Jim Flaherty’s permanent tax on everything

by Aaron Wherry

Federal budget 2008Replacing remaining provincial retail sales taxes (RSTs) with value-added  taxes harmonized with the GST is another area where provinces can contribute  to strengthening Canada’s Tax Advantage … The Government recognizes the significant economic benefits to Canada from sales tax harmonization and is willing to work with the five provinces that still have RSTs to help facilitate the transition to provincial value-added sales taxes harmonized with the GST.

Federal budget 2009Modernizing these harmful taxes by implementing a value-added tax structure harmonized with the GST is the single most important step that provinces with RSTs could take to stimulate new business investment, create jobs and improve Canada’s overall tax competitiveness.

Jim Flaherty, March 30Last week, Ontario’s Liberal government, after objecting to the combined tax for years, decided to switch. Ottawa agreed to help Canada’s most populous province with that move by giving Ontario one-time compensation of $4.3 billion. ”I think this is very good economic policy,” Flaherty told reporters in Ottawa Monday. “This is a massive tax cut, a $5 billion tax cut for businesses in the province of Ontario and that means job creation and investment in the province of Ontario. So, this is very good economic policy over time.”

Jim Flaherty, August 4Ottawa is prepared to cut a cheque to three holdout provinces if they agree to merge their sales taxes with the federal GST, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Tuesday. ”We’ll see what their governments decide to do,” he said. ”But the same proposal – in terms of transition funding – that we made with the province of Ontario followed by the province of British Columbia is available to those provinces as well. The same formula.”

Dick Harris, August 10Bringing a harmonized sales tax to B.C. isn’t the federal Conservatives idea, Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris is emphasizing … Reached Monday for comment on the issue, Harris said the Conservatives are merely adhering to federal legislation passed by the old Chretien Liberal government that includes a formula to determine how much funding a provincial government should get for making the move … ”The legislation is still there, of course, and even if we wanted to change it, the Liberals and the NDP and the Bloc would not vote to change it and we’re a minority government,” Harris contended. Asked what the Conservatives’ position is on harmonizing the provincial sales taxes with the federal goods and services tax, Harris said the party hasn’t really taken one saying it’s strictly a provincial government decision.

Larry Miller, August 11“First, I want to make it clear that this was a change initiated by the province of Ontario and was not a decision made by the federal government in any way.”

James Lunney, August 20. As this was a decision of the BC provincial government, I encourage you to contact your MLA Ron Cantelon (ron.cantelon.mla@leg.bc.ca) to relay any concerns you may have.




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Jim Flaherty’s permanent tax on everything

  1. OK… normally a list of quotes over time provides a nice laugh due to it's inconsistencies. This one, however, doesn't show any inconsitencies.

    Am I missing something?

    • Gee I don' t know Scott – I see Flaherty promoting HST as the best thing since sliced bread , and then Con MP's
      disowning it as if it was some sort of scurge. Seems inconsistent n'est pas?

    • What?

      Allow me to add a little hyperbole to make it more clear for you.

      First four Tory quotes: Harmonization is not just important, it's essential. It's not just the best thing since sliced bread, it makes sliced bread look like feces on a stick. Not only will we argue that the provinces should harmonize these taxes with us at every opportunity, but we'll give them large sums of money if the change their tune and adopt our preferred policy, and we'll suggest publicly that they're idiots if they don't listen to us and do what we're telling them they should do. I don't know why they won't listen to us, and if we have to give them money to make them do the right thing, we're ready to cut the cheque.

      Last three Tory quotes: I don't know where these idiot Premiers got the idea to harmonize their provincial taxes! What are they, stupid? I hope the voters will let them know just how upset they are with the Premiers for adopting this stupid, stupid policy. Oh, and did I mention that we had nothing to do with it?

      • Thank you LKO – I bow to your eloquence.

        • Well, I bow to your succinctness and clarity.

          Frankly, I might not have bothered with my long comment if I'd seen yours, but strangely (given that you seem to have posted 4 hours before me!) when I wrote my reply your reply wasn't appearing on my screen!

          Strange.

      • One question I have is, how is our Government able to circumvent our opinions ( Ontarians ) and implement changes to the system without a debate, discussion etc. I thought that we the people are the governing body ( the majority) and they are supposed to be the executors of our will??? I would not be protesting the HST if it happened at a time of plenty, but this is not a time of plenty for a lot of people. If you were an employee and you changed things without the management's approval ( people of ontario ) , would you continue to have a job? Why is there no accountability laws in place defining what is out of bounds for the leadership of Ontario and for Canada?

  2. I think because "Budget 2009: Modernizing these harmful taxes by implementing a value-added tax structure harmonized with the GST is the single most important step that provinces with RSTs could take" != "this was a change initiated by the province of Ontario".

