Read their lips


Stephen Harper is on record as saying that, so long as he’s Prime Minister, “there will be no new taxes.” Yesterday, Mr. Harper’s Industry Minister suggested there will be some new user fees.

“We are encouraging departments to develop a full range of options in areas such as administrative and program efficiencies, business consolidation and user fees,” he said, according to a prepared text of the speech.

At least one branch of government is already preparing the groundwork for new legislation that would hike user fees in the agriculture sector. The Canadian Grain Commission recently completed consultations that will pave the way for a doubling of user fees to certify the quality, safety and weight of Canadian grain.

What’s the difference between a tax and a user fee? Good question. Take, for instance, the Airport Travellers Security Charge. When John Baird announced an increase to the ATSC in 2010, the Harper government described it as a “user fee.” When the Liberal government reduced the ATSC in 2003, Mr. Harper described it as an “air tax.”


Read their lips

  1. You’d think at least some members of the press gallery would know that just about every opportunity for levying sensible user-fees has already been implemented. All that is left to do is to review non-sensible ones, and fees that might impact on business.

    This will not produce much if any revenue, certainly not enough to cover the cost of all the tax cuts the Harperites have implemented which have created the structural deficit that they now pretend doesn’t exist.

  2. “What’s the difference between a tax and a user fee?”

    There is no difference, they all came from same source. Government can call it whatever it likes, it all comes out of taxpayers pocket. 

    Taxes are massive transfer of wealth from private sector to public into a general account and then Government spends money as it sees fit. And that’s it.

    Talk about different sources of revenue, and different layers of government (Fed/Prov), is only there to try and confuse people so they don’t understand what is happening. 

    And I have no doubt bolshie Clement is fan of user fees. People are paying enormous amount of money to pay for Government and yet Clement complains we are not doing enough. Apparently paying for entire private/public economy of Canada is not enough, we have to do even more.

    “Fungibility of money is a central principle in economics. It implies that any unit of money is substitutable for another and that the composition of income is irrelevant for consumption.”

    “….  CD Howe report notes that total compensation per civilian employee in the federal government reached $94, 000 in 2009/2010, nearly double the average of $47,500 in the private economy.”

    • There’s a big difference Tony.  User fees are paid by those who use a particular service.  Taxes are paid regardless whether a particular service is used or not.

      • That’s not a big difference to me. The State – Feds/Prov/Mun – takes around fifty percent of our annual wealth for one reason or another.

        If we eliminate taxes and charge user fees for everything – that would big difference.

        I would like tax system where no taxes are collected during the year and everyone keeps exactly what they are paid. At end of year, everyone has to write one cheque to pay for Government (Feds/Provs/Muni).

        People would be shocked by how much they pay and what they are paying for.

        Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

        The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it ~ Thomas Sowell

        • There is no ‘scarcity’. There is, however, bad management. VERY bad management.

          • “There is no ‘scarcity’. There is, however, bad management. VERY bad management.”

            Is it really ‘bad management’ that lets pedophiles walk free and cuts immigrant program or lack of cash? 

            We are cutting programs, and releasing criminals back into community, in order to pay bureaucrats salaries off back of private sector.

            If there is no scarcity, please explain connections, prove to me that I am wrong. Facts and data would be nice and should be easy to find because you are all about science and experts. 

            Thanks for laugh, Colbert Report. 

            “….  CD Howe report notes that total compensation per civilian employee in the federal government reached $94, 000 in 2009/2010, nearly double the average of $47,500 in the private economy.”

            “The federal government is cutting funding to a highly successful immigrant settlement program in Peel that has been replicated across the country.

            The Settlement Workers in Schools program (SWIS) is a partnership between school boards and newcomer agencies to provide a one-stop service on school sites to help immigrant students adapt to a new life and connect their parents with community resources.”


            “Thanks to Graham James, Canadians now know just how simple it is for a man who preys on teenage boys to have his criminal record wiped clean. Over the past two years, 1,554 sex offenders applied for a pardon; only 41 were rejected.”


            The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it ~ Thomas Sowell

            Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

          • I suggest you stop inhaling or ingesting whatever it is you’re on, because your concentration is shot to hell.

            You can’t even stick to your OWN topics for more than 2 seconds.

  3. Harper is a hypocrite? Say it aint so!

  4. It’s all in what you call it….’framing’ the language works wonders.

    • “A word means exactly what I choose it to mean. Nothing less, nothing more.”

      –Lewis Carrol.

      I’m not sure of the current composition, but Andrew Coyne, having carefully parsed the nomenclature, pointed out last month that Harper had the biggest phalanx of ministers in Canadian history, except for Mulroney, and much bigger than all other Western powers.

      Now look, folks, we need user fees to feed those 38 hungry stomachs. Corruption and bloat cannot run on air.

      • Yes, you have to parse every word Harper says, and note the words he doesn’t say…his language always involves loopholes.

    • How about we hold green fanatics to account?  if your predicted ‘catastrophe’ doesnt happen as you predicted, you have to pay back every penny from every NGO and “climate scientist” taken from taxpayers to promote your bullsh1t theory?  weve already spent a couple of billions, CO2 keeps going up, temperatures are more or less steady, or at least way below the IPCC ‘projections’. 

      • When did I predict a catastrophe? I’m that good?

        • the predicted catastrophe is implicit in the call for a carbon tax, is it not?

          or are you more honest and are calling for a carbon tax, not to save the world, but just as a new source of revenue for governments?

          • Since you’ve decided what my language joke means, my job is done. Ask the government what the difference is.

          • I thought it was funny …. I interpreted it as air/breath tax. 

          • Oh, never mind him. He’s just angry because.

      • I still can’t believe that there are people like you who don’t believe that climate change is real. The facts are so apparent that climate change is screwing up our world, so idiots like you can get rich, that people have to start seeing reality. I only hope that future generations can forgive you for being so greedy and stupid   

    • That wouldn’t surprise me. They know one is necessary…it’s just the naming of it that’s tricky.

    • How about the Carbon Consumption user fee? Good It should be implemented. If you insist on polluting you should have to pay.

  5. I’ll give a shot at an answer:

    Taxes are for people who don’t have accountants, corporate lawyers and entertainment budgets
    User fees are a deterrent to prevent poor people from getting subsidized services

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