The NDP is launching a series of ads on TV and radio starting Monday. Today, they unveiled the TV spots on their website.
There are three ads, one for a national campaign as well as tailored spots for Ontario and British Columbia. The message is the same; Canadians deserve a break on home heating costs.
Layton’s message is that the Harper government should remove the federal sales tax from the cost of heating fuel including oil, natural gas, electricity and I presume wood. In much of the country this would be a significant cut – 13% in Ontario, 12% in B.C., 15% in Nova Scotia – due to the HST. And that is part of why Jack Layton is pushing this message, it is his party’s anti-HST sales pitch.
I’ve teased Jack about this on the blog before by calling him a climate change denier and pointing out that lowering taxes on carbon fuels does nothing to reduce the use of those fuels – a major goal of the NDP. Still, this campaign could work.
First off it is pure populism. People don’t like paying taxes especially on necessities like heating fuels. Secondly it plays to an audience that should be an NDP stronghold but hasn’t been, those people that as Stephen Harper likes to say – work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules – in other words, people working hard to make ends meet.
Sure the Tories can mock the NDP on this and point out the hypocrisy on the climate change file. They can claim this won’t achieve any real goals and lowering income tax is the better way to go but that doesn’t really matter.
When the Harper government lowered the GST from 7% to 5% opposition parties said the same thing and trotted out expert after expert to say income tax cuts were the way to go. It didn’t matter, people hate the GST and lowering it was a popular move.
Most voters are not pure ideologues. They may have a particular slant or lean toward one party or another but they don’t reject ideas simply because they are not in line with what a textbook says a Conservative or Liberal or New Democrat should believe in.
This proposal may get scoffed at in Ottawa but I’ll be in plays well at the kitchen table that Layton is so fond of.
You can watch the ads here.