    • And this: "Harris said the party hasn't really taken one saying it's strictly a provincial government decision."

      Do these people really think Canadians are that stupid?

      • Yes, they do.

  3. Well I guess this officially lets McGuinty off the hook.

    It wasn't his decision after all.

    Whew, that was a close one Mr.Wherry, way to circle the square

    • Who says it wasn't McGuinty's decision?

      • I believe that was what we call sarcasm from AJR79 Ted.

        Now, as for it being McGuinty's decision, of course it was. The idiocy is that the Tories, after years of advocating this policy, brow beating the province into going along, cutting a big fat cheque to get Ontario to agree to a policy the Tories insisted was of great importance, and FINALLY after YEARS of advocacy winning McGuinty over to the Tory side of the argument, now appear to be pointing a finger at the provincial politicians and saying, essentially, "Don't blame us, it was the Province's stupid idea".

        • Nice spot on the sarcasm.

          I will say that I don't see any MP saying it's a stupid idea. Distancing themselves from the decision seems like smart politics. If any of them say it's a bad idea, I will reform my opinion quickly.

          If there is any hypocracy that bothers me, it's from the provincial PC's.
          I can't believe what I've been hearing from those clowns (disgusted sigh)

          • So the hypocrisy of the Harper CONs not taking any credit for general harmony and great-one-time-only-bonus-provincial-windfall doesn't strike you as being a tad dishonest, just smart?
            I guess you win today's CON talking point award!

          • I suppose I could point out that pretty much every pol has been dishonest in some way or another, but I'm sure yours haven't.

            It's a matter of degree, and I don't see too much conflict in the above statements (I notice Flaherty isn't quoted contradicting himself)

            If that all it takes to rattle your soft sensibilities, and get your panties in a bunch, I would suggest you haven't been following politics very long (or very closely).

            Also, keep it up with the CONdecending tone, it's worked quite well for you Liberals in the past

          • Well, I get that it doesn't appear from any of the above quotes that any of the Tories noted above are explicitly saying "this was a bad idea" or "the province shouldn't have done this" but c'mon. What they're saying is "Don't blame us for this, blame THEM". Should not consistency (/honour) demand that they say "Don't blame us OR them, this was a good policy, and we're glad they took our advice and implemented it." I'd say it's pretty inconsistent, after convincing the province to do X, that a federal Tory would come out aqnd say, basically "Don't blame us that they took our advice, it was the Premier's decision to do what we said he should do, and therefore the Provincial politicians should get all the blame if you don't like it".

          • Expecting honour from politicians of any stripe is a mug's game.

            I'm not saying these MP's aren't being disingenious with their statements, but individual MP's messaging certain policies differently then the PMO is not reason for suprise or anger IMHO.

            To be clear on one thing thou. I do not like Dimitri Soudas.
            Not one bit.
            He should have been turfed directly after the G-8
            He is in short, a hoser.

  4. It doesn't look like this is working for them, with news articles starting off with A third Conservative MP is trying to wash his hands of a controversial tax harmonization plan that the federal government has touted as key to economic growth. They worked to hard to sell it before to distance themselves now.

  5. Alberta has had a harmonized sales tax since the GST came out, early 90s. What's the big deal?

    • No PST in Alberta.Great harmonization !!!

  6. Nifty trick by the Conservatives. Effectively get more revenue from a tax hike but blame it on the provinces, when the federal government has been calling for this change in policy (invoking an HST) all along. Gutless hypocrites.

    • Huh? How does the Federal Government make any money out of this??

  7. Nice.

    Champion a program for years and years. Argue vociferously that the only thing standing in the way of this great tax improvement is the idiot Premiers. Virtually brow beat the provinces into adopting your preferred policy. Offer them large sums of money to adopt your long advocated plan. Then, if you have any sense whatsoever that it might not be popular with the people, after you've FINALLY convinced the provinces to accept your argument (and your money) and adopt the policy you've been insisting for years that they adopt?

    Pivot immediately and start wondering aloud "Where did the idiot Premiers dream up the idea for THAT stupid policy???"

    • Blame or credit was transferred?

      Please elaborate.

      • LOL,

        That's the thing thoughh, the inconsistency of it all makes it confusing.

        It would seem to me that today, the Tories are trying to shift the blame for harmonization on to the provinces. However, if this leads to the issue being discussed more again in the media, and economist after economist comes out talking about how smart it was to harmonize these taxes, I have no doubt the Tories will shift from "Blame your provincial government, not us" back to "You're welcome, it took us a long time to get the Provinces to see the light, but they finally came around" in a nanosecond.

        • Deja vu all over again in NS. Made economists happy here too.

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