Friday, December 04, 2009

The reviews are in

Jim Coyle:
Oddly enough, or maybe not in the realm of politics, the players who received the least credit and attention in the recent sound and fury over Ontario's proposed harmonized sales tax are those who probably merit it most.

For consistency, persistence and dignity, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and her colleagues were best in class over the last several weeks.

"I'm proud to be a New Democrat – the only political party that's consistent across this country on this nasty tax," Horwath said.

On that score, with the almost laughable reversal of roles of a Liberal premier who was once wary of the tax now imposing it, and an opposition Progressive Conservative party once in favour of the tax railing against it, she could hardly be contradicted.

In almost every question period, Horwath brought the voice of the common man and woman in Ontario to the Legislature, outlining how the HST would impact Pam from Exeter, or Rick from Aurora, or Ron from Port Rowan.

It was a New Democrat's ideal fight – standing up for ordinary folk against the easily understood impact of a tax shift from corporate Ontario to consumers.
Horwath's attack was focused, sustained and – unlike her PC counterparts – grown-up and constructive.
They offered to extend the current sitting to Dec. 22 in order to accommodate public hearings. They received no formal response from the government. The day two Tory MPPs hijacked the Legislature, NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson tried to broker peace.

In the end, Ontarians won a little more time to have a say on the HST, thanks to an NDP-brokered compromise, leveraged through an artful exploitation of Legislature rules rather than their blatant flouting.

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