"What are you brooding about?" asks Mrs. Pops.
"Property taxes haven't gone down! And every time some old timer keels over in Port,
the entire Fire Department still turns up, at God-knows-what cost!"
"You'll be singing a different tune when it's you who keels over, old-timer".
"No wonder we have a massive budgetary deficit!"
"No, it's the Provincial Government that's in the red."
"Yeah! And my party is the only one that cares!"
"Your party? I didn't realize that you had taken Tim Hudak's job! " She thinks she's
"OK, I get why people our age choose lower taxes and then moan about the deficit,"
says Mrs. Pops. "All for the sake of saving a few bucks that you will probably spend
on a bus trip to a casino!"
"But the bus is free, and they give you some seed money to boot. Not to mention
a food voucher! And by the way, a lot of that casino money probably goes back to
the government to help cut the deficit."
"You're right. On average we adults gamble almost $500 a year. But two billion smackers
is merely a drop in the bucket. And more than a third of that comes from problem
gamblers. You really want to cut the deficit? I say raise the provincial share of
the HST from 8 per cent to ten per cent!" Like all of a sudden she's a major economist?
"Remember when the Federal Government cut the GST by two per cent? We would just
be going back to the good old days. They didn't have a deficit then. But now that
added two per cent means an extra five billion, cutting the provincial deficit in
half. And you know how much you like the good old days!" Then she does that finger-pointing
thing. I hate that.
"But you would rather fire a hundred thousand people, like our kids, swamped by
daycare and student loans. Shame on you!" You don't need daycare when you're unemployed,
but I kept my mouth shut. Then I thought of something.
"Point that finger at our kids, not me! They don't vote. But, seventy per cent of
people our age do. You raise the HST; you lose our vote forever. You don't bite
the hand that feeds you! You want to slay the deficit? You cut expenses, and lower
taxes. At least my party has the courage to say just that!"
"Yep. It's your party and I can cry if I want to!" Now I'm arguing with Lesley Gore?
"It's easy to be hard and say you're going to fire people. But it takes real courage
for a politician to say he's going to increase taxes!"
"Good luck with that," say I.
"You wouldn't even notice a two per cent increase. It's the only the rich would
notice," she says.
"That's why it's never going to happen. So what are you gonna do? Protest? Is my
wife planning to occupy Glover Park?"
"Actually, I was planning to occupy your bed, Scrooge. But that plan has changed".
"I don't get it."
"Exactly. I just cancelled your party. You can cry if you want to."
Editor's Note: Pops McKernan is the byline of writer Patrick Harding, author of Splendiferous, which is serialized in our Regional section.