NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Ontario Embraces A Tax-Cutter

June 8, 1999

Voters in Ontario, Canada's largest province, have returned to power Premier Mike Harris's Conservative government in a landslide. Tax-cut proponents in the U.S. should be elated, since Harris has dedicated his party to slashing taxes ever since it defeated the socialist New Democrats in 1995.

  • Harris's surprising victory in 1995 was achieved with campaign promises to cut income-tax rates by 30 percent, put an end to excessive union power and racial quotas, and reform welfare -- promises which he kept.
  • His platform this year called for a further 20 percent cut in income-tax rates, a 20 percent cut in property-tax rates and further sales of government assets -- a program which rewarded his party with 58 percent of the vote and many of the 58 seats the Liberals had held.
  • The Liberal Party leader, Dalton McGuinty, campaigned against government spending cuts.
  • The New Democrats -- the only party to call for raising taxes on the wealthy -- won only 12.5 percent of the vote and fell below the number of seats needed for official party status.

Political observers say the Conservative victory in Ontario threatens the Liberal Party hold on Canada's federal government. The Liberals hold only a five-seat majority in Parliament.

Source: Editorial, "Tax Cuts Rewarded," Wall Street Journal, June 8, 1999.


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