Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hall Findlay Calls for GST Hike, Undaunted by Inevitable Tory Attack

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hall Findlay Calls for GST Hike, Undaunted by Inevitable Tory Attack

Article excerpt

Hall Findlay calls for increase in GST


OTTAWA - Liberal leadership hopeful Martha Hall Findlay called Thursday for an eventual increase in the GST, warning against letting her party's policies be dictated by fear of the Conservative attack machine.

Findlay said she knows her stand risks giving ammunition to the Tories, who love nothing better than to accuse opposition parties of being reckless tax-and-spenders.

But Liberals need to have the courage of their convictions, she said, and must stand up to the relentless Tory spin machine, which eviscerated the last two Liberal leaders.

The former Toronto MP pointed out Thursday that Liberals -- and most economists -- opposed Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to cut the seven per cent goods and services tax -- first to six per cent, then to five.

"You can't say that it was a bad idea to drop it and not have the guts to say that, when the economic circumstances are right, that you would consider raising it back up. It's inconsistent," Hall Findlay said in an interview.

She added that Liberals have "run away" from the issue over the past few years because they were afraid of Tory reprisals.

"Well, I'm not afraid of Stephen Harper. The right policies are the right policies."

Not all Canadians will like the idea of paying more GST, Hall Findlay acknowledged. But the third-place Liberal party won't win back support until it starts showing some conviction on difficult issues, she said.

"Not everybody in this country is going to agree with everything, but they're certainly not going to support a party that doesn't have the courage to stand up for what it believes. And if we don't feel we can stand up for what we believe because we're somehow afraid of Stephen Harper's attack ads, then we have a way bigger problem."

Michael Ignatieff, the Liberals' last permanent leader, ran into trouble on the GST just days after taking the party's helm in 2008 when he refused to take a possible increase off the table. …

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