The demise of the HST (IV)


Scott Brison points to the Harper government.

For all this rhetoric, federal Liberal finance critic Scott Brison – the Liberals got all of this rolling during the Chrétien era – notes the Tories did little to help sell the tax in B.C. or elsewhere by wading into sometimes furious provincial debates. “They have refused to share any political risk or pedagogy to explain any tax change, and left provincial governments flailing in the wind,” he said in an interview. “If it’s important politically to the federal Conservatives, they ought to be putting some skin in the game politically.”


The demise of the HST (IV)

  1. The Conservatives won’t be seen to have anything to do with ‘new’ taxes, and anything that brings down a Liberal gov’t has got to be okay with them. With an ideology that less government is always better, that responsibilities are local, really, how can Brison be this naive? It IS important to Conservative. That’s why they are staying out of the way.

  2. To the defence of the Conservatives, leaving a province “flailing in the wind” isn’t exactly a political strategy that belongs to any single federal party.

    HST makes a lot of sense on paper, but it has to be implemented properly.  AND the optics have to be done properly.  AND the province has to trust the federal government enough to give up control of a major revenue source.

    HST means one less tax for businesses to collect & remit, and one less level of government to potentially audit them.  GST/HST tends to be simpler to calculate than PST.  It also saves a whole expensive layer of beaurocracy for the provinces, and speaking both as an accountant and a human being, the world needs fewer PST auditors.

    There is a small increase in cost for CRA to collect & remit the HST for the provinces, but much less than what the provinces spend.  The main plus side for the federal government is that they get to hold onto and collect interest on the money from the time businesses pay it and they send it to the provinces.

    So HST should be a win-win-win for everyone, except that we don’t seem to be able to have coherent grown-up public conversations between different levels of government.

    • You are not that convincing without numbers to back up your contentions. The feds seem to have it right on this issue.

  3. Somehow Brison failed to notice that the HST went down fine in Quebec, Ontario, and three Atlantic provinces.  The only reason it tanked in BC is because the provincial government botched it completely.  That’s not the fault of the feds.
    Also note that it was the provincial sales tax being replaced!  The GST, the federal tax, is already in place everywhere.  So it’s up to the province to decide whether to harmonize the provincial sales tax.
    Brison is completely out to lunch.

    • I’m a BCer, and I supported the HST. Having said that, I totally agree, the provincial government did *everything* wrong in bringing in and selling the tax. And I also agree that it was the provincial government’s job to sell the tax, not the federal government’s. So, Scott Brison should indeed pick another topic with which to beat up the Conservatives.

    • So I guess Ignatieff’s thoroughly expunged from history, then?

      As I do remember this:

      “Ignatieff had derided the HST as ‘the Harper Sales Tax’ while in British Columbia, which is also bringing in the blended tax next year. On Monday, he clarified his position, saying a Liberal government would not repeal the levy.”

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