The Canadian Election: Day Three

The big story today was Harper's announcement that the Conservatives would reduce the GST by from 7% to 5% over the next five years, with an immediate drop to 6%. While economists have always argued that a personal income tax cut is better policy, Harper's GST announcement is the first major policy initiative of any party in the campaign so far.Whatever the economic arguments about the pros and cons of various tax alternatives, Harper has seized the initiative. All day the other party leaders were reacting to Harper. And the average voter can only see it as positive.

It was a bad day for Martin. His previously arranged schedule took him to Cornwall the day after Domtar announced the closure of its 100+ year old plant, eliminating a thousand direct jobs plus the indirect impact. Martin's response was smoke and mirrors, words which promised nothing. This plus his feeble response to Harper's GST announcement left him looking less than Prime Ministerial.

Jack Layton has made little impact so far in terms of capturing the attention of the national media. I hope he has some solid policy pronouncements up his sleeve. One positive note is that healthcare continues to rank as the number one issue on the minds of Canadians. Layton has to put his case as defender of Tommy Douglas'legacy.

As for the Bloc Quebecois, Gilles Duceppe put forward an idiotic-sounding idea about hockey and Team Quebec. But he continues his march too victory in Quebec. Barring a major blunder, the polls indicate that the BQ could end up with as many as 65 seats. That's 10-15 seats the Liberals can't afford to lose given their minority status going into the election.

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