Editorial: Goldkind’s refreshing contribution

He may be a long shot to replace Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, but criminal defence lawyer Ari Goldkind is at least making a productive contribution to the election campaign and debate.

In a recent profile in the Toronto Star, Goldkind openly acknowledged he’s advocating for higher taxes. “We pay far less [property tax] than anywhere else in Ontario by a significant average,” he said.

“I don’t care that people go nuts. I care about doing the right thing,” he added.

Obviously, it’s a risky thing to say from someone who nevertheless has less to lose than, for example, Olivia Chow. But it’s refreshing to hear given the current dreamland our political leaders have us living in, particularly during the current provincial election campaign. Premier Kathleen Wynne, while making several worthy proposals, has yet to present a concrete plan to eliminate the deficit. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wants us to believe only big business and the very rich should pay. Conservative Leader Tim Hudak wants to decrease corporate taxes and dramatically cut civil service positions, something he suggests will magically spur private sector job creation.

In essence, the leaders either want someone else (other than their base of voters) to take the hit or, in the case of Wynne, are denying anyone should suffer even as the debt and deficit mount. The reality is that people want improved services and decent wages and there’s no magic solution to ensuring both under the current tax regime. There’s not that much waste in the system to make the deficit disappear and to the extent that there’s room to cut services, we’re still talking about someone’s vital program.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t services to cut anyway, jobs to eliminate or wages to hold the line on. But a fair and reasonable solution to restoring Ontario’s fiscal health probably involves a shared burden of program reductions, wage restraint, and, yes, so-called revenue tools that affect more than just one small subset of society. What we need is a reasonable policy mix that looks for the best options for a balanced approach to resolving the deficit, investing in the economy, and maintaining vital services.

Hudak, of course, has acknowledged the need for very tough decisions but has tilted his policies way too far in one direction. It’s good, then, to see people like Goldkind at least acknowledging the tax side of the equation. We’d be in a better long-term position if other political leaders felt safe enough to follow suit.

For more, click here to see our video on Goldkind.
Glenn Kauth

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