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And also this


 

Liberals will support HST bill, Ignatieff says

Michael Ignatieff says federal Liberals will support legislation to implement a harmonized sales tax in Ontario and British Columbia, despite previously bashing it as a job-killing “Harper sales tax.”

The Liberal leader announced his decision Tuesday after meeting his MPs, many of whom felt trapped in no-win situation and were torn over what to do.

Some MPs fear a backlash from voters in the two provinces, who are becoming increasingly angry about the prospect of paying more for a host of goods and services.

Others fear alienating the Liberal governments in Toronto and Victoria, whose campaign machines will be vital to the success of federal Liberals in the next election.

In the end, Ignatieff came down on the side of respecting the wishes of provincial governments, not to mention longstanding federal Liberal policy.

“This is a request from the provinces because they believe it’ll improve the competitiveness of their economy and create jobs,” Ignatieff said, noting that federal Liberals have promoted harmonization for 15 years.

“We will support this legislation in Parliament.”

If they hadn’t previously demagogued this, people might actually be applauding them for their statesmanship. As it is, they just look confused and miserable. You’ll notice no actual principles were involved in this decision: it’s all based on expedience, and fear —fear of voters, fear of the provinces, fear of being seen as inconsistent. But it’s still the right thing to do.

Now perhaps the Conservatives will stop pretending they had nothing to do with their own legislation.

AS FOR the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, their performance on this issue — and I do mean performance — is beneath contempt. At least the NDP believes the rubbish it spouts.


 

And also this

  1. Bravo, Ignatieff! You made the right choice.

  2. speaking as a conservative and harper sup[orter I can not agree more with you. I would add that Iggy is doing a fine job and I trust and hope he continues exactly as he has been.

  3. I endorse Andrew's comment. The Ontario PC Party's performance is indeed beneath contempt. I doubt if John Tory would have stooped to this level.

  4. Ya know, I don't really think that there will be too much blowback on this one…the whole Harper Sales Tax thing never seemed to take off anyhow.

    Now if he really wants the best of both worlds he should try and facilitate negotiations between the provinces and feds to lower the PST portion of the tax by one or two points. Then he'd be the principled populist (don't know what he could offer Campbell and McGuinty in exchange though…)

  5. The NDP doesn’t have the burden of having to implement the policies they propose.

    • Actually, since we are talking about a decision that is made provincially, ou should know that the Government of Manitoba remains, as of yesterday's Throne Speech, opposed to a harmonized sales tax. The burden of admnistering/implementing that policy, remains, as it has for the last decade, with the NDP.

    • Yes, as Dosanjh no doubt pointed out to Ignatieff, there's never been and never will be a New Democratic government in BC…

  6. I think this partly explains why Libs are, hopefully, no longer Canada's natural governing party. I think Libs get zero points from public for doing the right thing. You play to win. Vox populi, vox dei and all that.

    Have Canadians ever rewarded statesmanship?

  7. Now maybe Coyne will take on the business interests who oppose this.

    Oh, wait… That's what the little people are for.

  8. Good for the Libs.
    It's too bad that they didn't just say this upfront ages ago and saved themselves all this trouble and weak optics. The argument in favor of the HST is easily made, and has been made effectively by Libs in the past.
    Overall, a good day for our economic union.

  9. Since when did the NDP oppose taxes. They figured out a wedge issue, period.

    Canada couldn't afford what the NDP would do as a Federal government and quite frankly, unions would control.

  10. On the one hand, I do actually think the HST will be useful in some ways, certainly in terms of reducing the amount of paperwork for both government and business.

    On the other hand, it's hard to see it as a brave, fiscally responsible move for the Campbell government. They've already cut taxes on corporations a great deal (as well as those on the upper-middle class), and with both the HST and the carbon tax it feels more like they're trying to shift the tax burden away from the well-off and onto the average person than anything else. Opposition to such a policy direction is fully consistent with NDP principles.

  11. Not currently. Harper is PM, isn't he?

    But what are you saying "you play to win". He should have voted against this just to "win"?

