As Emmett Macfarlane notes, the federal Liberals finally have a policy of sorts, on taxes, and it’s probably good politics. But as Tammy Schirle notes, it’s probably not very good policy even if it’s better than the Tory approach. I would add to her comment the thought that it’s not obvious why people without children should be made to subsidize those with. As she says, kids do require more basic consumption. But they also provide benefits, not always monetary and sometimes not obvious to harried sleep-deprived parents cleaning metamorphosed food gunk off something improbable. So unless children are a public good it’s neither fair nor efficient to make people without them help pay for the choices of those with. Which brings me to another issue here.

It seems broadly taken for granted that the Liberals will, and should, seek to confer benefits upon a wide swath of citizens in return for their electoral support. In this regard, they’re doing nothing differently from their supposedly hated rivals (see my National Post column this week) except trying to devise a politically more attractive plan to buy votes. What ever happened to devising policy based on the public good not partisan gain, assuming you haven’t entirely lost the capacity to distinguish them? And what ever happened to voters indignant at bribes even if they are politically adroit and quite lucrative?

John Robson is a documentary filmmaker, an Invited Professor at the University of Ottawa and a commentator-at-large with News Talk Radio 580 CFRA in Ottawa. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D in American history from the University of Texas at Austin. He has worked in academia, think tanks and politics as well as doing print, radio and television journalism in Canada, and produced and hosted the documentary The Great War Remembered for Sun News Network in 2014. He is married to Brigitte Pellerin.

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