Thursday, February 22, 2007

Harper's Cynical Cigarette Ploy

As far as vote-buying goes, the recent federal tax break to tobacco processing companies really takes the cake. It exposes such a cynical reversal of all of Harper's so-called principles that it takes your breath away.

Harper is using our tax money to give a tax break to tobacco processors - no, wait, it appears that only one company is going to be eligible for the tax break, which the Globe & Mail estimates is worth $500,000 - and that company is located in the riding of federal Immigration Minister Diane Finley, who - quelle surprise - is in danger of losing her seat. The recipient of the $500,000 windfall is Simcoe Leaf Co. Ltd., which is owned by American tobacco giant Universal Corporation.

According to this Norfolk County site, the company imports most of the tobacco it processes; the employees of Simcoe Leaf are losing their jobs even with the handout; and Finley isn't likely to be reelected no matter how much money Harper throws at her riding.

Meanwhile, tobacco farmers in southern Ontario, of whom there are about 650, are in big trouble. They need help transitioning to other crops. But our new fiscal conservatism means that if you're not important to the acquisition of a Tory majority, you're out of luck.


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