Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

In my day, I was the most popular Prime Minister ever.

Yes, if you go by the number of seats your party won the first time you were elected to the position. The second time the majority wasn’t quite so impressive, though, was it. And for some unknown reason you decided to retire before the next election, leaving it to someone else to Captain the ship as it sank.

Yes, for any who are still wondering, today’s Tool is none other than the most reviled person in modern political history, Brian Mulroney. I have a hard time even thinking of attaching the “Right Honourable” title in front of his name that current and former Prime Ministers are apparently entitled to. Honourable isn’t one of the adjectives that comes to mind when I think about old Lyin’ Brian.

But why is he today’s Tool when he only makes the occasional public appearance to endorse a Reform/Alliance/Conservative candidate of some sort? Well, that might be reason enough on some days, but Irish Eyes is back in the front of my mind after appearing briefly in a documentary on Frank magazine that aired on the Documentary Channel last night. Ultimately, he comes back to the front of my mind for one very specific reason. Yes, there are many reason to hate the Great White Chin. Disregarding numerous scandals, the big ones that immediately leap from my fingertips into the keyboard are the ridiculous amounts of deficit spending he signed the cheques on, Free Trade and NAFTA (and their current bastard spawn the Softwood Lumber and Mad Cow crises), and the biggie. You know what I’m talking about – it plagues us to this day in spite of Liberal promises to get rid of, or at least reduce, it. This is the man who gave us the GST, a seven percent tax on damned near everything.

I will admit that it doesn’t apply to quite everything, but the few things it misses (mainly groceries) are more than made up for by being applied to things that are already taxed. Yes, you take my meaning: in some cases, the GST is a tax on a tax (so are most provincial sales taxes, but those have a longer standing history and weren’t as sneaky). This occurs most notably on the “sin” items of booze and tobacco. But it also applies to gasoline, that collection polluting of hydrocarbons that just about everyone who has one uses to make their vehicles move.

It was meant to replace other, hidden taxes. Really? I didn’t see the underlying prices on anything go down, did you? Of course, that would assume that it actually did replace those hidden taxes and that the big corporations would choose not to line their pockets with that extra seven percent. We all know how caring of their customers they are. Ultimately, the GST was (and is) a transfer of taxload from manufacturer to consumer. Hmm… how Tory.

What really got me was the first budget speech after they started collecting. Something to the effect of “We underestimated how much revenue it would bring in.” Underestimated how much money it would make. Well, it doesn’t seem to me that it would take too much computer power to figure out what seven percent of everything is, so I’m left to draw one of two conclusions. Or maybe both, considering it’s the Mulroney-era Tories we’re talking about.

1. Lies, lies, lies.

2. Dangerous incompetence.

I’m going to go with both and suggest that you need to look to the pinnacle to find direction.

Perhaps he might be a solid candidate for Tool of the Century for the 20th, and always worth a nomination for Tool of the Year, he’s the Tool of the Day for 16 Dec 2004.

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