Jim Flaherty Rejects NDP Home Heating Demand?

I did not notice Flaherty’s interview yesterday getting much play- surprising given how we over analyze every turn on the election front- but the Finance Minister said something very important on CTV’s Power Play. When asked about the NDP’s list of budget demands, particularly the home heating fuel break that Layton continually mentions, we get this from Flaherty:

"That home heating fuel idea is an extraordinarily expensive, and I think when opposition parties come up with ideas they should cost them, and be open and frank with the Canadian people in terms of what it means for taxation, what it means in terms of deficits when they come up with these ideas. If they want help costing them, I’m happy to get the Finance Department to cost them, because when I look at their ideas the first thing I do is say is what would this cost."

The emphasis on EXTRAORDINARILY expensive was striking, and I don’t see any other way to read Flaherty, other than a complete rejection of the core NDP demand. If the government are balking at Layton’s favourite new talking point, it surely doesn’t bode well for any deal. A hard swallow on corporate taxes almost defies pure philosophical logic, but the added rebuff on federal tax on home heating is to the point of insulting. 

A key thing to look for moving forward, if Layton continues to put home heating relief on the top of his agenda or if the "demand" falls off the rhetoric radar. If we do see Layton stop mentioning home heating costs, we can assume the NDP are willing to do almost anything to avoid an election… Otherwise, given Flaherty’s comments, this rejection should be about the last straw from the NDP perspective and an election looks unavoidable. Stay tuned… 

Click HERE to read more from Steve Val.

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