Friday, December 01, 2006

Robbed of all credibility

CanWest's ideological side rears its ugly head in an article on Canada's anticipated economic slowdown:
The economy in the third quarter grew at the slowest pace in three years, and actually shrunk in September, prompting a warning Canadians could be robbed of future tax breaks if the downward trend continues...

If the slump deepens, and carries through into next year, it could rob Canadians of some promised tax relief, one analyst suggested.
Needless to say, it seems highly unlikely that CanWest or any other mainstream media outlet would use such loaded language to describe any other change in government policy. Which includes the Cons' unilateral cancellation of funding arrangements which actually involved multilateral agreement (and thus a much more arguable "right" to the funding) rather than mere political calculations.

And that suspicion is confirmed on a quick search of Google News for the term "robbed", as at least the first 100 current references to the term apply to break-ins and armed robberies, rather than to governmental actions. But for CanWest, there's apparently no problem in taking a term which properly refers to a criminal assault on a person or property, and applying it to a potential reduction in speculative future tax cuts from a government which may not (and indeed should not) be in power long enough to implement them.

And in case there was any doubt whether the language originates from the analyst or from CanWest's own editorialization:
"The implications of this weakness are slightly troublesome for fiscal policy," Global Insight, an economic think-tank, said in an analysis.

The latest reading on the economy, plus the slowdown in the U.S., could result in growth next year below the 2.7 per cent projected in last week's federal budget update, it said. That may mean less money available to implement tax cuts.
Which, left on its own, would be a relatively fair assessment of the actual possible effects of a downturn: a need for some marginal decision-making by the federal government, rather than a personal attack on all Canadians. But for CanWest, such a portrayal apparently doesn't go anywhere near far enough in stirring up anti-tax outrage. Which explains in part how and why Canada is already cutting taxes to the point of reducing its own competitiveness - and also signals the desperate need for an honest depiction of the role of taxation in the future.

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