Saturday, May 17, 2014

Toronto Star pimps Liberals, ‘Goars’ NDP to weasel left vote

The Toronto Star’s flagrant promotion of the Ontario Liberal party — coupled with relentless and baseless smears against the NDP — puts them right in Sun News territory: agenda-driven faux journalism.

Day after day they pump out more propaganda that has all appearances of being crafted by the Liberal war room.

Lies, damn lies and Star columns

Rick Salutin preposterously claimed Andrea Horwath is “a right-wing populist; full out”: Rob Ford, Mitt Romney, Margaret Thatcher and Mike Harris all rolled into one.

Yeah right. And gravity causes people to float up into the sky. The CBC Vote Compass places Andrea distinctly to the left of Wynne in the left-wing of the economic spectrum. (It’s appalling such an absurd lie has to be debunked.)

Reg Martin Cohn and Tim Harper want the NDP to be punished to for “forcing the election” the Liberals and Cons were jockeying for. But the fact is Wynne’s government fell because of corruption, waste and broken promises. Instead of seeking support for her budget, she chose to run attack ads.

At the same time Liberals like Cohn and Harper want the NDP punished, they want voters to forgive the Liberals for trying to buy a majority government with $1.1-billion of taxpayer money last election (gas plant scandal.)

This kind of shameless, unflinching hypocrisy is what you expect to hear from the Stephen Harper Conservatives, certainly not a nationally-read newspaper.

Goar’s attack ad

Now Carol Goar tries to claim the NDP have abandoned the poor. Like the rest of the Star’s campaign agitprop, nothing could be further from the truth.

Andrea promises to end Liberal cuts to welfare and disability and index rates to inflation. Over the years, under the PC and Liberal governments, rates have been eroded by inflation.

The Liberal promise of a 1% hike — which Goar had the gall to actually boast about — is less than the inflation rate of 1.5%. That means it’s an actual cut to rates.

Cuts, more cuts and tax cuts

The Liberals have also “shamefully” cut a number of benefits for the poor and disabled: diet allowances, the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit, discretionary benefits, plus the children’s back-to-school and winter clothing allowance.

The CSMB paid for moving expenses, damage deposits, last-month’s rent and appliances (which could be applied for once every two years.) Discretionary benefits helped people with hearing aids, dentures, emergency food hampers, and bus tickets for job interviews.

At the same time the Liberals were hurting the most vunerable members of society, they cut corporate taxes for the rich from 14% to 11.5% — or $2.4-billion a year. And this is on top of the Paul Martin and Stephen Harper corporate tax cuts of 50%.

All these tax cuts have failed to “create jobs” or benefit society in any way, shape or form. (Like that was the real purpose in the first place…)


No doubt the NDP has moved towards the center. But why not represent centrist and left-leaning voters the Liberal party has abandoned over the past 20 years?

Andrea has certainly not abandoned the poor, however. Far from it. She is the only one standing between the poor and disabled and more “shameful” Liberal cuts.


  1. I think part of the tension is that if one sits down and compares policy for policy over the last decade yes, unquestionably, the NDP is to the left of Liberals. And NDP voters are unquestionably to the left of the Liberals. However, if one looks at the rhetoric and kind of issues that Horwath seems to be pushing both in this election and before, there is a lot of stuff that is being framed somewhat more towards the right than the NDP "really" is.

    Take, say, cutting corporate tax on small business tax and financing this from finding "efficiencies" in government with a new fiscal restraint czar. Sure, the right doesn't have a monopoly on cutting taxes paid for by reigning in unspecified spending, but these are undeniably populist issues coming from the right. They are substantially different than a message that puts, say, social justice or environmental sustainability front and centre.

    This is doubly so when you couple this with the fact that the Liberals made a big show of running to the left, from a rhetorical standpoint one can not unreasonably make the claim that the Liberals are actually to the left of the NDP, even if from a policy legacy sort of standpoint it isn't remotely true.

    The slightly ironic part here is that on my blog you pushed back at me, essentially suggesting that the Liberals run rhetorically to the left, but then govern to the right. The hope for the NDP somewhat needs to be the opposite: that they will run to the right, but govern to the left.

    The somewhat ironic part is that on my blog you pushed back by essentially saying that while the Liberals may run to the left, they have and will likely continue to govern from the right. Here we have the reverse: an NDP who, at least from the leader, is playing up populist appeals that the right likes, but to which NDP supporters like yourself mean they are going to actually govern from the left.

    1. Cutting government waste has never been a right-wing issue. The NDP has always been about fiscal responsibility. The right-wing portrays them as flaky left-wing tax and spend (while they create massive deficits.) It's nonsense.

