OUR VIEW: Long-shot promises

Canadians may never see the Tories’ pledges come to fruition

Voters are used to politicians breaking, or not fulfilling, the promises made during election campaigns.

For 36 days Canada’s federal leaders are crisscrossing the country expressing their devotion to Canadians, trying to woo support of voters – many of whom would rather not be having another election.

This time, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have made some promises that would actually benefit ordinary Canadians.

A $2.5 billion tax cut to allow income-sharing between parents with children, a $275 million fitness credit for adult taxpayers, and an increase to the annual limit Canadians can deposit into tax-free savings accounts from $5,000 to $10,000.

But all three promises come with a clever catch.

All have the proviso that they wouldn’t be enacted until the federal budget is balanced.

Don’t hold your breath. With this year’s budget $29.3 billion in the red, most analysts predict it will take four to five years to balance the books.

And that’s assuming there aren’t any extraordinary expenses like another recession, natural disasters or an international crisis.

Canadians may never see the Tories’ pledges come to fruition. Even if they win a majority this time, those promises likely wouldn’t be enacted until the waning days of their mandate.

On the one hand these conditional promises are a clever strategy.

They come with a built-in excuse so Harper can never be criticized for breaking them.

And they’re a ready-made platform for the next election campaign—a seductive enticement for voters anxious to keep a little more cash in their pockets to tune out or forget about the conditions attached to those tax breaks when they mark their ballots.

– New Westminster Leader