Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flaherty, McGuinty team up just as furor erupts over HST

Globe and Mail

TORONTO — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 12:00AM EST Last updated on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 3:30AM EST

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has gone from denouncing Premier Dalton McGuinty's stewardship of the economy to supporting the Ontario government's ambition to transform the province into one of the world's top-10 financial centres over the past year.

Their friendlier relations were on display yesterday when Mr. Flaherty and Mr. McGuinty attended a blue-chip meeting of CEOs from Canada's biggest financial services companies in Toronto. But the meeting came on the same day debate in the provincial legislature almost ground to a halt over a pet policy of Mr. Flaherty's, highlighting differences between the federal Conservatives and their provincial cousins.

The McGuinty government is under attack by opposition members at Queen's Park over its plans to blend Ontario's 8-per-cent retail sales tax with the 5-per-cent federal goods and services tax - an initiative made possible with $4.3-billion in federal funding.

Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus members staged a protest over the proposed retail tax changes by walking out of Question Period en masse, just minutes into the one-hour debate, after Mr. McGuinty refused to hold public hearings. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak yesterday accused the Premier of avoiding full public hearings across the province because he does not want to face consumers, who would end up paying the new tax on goods and services that are now exempt from the provincial levy.

"Sadly, we see a Premier ... who hangs out with the elite and won't listen to hard-working taxpayers," Mr. Hudak said in Question Period. "If he has that kind of contempt for taxpayers, I see no point in continuing with Question Period today," he said, and left.

It was Mr. Flaherty who began pushing the Premier to adopt harmonization when the Conservatives came to power in 2006. He also called on the Ontario government to lower its corporate tax rates, at one point ridiculing the province as the last place anyone would want to invest.

The Ontario government announced in the budget last March that it had reached an accord with Ottawa to reform the province's retail sales taxes, effective next July 1. The provincial Tories stepped up their attack last week after the government introduced legislation on the harmonized tax, which is now in second reading.

Everyone who works in the Ontario Legislature (including reporters) has endured the incessant ringing of bells meant to call MPPs into the chamber. But the Tories latest tactic was criticized by both the government and New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath, who is also fighting the harmonized tax and who said MPPs need to be in the legislature to "hold the government's feet to the fire."

Mr. Flaherty has not gone out of his way recently to help Mr. McGuinty sell the harmonized tax in public. But an Ontario government source said the fact that Ottawa is providing financial aid attests to its support. He also said Liberals are comfortable with the way the public debate is unfolding, because it calls attention to the fact that the federal and provincial Tories are divided on the tax changes.

Mr. Flaherty was not available for comment following yesterday's first meeting of a new financial council that will look at creating more jobs in the banking and insurance sectors.

But Mr. McGuinty said it was a mistake for Mr. Hudak and his caucus to walk out. "Their responsibility in Question Period is to provoke, cajole, and highlight shortcomings in government policy and they should be there to do that."


Dr Mike said...

Thank you Mr Flaherty for putting your face on this turkey--let`s just hope that Ontario voters remember that it was your doing.

Now if we just had a Federal Liberal Party that would push this notion , well , then maybe ............

Dr Mike

Anonymous said...

Interesting about Flaherty & McGuinty's ambitions. I thought at one point T.O. was one of the world's top 10 financial centres until these 2 clowns came along? Flaherty was part of the Mike Harris dog and pony show ...

A cut paste from another email campaign I received. The math seems accurate for our household.

Petition against the new HST (Harmonized Sales Tax)
A Boomer Wealth Coach Analysis
Was the Liberal Budget presented to Ontario on 26 March 2009, a tax grant or a tax grab? Depending on whose politics or what lobbyists you believe, the answer will be GRANT! Or GRAB! ..... Or somewhere in between.

Our staff did something different. We read the Budget document, called the Ministry Office for details, and added up the numbers. Then, we looked at the results as to how these proposals would affect the retired, or soon to be retired. It tired us out!

Our Report follows. We would encourage you to forward this Report to friends and family.
THE TAX GRAB = 8% more for NOTHING more
Seniors living in retirement enjoy a lifestyle different than the one they lived while at work. In retirement, to be active, often means paying a fee, a membership, an admission, a subscription or for costs for travel, etc.

We have calculated that the impact of this Liberal Budget will be more costly for Ontario seniors than anyone has reported.

Consider a retired couple, receiving total retirement income of $41,400 after tax per year, healthy enough to enjoy some comfort in retirement.

Many of the items used on a daily basis will now be subject to an 8% cost increase, because of the new harmonized sales tax introduced by the Liberal government in this 2009 Budget.

Look at just a few of those items that will cost more per year, without getting any more for your money:
• Cable TV: if $60 monthly, yearly increase is $57.60 more.
• Golf Fees: if $1,500 yearly X 2, yearly increase is $240.00 more
• Gym Membership: if $35 month X 2, yearly increase is $67.20 more.
• Hydro: if $85 monthly, yearly increase is $81.60 more.
• Haircuts: if $450 X 2 annually, yearly increase is $72.00 more.
• Heating Fuel: if $800 annually, yearly increase is $64.00 more.
• Internet: If $65 monthly, yearly increase is $62.40 more.
• Income Tax Prep. If cost is $150 X 2, yearly increase is $24.00 more.
• Legal Fees: for wills, P.of A., advice, etc. Add 8%, $32 more.
• London Knights tickets : 4 games X 2, yrly incr. Is $11.52 more (note Senior Season Ticket $484 X 2, yearly increase is $77.44 more)
• Magazine Subscription: $25 annually X 4, increase is $8.00 more
• Movie Tickets: one per month X 2, yearly increase is $16.32 more
• Newspapers Subscription: $20 monthly, yrly incr. Is $18.91 more
• RRIF/RRSP**: $400,000 family savings, yrly incr. $1,040.00 more.
• Telephone: if $48 monthly, yearly increase is $46.08 more
• Tim Hortons Coffee: 3 per week X 2, yrly increase is $41.18.
• Toronto Theatre: 2 X $150 ticket, yrly increase $24.00
• Vacation Travel: $450 airline ticket X 2, yrly increase $76.00 more
• Veterinarian: Beagle is Family! Add $32.00 more.
• Vitamins: $60 monthly X 2, yrly increase $115.20 more
Are you ready for the TAX KICK coming?
For just these listed items:

Every year
Go to this website to sign a petition against the new HST (harmonized sales tax):