  12. Speaking as a Liberal and Ignatieff supporter I cannot agree more with you. Yes, of course a new tax sucks. But so does a massive debt we are handing to our children.

    I laugh at the number of Conservatives in Ontario who are against this tax–and therefore perfectly fine with leaving those that follow us in such a deep hole they will never crawl out. What do you think fiscal responsibility means?

  13. Also take the HST off heating and hydro bills.
    They took it off timbits and big macs (a luxery) so exempting home heating & hydro (an essential service) should not be a problem….and then – maybe it would not be so unpopular.

  14. No Dee, you are wrong about the implimentation. The Premiers 'will be' implementing the HST,
    the federal government, like every government before it,
    has not stopped a Province from dictating their own tax policy., by tabling legislation for the provinces to proceed.

  15. MI gave McGuinty his word that he would not reverse the agreement Ontario had with the present govt.
    That agreement was signed in March 2009.

    What Libs should not have done, is tried to copy the federal NDP and attack the Harper Sales Tax……
    ASSUMING the legislation would be included in the budget.
    When has Harper ever done what others assume he will do?

    Liberals never seem to think things out a few moves ahead.

  16. Just a year ago today, Liberals signed a deal putting Dippers in Cabinet.

  17. This tax won't actually increase revenue for anyone, at least not in the short to medium term, so it's hard to see how it will reduce debt. That said, it is the right thing to do, and I am very much in favour of it. The current PST is messy, primitive, inefficient, and a tax on productivity. McGuinty and Campbell deserve credit for doing what's needed. Hudak can get stuffed.

    • Proponents of harmonization argue that the streamlined process helps business compete. If that is the case it should help with our debt. Isn't business competitiveness among your "myriad reasons"?

      And there is some tax shift with this, as those with lower incomes will qualify for compensation in the transition. I can see the provincial Conservatives being against that. More difficult to understand why the NDP is against it although they have been playing both sides of the tax game in recent years – taxes bad, government spending good. Harper also plays both those sides.

      • Yes, there will be some business stream-lining and enhanced productivity. Hudak is opposing it for the sole reason that he can score a few cheap (and as he's about to find out, fleeting) points by doing so. Crass and opportunistic doesn't even begin to describe it. 'Pathetic' is getting warming.

  18. It is really hard to believe Hudak is blowing his credibility in such a fashion isn't it? I expect an old windbag like Bill Vanderslam to try to recapture his glory days with some post-retirement grand-standing tax revolt. But I really would hope for better from a newly elected leader. Naive, silly bugger I am.

  19. Re: "You'll notice no actual principles were involved in this decision: it's all based on expedience, and fear —fear of voters, fear of the provinces, fear of being seen as inconsistent."

    Er, if this was based on "fear of voters" wouldn't the Liberals vote against the HST?

    This is a principled stand, where the Libs are ultimately doing the right thing. The Conservatives could learn from this approach if they weren't too busy playing politics with their own HST policy. It takes a lot of gall to blame an opposition party for the tax policy that the governing party is implementing.

  20. Speaking of the HST, how many articles has the Globe & Mail run in which someone who claims to "represent the interests of retail investors" states his case against the HST? Every day there's a new column by some mutual fund pimp or investment "advisor" patiently explaining how the HST will erode their nest egg. Some go so far as to say investors will move their money to the US rather than pay the extra 8% on their management fees. Let me tell you, any investment "advisor" who advised me to take on currency exchange risks to avoid paying sales tax on his over-priced fees would quickly find himself short one client.

  21. All very true, Andrew. But for this: At least the NDP believes the rubbish it spouts.

    From a "principled" point of view, I am with you. From a good-for-the-country point of view, it may be marginally better for the governing party to not believe the rubbish it spouts, if only in the hope that they wouldn't go so far as to cause irreversible damage (sign Kyoto with no intention to live up to it, scrap-da-tax without scrapping da tax, etc.). And I realize this is faint praise.

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