Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Toronto Star: Big on taxes, short on facts.

Having exempted newspapers from the HST as a minor last minute concession along with the morning coffee, I guess Dwight Duncan was able to extract this kind of editorial self-serving propaganda from the Toronto Star. I wonder what Flaherty did for the Star to get them to foster Flaherty’s blatant lies about tax leakage?

Why is the Toronto Star so big on taxes and always so desperately lacking in facts? Could it have something (actually everything) to do with editorial/commercial self-dealing?

Ditto for the equally commercially compromised Globe and Mail. Also big on taxes, yet desperately short of facts. Just look at the Globe's pathetic coverage of the income trust tax, as they helped foster Flaherty's blatant lies about tax leakage, as well.

Ignatieff and the HST

Toronto Star - Editorial

The Liberal caucus meets in Ottawa today to discuss the party's position on the harmonized sales tax (HST). For Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, it will be a defining moment.

At issue is impending government legislation that would pave the way for the merger of the federal GST and provincial sales taxes in Ontario and British Columbia, with Ottawa paying billions to those provinces in transition funding. Defeat of the legislation would effectively kill the HST initiative in both provinces.

Ignatieff, already down in the polls and struggling to find traction, is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place on the issue. On the one hand, harmonization is being pushed by two Liberal premiers – Ontario's Dalton McGuinty and British Columbia's Gordon Campbell, whom Ignatieff would alienate at his peril. On the other hand, the measure is unpopular with the voters, many of whom have been persuaded by NDP and provincial Conservative rhetoric that harmonization is a "tax grab" that would shift the burden of provincial sales taxes on to items now subject only to the GST. For Ontarians, that would mean paying an additional 8 per cent tax on items ranging from home heating fuel to haircuts.

Knowing Ignatieff's uncomfortable situation, the federal Conservatives are playing politics with the issue by bringing forward legislation now – when the Liberals are at a nadir – and framing it as a routine matter. That is, a vote against the bill will not be seen as a vote of non-confidence in the government. Thus, the Liberals cannot duck the vote by using the excuse that they are simply trying to avoid an unwelcome election.

Given the Conservatives' partisan approach, the Liberals are reportedly tempted to respond in kind by voting down the HST. That might be good politics, but it would be bad public policy.

Rather than a tax grab, harmonization is a legitimate attempt to make the sales tax regime more efficient and less of a deterrent to business investment. It has been endorsed by a wide range of economists and business leaders, and four of the five provinces east of Ontario have already adopted versions of the HST.

Indeed, when they were in office, the federal Liberals backed harmonization and tried unsuccessfully to get Ontario and other provinces to buy into the idea. For them to oppose the measure now would be to overturn past principles in favour of short-term political gain.

It is also worth noting that the HST is the result of negotiated agreements between Ottawa and the provinces. If Ignatieff and the federal Liberals vote the measure down, they will be substituting their views for not just the governing Conservatives in Ottawa – fair game in a minority Parliament – but also for the legitimately elected governments of Ontario and British Columbia. That's no way to run a country.

In short, Ignatieff and his caucus should resist the political siren calls and just do the right thing: support the HST bill in Parliament. They might just find that the public respects them more for taking a stand on principle instead of playing politics with the issue.

1 comment:

Dr Mike said...

Come on Iggy , give them all a swift kick to the "nads" & vote against this tax.

So far only those that were promised an early Christmas present want this turkey---uncle Dalton , uncle Gord & uncle Gilles---I guess I would vote for it too ,if the Feds threw me a billion or two.

Come on Iggy , kick those "nads"

Dr Mike