      Of course, there's a huge difference between fiscal responsible and fiscal conservative. The NDP want to cut bureaucratic waste. The Liberals over the past 20 years have cut social spending. The federal Liberals created massive surpluses paid down debt which the Harper neo-cons blew on reckless tax cuts.

      Small businesses are not corporations. Over the past 15 years, corporate taxes have been slashed 50% federally + McGuinty's $2.4B cut. Both Layton and Horwath put forward the idea small businesses are major job creators and are relatively overtaxed. This is obviously not a neo-con idea. Neo-cons want corporate tax cuts so share prices and dividends will rise (self-interest.) They don't care about small business owners.

      The NDP best represents the interests of the poor and disabled. The Liberals have been cutting benefits and will continue to do so. Just because the NDP moves towards the center (with is right of left) doesn't mean they are moving into right-wing territory. They are not.

      The NDP also has to appeal to voters to get votes. That's how our democracy works (which is technically populist.) So the NDP is campaigning from the center and the left and that's where they'll govern from.

      The Liberals obviously don't need a majority to get progressive legislation passed. Why do they want absolute power? So they can do whatever they want. Like the GST and decriminalization of marijuana, they can say after winning the election, "Oh we can't do those things. Circumstances are worse than we thought."

      BTW, the NDP has always been a populist party. As Tommy Douglas said, in his parable of Mouseland: why have a government run by cats who eat the mice (businessmen who exploit the people) when you can have a government run by the mice? The NDP's populism is center-left. Neo-con populism is fake: it foists a social con nanny-state on the people and cuts taxes that primarily benefit the rich.

      It's a fallacy to equate populism with right-wing. It's just a rhetorical scheme used by Liberals this election to attempt to portray the NDP as right-wing so they can weasel left-leaning votes. But like when Chretien won most of the left-leaning vote, the Liberals will abandon left-leaning voters as soon as they get 4 years of absolute corrupt power.

  2. Any party has a choice of a different populist issues to focus on in an election. It isn't that cutting taxes and cutting government excess are exclusively right wing issues, but those are typically the big issues that the right runs on. In contrast, populist issues on the left including things like investments in clean energy, more progressive taxation systems, increased assistances for students/senior/etc.

    The reason why Horwath consistently gets labelled by the pundits as "running from the right" is that so much of her rhetoric isn't pushing the various progressive populist issues, but ones from the right. Yes, there is a difference between Hudak's 30% corporate tax cut, and Horwath pushing cutting small business tax and HST on hydro. Yes, there is a difference between promising 100,000 public sector job cuts, and making a minister a dedicated waste finder. But they are playing cards from the same deck. She isn't trying pull centrist Liberal voters over on the strength of a progressive platform, but buying into the cut tax and cut spending rhetoric, even if it is an NDP twist on that idea.

    Perhaps none of this matters. We probably don't disagree hugely on the kind of policies we would like. But I don't think the rhetoric and emphasis of an election matters, that it strengthens the mandates, that issues proposed in elections while not guaranteed to be put in place are somewhat more likely to be put in place. If I could pick an NDP campaign - if I could pick a progressive campaign - it wouldn't be this one.

    1. The NDP is fighting for fair taxation. They demanded the income tax hike on the rich back in 2011. They will cancel the Liberal's $2.4-billion corporate tax cut for the rich (on top of the 50% federal cut to corporate taxes; according to KPMG Canada has lowest effective corporate tax rate of ALL major economies.)

      The HST cut on electricity should not be an issue. The Liberals should never put it there in the first place. Electricity is a necessity of life like food. They only care about middle class voters. They don't understand how low-income earners have been gouged and nickled-and-dimed to death with their regressive pay-as-you-go conservative fees, taxes and hikes.

      You are also presenting a false dichotomy here: the NDP and Cons are playing from the same deck. The fact is the Liberal party is controlled by red Tories. They are neo-con lite. They are to the right of the NDP on the right-side of the political spectrum.

      The NDP propose cutting waste by $600M/yr or 0.5% of spending. That is nothing compared to the billions a year the Liberals have cut from social and infrastructure spending.

      The real reason the Liberals want a majority government is so they will no longer have to deal with the NDP. And that is not to make their government more progressive. It's to allow them to implement more the Drummond Report cuts they commissioned.

      No doubt, the NDP have to appeal to left-leaning and centrist voters to get power and put an end to 30 years of Tough Tory Times. But as the progressive voice over the past 30 years, how many of their policies have been implemented? Zero. So what is the use in being an ignored voice? To impotently witness all the destruction?

      People who believe the Liberals are a progressive party haven't been paying attention to the last 20 years. As a pragmatic centrist progressive-incrementalist I have only ditched the Liberal party recently. Justin Trudeau was the last straw. I choose to not get fooled again.


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