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18 2011

Tim Hudak and Small Business

Syndicated from: Steve Paikin

It's no secret that part of what got Mike Harris elected Premier of Ontario 16 years ago was his capitalizing on some significant anti-politician sentiment in the air.   He promised to get rid of what some considered overly-generous, gold-plated pension plans for MPPs. He also pledged to reduce the number of politicians in the legislature.   And when he got elected in 1995, as promised, he did both.   Tim Hudak was one of those newly-minted MPPs in 1995 and he remembers how well those issues worked for Harris.   PC Leader Tim Hudak, with Eglinton-Lawrence candidate Rocco Rossi.     So in this election campaign, Hudak is taking a bit of a chapter from Harris' playbook. At a campaign stop at the United Bakers' Dairy Restaurant in Toronto Sunday morning, he vowed that if his cabinet ministers don't find a way to cut back by 30% on the red tape and regulations that he says inhibit job creation, he'll dock their pay.     Hudak and his Eglinton-Lawrence candidate Rocco Rossi met over bagels witha handful of small business owners. He listened to their concerns, then pledged to cut the corporate tax rate and the HST from their home heating bills.     Hudak also pledged to make Ontario the top job creation jurisdiction in Canada.  Interestingly, when asked by a reporter whether he'd dock his cabinet's pay if Ontario didn't achieve that, Hudak demurred. Click on the box below to see that exchange:       It's also noteworthy that the New Democrats appear to have outflanked the Tories on this issue, since that party is offering a separate tax break specifically tailored for small business to help create jobs.   (Mind you, the NDP are also pledging to raise corporate taxes to pay for some of their other promises).   Critics thought Mike Harris' eradication of the MPPs pension and several MPP jobs played into the public's distaste of politicians, and made it acceptable to dislike, even hate, politicians.   Is Tim Hudak doing the same thing? And perhaps more important, could his promise to dock his cabinet's pay prove to be as big a vote getter for him as similar policies were for Harris?    Hudak with wife Debbie Hutton and daughter Miller, both of whom frequently accompany the PC leader on the hustings.     *   *   *   Behind the Scenes:   Politicians spend considerable time thinking about how to make an entrance when they're doing campaign events. They want to provide news crews with a half a minute of "grip and grin" pictures, so reporters have something to talk over when doing their reports.     So, the pictures look nice: leader arrives, candidates breathlessly awaiting their arrival, look happy, but then they all have to engage in some mindless small-talk, while everyone pretends there aren't a dozen cameras recording the scene.   Here's what it looked like Sunday morning outside United Bakers' Dairy Restaurant in Toronto, as Eglinton-Lawrence candidate Rocco Rossi awaited Tim Hudak's arrival, with wife Debbie Hutton and daughter Miller:            

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