Dear Prime Minister Martin and Mr. Harper,
As you know, for over two months, Ontario's Premier, Dalton McGuinty, has been demanding that the federal government provide additional revenues to the Ontario provincial government. Premier McGuinty has also attempted to secure Mr. Harper's assistance in urging the federal government for more money. As though he were Premier McGuinty's shadow, the leader of the Ontario opposition, John Tory, has similarly endeavored to secure Mr. Harper's assistance in urging the federal government for more money.
I am writing in the hope that both of you will ignore Premier McGuinty's and Mr. Tory's pleas.
At present, we in Ontario are observing the unsettling spectacle of cities that want more revenue, but that are fighting against receiving the power to impose their own taxes to raise that revenue: the cities want more revenue, but they want the provincial government (and the federal government) to take the political heat for the taxes that raise that revenue. Premier McGuinty and Mr. Tory are playing the exact same game: they both want the province to have more money, and they both want the federal government to take the political heat for the taxes that collect that money.
Mr. Tory simultaneously has the gall to suggest that he wants the Ontario government to be more accountable. However, the fact is that transfer payments from the federal to the provincial government intentionally blur the lines of fiscal and legislative responsibility in the mind of the voter. This has the effect of allowing the provincial government to be less accountable for its mismanagement of exclusively provincial matters such as health care, education and welfare.
Moreover, federal transfer payments to the provinces in excess of those authorized by the Constitution Act, 1907 are ultra vires the authority conferred upon the federal Parliament by Canada's constitution (notwithstanding that said payments have been made for decades). In this respect, I would remind you both that, before he became a Liberal and a Prime Minister of Canada, the then uncompromised intellect of Pierre Elliott Trudeau generated the eloquent and honest assertion that "...if there is federal legislation to grant taxation money for provincial purposes, this legislation is illegal for the excellent reason that the federal government cannot by law have money in its coffers which it then claims should be used for provincial purposes...It remains the duty of each government to ensure that it does not collect taxes for that part of the public interest not within its jurisdiction" (see his "Federal Grants to Universities" in his 1968 book "Federalism and the French Canadians", p. 87).
Ontarians do not want their federal government to keep overtaxing them and to give some of the excess revenue to its provincial government. Canada must not assist Ontario's provincial government to avoid personal responsibility for the collection of the revenues it spends: Ontarians deserve a provincial government that is 100% accountable for the imposition of the taxes that give rise to the revenues it spends. We also deserve a federal government that does not collect more tax revenues than are needed to finance legitimate federal activities.
Accordingly, on behalf of all Ontarians who want responsible, honest and accountable government, I again ask that you ignore and strongly resist the pleas of Premier McGuinty and Mr. Tory. Do not give federal revenues to the provincial government. Instead, reduce federal income taxes. Then, if the province somehow needs more revenue, the provincial government, and its aiders and abettors in the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, can appropriately take full responsibility for the sin of hiking Ontarians' tax burden.
This media release has been sent to all major print, radio, and television media.
For further information, contact Freedom Party of Ontario's leader, Paul McKeever:
Party of Ontario