Jim Flaherty's $1 billion tax on everything (except hockey gear and baby clothes)

The Conservatives raise tariffs on hundreds of items

The Finance Minister explains why he’s increasing tariffs on more than a thousand items imported from 72 countries. The Canadian Press explains the details.

The impact on Canadians will likely be higher prices on a wide range of goods, including imported food. Some examples include an increase on the tariff on bicycles to 13 per cent from 8.5 per cent; venetian blinds to 7 per cent from 3 per cent; table fans to 8 per cent from 2.5 per cent; tableware to 6.5 per cent from 3 per cent; umbrellas to 7 per cent from 5 per cent, and potato starch to 10.5 per cent from 5 per cent.

According to the government’s own calculations, the elimination of duties on sports and baby clothes will cost $76 million a year, but it will gain $333 million annually by its other measure. “They are basically giving us a dollar and taking back five. It’s a bit of a shell-game,” Moffatt said.

The Harper government expects to take in $1 billion more in revenue as a result.

If the New Democrats were proposing this, the Conservatives would almost certainly—using the same logic they’ve employed to deem the NDP’s cap-and-trade proposal a “$21-billion tax”—describe this as a $1-billion tax.

Mr. Flaherty promised in his budget speech that the Harper government would not raise taxes.