatives believe that Canadians will buy into a magical disappearance of the deficit, without higher taxes or cuts, simply perpetuates the Conservative contempt for the government, and for Canadians.
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