Who wants to raise the GST?

Former Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay does, apparently.

An important thing she mentioned was that if she were elected, and the LPC won a majority government (and only a majority), she would raise the GST.

The former and current Liberal leadership candidate seems not to deny this Redditor’s account.

Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff flirted with the possibility of proposing an increase, but then became resolutely opposed to the idea.

Stephen Gordon has argued that the cut to the GST is responsible for the current federal deficit.




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Who wants to raise the GST?

  1. I feel like the GST cut was so stupid that I’d be tempted to vote for pretty much ANYONE who committed to putting those two points back.

    That said, good luck to any leadership candidate who commits to putting those two points back!

    • Do you think adding one point would be any more palatable to the public, or do you think if you’re gonna raise the rates, you may as well go for it all?

      • On this point I feel as though, sadly, the electorate is either too stupid, or too self-centred, so people would get up-in-arms over anything more than a 0% GST increase.

        • How bout you sold it in conjunction with an income tax decrease and a PR campaign pointing out it is either that or less service? I should add as important as doing this in a majority may seem, it is even more important to get it done when the economy is in recovery. That was a fatal mistake the BC libs made. If they had only waited just one more year into recovery they might have been ok – oh and don’t say you wont when you will bring it in anyway.

          • How bout you sold it in conjunction with an income tax decrease

            Yeah, that’d be the way to go, definitely. Also, that argument has the advantage of being both more palatable AND smart economically.

    • Agreed. It is almost universally accepted by economists that consumption taxes are better than income taxes. So, it you’re going to increase something, the GST should be it. And if that’s what it takes to (re)slay the deficit, so be it, IMO.

  2. Raise income tax, not GST. GST penalizes the less well-off more than the rich.

    • I think you got the backwards man. The less well off don’t buy as much as the well off and they get a GST rebate as well. Lower the income tax and raise the GST is the way to go.

      • You’re both right! The argument against the GST is that it is not progressive and therefore takes a bigger chunk of the income from those with smaller incomes.

        • The GST tax credit is supposed to negate the hit on low income folks.

          • And for a very few it does this! It is still true the less you have the bigger bite it will take out of your $.

          • A consumption tax is the way to go. Having more take home pay is better then the couple of cents I save on my Timmies.

          • You’re both right! The argument against the GST is that it is not
            progressive and therefore takes a bigger chunk of the income from those
            with smaller incomes.

            I’ll just keep repeating myself as long as everyone else keeps repeating themselves, here. so far no points are wrong, though your conclusion isn’t a slam dunk.

    • Albertans would love it.

      With GST the most populous provinces, i.e. Ontario and Quebec, put more into the pot than all of the rest of Canada…

      • With GST the most populous provinces, i.e. Ontario and Quebec, put more into the pot than all of the rest of Canada

        Sure, but that’s true of EVERYTHING, as it should be. Ontario and Quebec put more into EVERY federal pot than all of the rest of Canada combined, because Ontario and Quebec are home to more Canadians than all of the rest of Canada combined (62% to 48%).

        • I believe CA collects roughly 40 billions from QC, 85 from ON and 35 from AB. If so, AB’s 35 billions coming from a population base of 3,7 million compared to QC’s 40 billions from a population of 8 million, seems to me AB is paying a lot more income tax and would benefit more from an income tax cut.

          2013/1/10 Disqus

          • I believe CA collects roughly 40 billions from QC, 85 from ON and 35 from AB. If so, AB’s 35 billions coming from a population base of 3,7 million compared to QC’s 40 billions from a population of 8 million, seems to me AB is paying a lot more income tax and would benefit more from an income tax cut.

            Do you have a link for this? It could be true, but it doesn’t seem possible. I know that salaries are higher in Alberta than elsewhere in the country, but I can’t imagine that Albertans pay basically twice as much federal income tax on average as Quebeckers do.

            If it’s really true that Albertans pay an average of $9459.45 a year in federal income tax and Quebeckers only pay an average of $5000 a year, why don’t we hear about that more? Either Albertans ought to be bragging even more about how rich they are, or Quebeckers should be lamenting more how little money they make.

          • The discrepancy is probably corporate taxation in large part, and less so in personal income taxes.

  3. The provinces need to raise taxes to balance their budgets. The federal government is on track to balance the budget in the medium term. It shouldn’t take away the tax space the provinces need to raise taxes.

    • In BC they voted against increasing taxes when they voted out the HST. Most (but not all) do not vote for tax increases…..

      • The way that was done…the lying by the BC libs and so on had a great deal to do with that. Stupidly sold. But your right, the new tax where it had not previously been was very unpopular.

        • the new tax where it had not previously been was very unpopular

          And, perhaps not surprisingly, the old tax no longer being applied in OTHER instances where it USED to apply before harmonization didn’t mitigate the outrage.

          • If i understand you correctly you’re talking about the fact that hst proponents tied to sell it as a lowering of business taxes, while most people just saw it as a tax shift?

          • There’s that, but that’s not what I was actually referring to.

            Many people complained (here in Ontario too) about having to now pay HST on things that one didn’t used to have to pay PST on, because those things used to be PST exempt.

