Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Can the City win with the Conservatives?

It's no surprise that the 416 elected no Conservative MPs. In my view, the bulk of the Liberal supporters are those without any interest or knowledge in politics. In my neighourhood there were few red lawn signs in support Maria Minna, and I've never heard anyone say anything positiive about her. However, the automaton voters held sway and sent her back to Ottawa.

A more important topic is the possible impact of the election results on the "urban agenda" and the 'New Deal for Cities". In my view, the Conservatives stated policies - and those that might arise out of a fiscal rebalancing - are very beneficial to urbanites.

Take for example the proposed child care allowance. While the leftists have long pushed for state run day care - centralized, socialized and unionized - this is hardly the best choice for many parents. It is especially not suitable for a growing number of families in Toronto who run home-based businesses and do not have car. For many of these families, getting a child to and from a day care outside of walking distance is out of the question. For this growing segment, the $1200 per annum allowance is a far better solution.

The second plank of the Conservative child care platform will encourage employers to establish day-care facilities at the work place. For those who work full-time (with a commute either by car or transit), this option is better than having to drop their child off at another location.

So who then benefits from the Liberal/NDP day car plan? Oh yes - CUPE.

On the overall fiscal front, cities and municipailties may benefit from the fiscal rebalancing. This may occur indirectly - in the form of allowing the provinces more financial breathing room. It may also occur directly if the Conservaties choose to use tax measures to take pressure of municipal finances. There are two ways this could occur:

1. Exempt munipcal debt tax exempt for the bond holders.
2. Institute a broad income tax deduction for municipal taxes.

Either measure is preferable to the negotiated handout method that had been the practice of the Liberal government.

1 comment:

Owlb said...

I especially liked this point you make, J., "the proposed child care allowance. While the leftists have long pushed for state run day care - centralized, socialized and unionized - this is hardly the best choice for many parents. It is especially not suitable for a growing number of families in Toronto who run home-based businesses and do not have car. For many of these families, getting a child to and from a day care outside of walking distance is out of the question. For this growing segment, the $1200 per annum allowance is a far better solution.

The second plank of the Conservative child care platform will encourage employers to establish day-care facilities at the work place. For those who work full-time (with a commute either by car or transit), this option is better than having to drop their child off at another location.

So who then benefits from the Liberal/NDP day car plan? Oh yes - CUPE.


CUPE = Canadian Union of Public Employees (spelled out for the benefit of readers outside Canada)

Choosing among the two planks, as you call them, by dwelling on the first, then boiling that down to the scenario so easily grasped in your clause "a growing number of families in Toronto who run home-based businesses and do not have a car," immediately enfleshes the Harper Child Benefit in tellingly practical terms. You've made the meaning of the proposal so vivid for me that the accumulated fussings of the nay-sayers on the topic are gone with the wind, or into the shredder.

We need to have the practicalities spelled out in specifics in order to escape the pseudo-utopics that hide the ideologization and bureaucratiziation of even so close a famlial matter as the care of the kid/s when/where the parent/s work. Thanks!