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April 15, 2005
Do Canadians Need A Tax-Form Contribution To Political Campaigns?

Since Canadians and Americans have tax deadlines within a couple of weeks of each other, form-filing is almost equally relevant on either side of the 49th Parallel in April. Today, as my good friend David Strom puts it, is a day Americans despise. "Abraham Lincoln died on April 15th. The Titanic sunk on April 15th. And we pay our taxes on April 15th!" One of the more amusing features on our federal and state forms is an option to direct one, two, or three dollars of our taxes into election-campaign funds, allocated by the FEC for federal dollars.

This got me wondering if Canadians had such an option for themselves on their tax forms. Perhaps not, although according to the Canadian Press, taxpayers certainly feel as though that's exactly what the Sponsorhip Program turned out to be:

The watchdog Canadian Taxpayers Federation says seething callers have lit up its phones. They're furious about mounting sponsorship allegations of government fraud and corruption.

And the timing couldn't be any worse for the governing Liberals.

Across the country, revelations about how millions of public dollars were spent are sinking in just as the April 30 tax deadline looms.

"Folks are writing cheques to the federal government, then they're hearing all about the waste and mismanagement coming out of the Gomery inquiry,'' says John Williamson, national director of the federation.

It sounds like anger may peak soon in the Adscam inquiry, and with Tax Day rapidly approaching, Conservative leader Stephen Harper may want to consider the effect of scandal fatigue after April 30th. Once the taxes have been mailed, will Canadians resign themselves to outlasting the scandal, or will the demand for change continue to grow as more facts come to light? Thus far, Canadian voters have been remarkably engaged and patient with the Gomery Inquiry, but that cannot last forever. Anger either gives way to action or impotence. Harper will need to gauge his moves with precision to get maximum effect from the Liberal corruption scandal.

Tax Day sounds like a perfect day to launch a new election campaign based on reform. It gives Harper two more weeks to gather more ammunition from the public testimony at the Gomery Inquiry. What better way to underscore the understandable anger and frustration at the theft of Canadian tax dollars than to call for new elections at the moment Canadians have to write their next check to Ottawa?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 15, 2005 6:37 AM

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