            However, again, not surprisingly, people never seemed to get too simultaneously celebratory over the fact that on OTHER items they DIDN’T have to pay PST anymore because the PST used to be applied to things that the GST never was, and harmonization ELIMINATED provincial taxes from some of those GST-exempt expenditures. So, while here in Ontario there was a lot of noise about how suddenly people had to pay 13% HST on some purchases that they used to only have to pay 5% GST on, there was little corresponding noise about how in other areas of spending people went from paying 8% PST to paying 0% HST.

          • Stop, you’re hurting my brain. It is odd how the experiences of BC and ON were so different.

          • Ontario does not have recall legislation. Pretty big difference.

          • And thank God for that!

            I fear that we Ontarians might well have cut our noses off to spite our faces too, had it been an option.

          • We also don’t have Bill Vander Zalm, and I thank god for that on a regular basis :)

          • It is odd how the experiences of BC and ON were so different.

            I chalk it up to two things.

            One, the government of Ontario said they were going to harmonize taxes with the feds, and then did so, whereas the government of B.C. said they were NOT going to harmonize taxes with the feds and then did so ANYWAY.

            Secondly, for all of our griping, somehow Ontarians understood (or came to understand) that harmonization is good economic policy and that the benefits to the province would substantially outweigh any costs/inconveniences. Meanwhile, in B.C. people were either too mad, or too ignorant to realize that “unharmonizing” the taxes after the fact was both bad economic policy AND would cost taxpayers more money than leaving things harmonized. I’ve always been a proponent of the “mad at the Liberals” rationale as opposed to the “too stupid to know any better” explanation. That said, the sheer number of British Columbians who seemed to honestly believe that the federal government was going to let B.C. keep the billions of dollars they received for harmonizing their taxes, despite the fact that they DIDN’T HARMONIZE THEIR TAXES does give some ammunition to those who make the ignorance point!

          • You had to be there [BC] to see the level of viceral anger at Campbell and the libs. And i thought, despite the economic argument, that it was a sleight of hand – passing costs of lower business taxes on to ordinary folks. Closes thing to a tax revolt you are gonna see in this country. And they had a point, there now was visiably apparent tax on items that had not been there before – particularly on things like second hand clothes and stuff. People weren’t prepared to listen to economic theory…personally i never blamed them for it. People felt hosed.

        • OTOH, then premier Gordon Campbell fell on his sword for the poor (to put it nicely) sales job, and new premier Clark committed to lowering it by 2 percentage points, thus negating it being a tax shift from business to consumers. There was really no rational reason to vote against it after that.

          I can’t count how many times I read that someone was voting against it to teach the Liberals a lesson. That had to be the most idiotic reason to vote against it. Vote NDP in the next election if you want to teach the Liberals a lesson. But vote for or against the HST on its merits, for crying out loud.

          • People were just mad. Beyond thinking i guess.

    • [The federal government] shouldn’t take away the tax space the provinces need to raise taxes.

      I would argue that the level of the GST has virtually ZERO impact on the appetite/ability of provincial politicians to raise taxes.

      “The provinces need the money more, let the PROVINCES raise taxes” is an arguably logical argument to be coming from the feds, but I can see how most people presume that it’s nothing more than a pretty transparent euphemism from Ottawa for “This potato is REALLY hot… here!”.

      • People can only afford to pay so much tax, and it doesn’t really matter if it goes to the feds or the province. And frankly, it makes more sense for the provinces to raise their taxes after the feds create room in our wallets rather than the Feds increasing transfer payments for things that are provinces’ responsibilities anyway.

        • I don’t disagree with the logic at all, my point is simply that when provincial politicians hear federal politicians arguing that “it doesn’t really matter if it goes to the feds or the province” and besides, it “makes more sense for the provinces to raise their taxes after the feds create room in our wallets” they must need to expend a fair amount of effort keeping milk from coming out of their noses!

          It may well be logical and better policy for the provinces to take more of our tax dollars directly, and for the feds to take less. That doesn’t mean that provincial Premiers don’t roll their eyes when the feds come to them and say “Hey, we’ve got an idea, why don’t we slash federal taxes, and give you guys the opportunity to raise provincial taxes?”. Sure, and while we’re at it, why don’t you cut off my right arm and give me the opportunity to learn to write left handed? I mean, OF COURSE a plan of action that leads to the feds looking like awesome tax slashers to voters while the provincial governments look like the jerks taking more and more of our money sounds great… to the FEDS!!!

  4. Anyone know if Hall Findlay still wants to eliminate our outdated dairy quota system ?

    • As far as i know she does. She has a leadership website.

      • That is good to hear. I admire her if she is willing to take on the dairy quota monopolies. Talk about a regime where the 1% thrives…..

    • Didn’t she come out early against supply management?

  5. Under other circumstances i could vote for MHF as liberal leader. She’s smart and brave and a good deal more experienced than JT[ anyone know his view on GST?] But she supports gateway and that is a red line for me[at least to Kitimat] and i don’t think she has as much room to grow as JT. Leadership debates are coming up on the 20th in Vancouver. Should be interesting.

  6. Should make her the darling of the Economists Party and their
    many acolytes in the Media Party … and bring in some bucks
    from her Calgary neighbours. It’s all good.
    And I guess all those good souls who are so concerned about
    the price of milk for poor people didn’t notice the panic in the
    States recently when it looked like their crazy Congress was going
    allow the heavy subsidies in the “Farm” Bill to lapse.

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