It's a tax when they say it's a tax - Macleans.ca

It’s a tax when they say it’s a tax

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As a follow-up to our previous discussion on the important, or merely semantic, difference between taxes and user fees (see here and here), we compare and contrast the following.

Globe and Mail, February 26Ottawa is slapping higher security fees on airline travellers a week before the 2010 federal budget – yet insists Conservatives are staying true to their pledge not to raise taxes … The government describes the new charges as “user fees,” rather than taxes.

Canadian Press, March 17Cabinet ministers and MPs are putting up a vigorous defence against the NDP’s move to have a levy applied to all new MP3 players, hard drives and laptops … “This is a very serious hit to consumers that could impact them, and if the NDP are as committed to raising taxes this week as they always have been, then this is a real threat,” Heritage Minister James Moore said Wednesday.