Saturday, January 20, 2007
Putting the Spotlight on Stephen Harper's Lies
Kudos to Les Whittington of the Toronto Star for this piece bringing a little accountability to the wave of Tory deceit that has been spewed so freely by the Harpies. Here's Whittington's take on how reality fits with Tory claims.
"...even allowing for the fact that hyperbole and sweeping generalities are the common fare of public life, the federal Tories have often let their rhetoric overtake reality:
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said his budget last May lowered taxes for Canadians.
The reality: The budget raised the lowest income-tax rate by half a percentage point to 15.5 per cent as of July 1, 2006.
On Canada's military activities: In an interview with CBC-TV, Harper said Canada is on the front lines in Afghanistan – a role he said was in marked contrast to the traditional Canadian approach. "For a lot of the last 30 or 40 years, we were the ones hanging back," Harper told CBC.
The reality: More than 125 Canadian soldiers have died on peacekeeping operations around the world since 1956.
In changing how equalization payments to have-not provinces are calculated, Harper said his party, if elected, "would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth."
The reality: The provinces are convinced that Flaherty's new formula for calculating payments to poorer provinces will include half of each province's natural resource revenue – an expectation that is sparking stiff resistance in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
On the Liberals' gun control record: "What this last government did is that, instead of worrying about insane people or criminals, they simply went after farmers," Harper said during question period in the House of Commons.
The reality: The Liberals' firearms licensing and registry program – with its background checks and requirements for training and safe storage – applied to all would-be gun owners, not just farmers.
After Liberal MP and former leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff said that an Israeli air strike in Qana during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict was a war crime, Harper responded: "This is consistent with the anti-Israeli position that has been taken by virtually all of the candidates for the Liberal leadership."
The reality: Liberal leadership candidates denounced the remark as an inaccurate and unstatesmanlike "insult" that risked dividing Canadians for partisan political motives.
"Canada's back," Harper said on Sept. 20 in New York.
The reality: But Harper used a string of statistics and figures to illustrate that the return to fiscal health and economic growth in Canada began under the Liberals.
During the last election campaign, the Tories said if elected they would "stop the Liberal attack on retirement savings and preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them."
The reality: In a surprise decision on Oct. 31, the Conservative government moved to do away with income trusts, a decision that saw more than $20 billion in value lopped off the stock market.
On climate change, Harper slammed the Liberals in a year-end interview with the Star, saying "literally nothing was done for 13 years at all on the environment, literally nothing."
The reality: While the Liberals did not halt the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, they used their final months in power to introduce "Project Green," an eight-year program at an estimated $10-billion cost designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 270 megatonnes between 2008 and 2012.
On child care, Harper said that during 13 years of Liberal government, not a single child-care space was created.
The reality: The Liberals' $5-billion, five-year plan to create a national child-care program along with the provinces led to the opening of more than 5,000 new spaces in Ontario alone, with 20,000 more on the drawing board. But plans for more spaces in Ontario were slashed after the federal Conservatives announced they were cancelling the previous government's funding for the provinces as of this year."