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Its My Party
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"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 funny.

"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?

"That's crazy!"

"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.

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