Never mind the HST. We need to talk about an unsustainable fossil fueled economy, health care, poverty, transportation infrastructure, the role of cities, foreign policy, and the military.
By Ted Mitchell
Published December 06, 2009
I'm really getting tired of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) being discussed as if it were actually relevant.
It started with the juvenile behaviour of Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak trying to get some political traction. First it was walking out of the legislature, then Bill Murdoch and Randy Hillier camping out and refusing to leave after being suspended for refusing to retract calling Premier Dalton McGuinty a liar.
If Hudak and friends were to have any credibility on this, and not just seizing a populist opportunity to fight tax, they would note that the HST was not McGuinty's idea. (Knuckle-dragging taxpayer: Tax? Bad! Must vote Conservative...)
Without petitioning federal HST cheerleader Jim Flaherty to stop the HST as voraciously as he lunges for McGuinty's jugular, Mr. Hudak is simply playing politics and has no policy leg to stand on.
Let's see: you can have 13 on one hand, or 5+8 on the other. Hmmm. Let's go with 5+8, it sounds like it's much less.
Okay, so there are a few things on which you are going to pay more tax. But if they don't get it from you this way, it's got to come from somewhere else, probably income or property tax, or business tax which might send the employment rate south. At least with sales tax, if you don't like it you have the choice not to pay it. Don't buy so much crap.
There's a HST calculator up where you can punch in your own numbers. Apparently the HST will end up costing my family $600 over ten years. Compared to our total tax bill, that's a tiny fraction of a percent, so trivial it doesn't warrant discussion.
Now I'm no fan of the provincial liberals, who are increasingly contemptuous of public input and accountability, most egregiously demonstrated by the e-health scandal and the more local issue of Hamilton Health Services railroading through the closure of McMaster hospital without debate.
But the HST is so not-an-issue. It just sidetracks real issues and threatens to be the deciding platform, God forbid, in both upcoming provincial and federal elections!
Now the HST virus has infected Ottawa, and predictably, NDP leader Jack Layton is all in a populist huff.
Federal Conservatives sensibly support the HST, but of course they lowered the GST, so no policy consistency there.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff seems to have no nose for public taste at all, and through a whipped vote supported the HST. Suicidal!
People, wake up. We do need to talk about an unsustainable fossil fueled economy, health care, poverty, transportation infrastructure, the role of cities, foreign policy, and the military. And lots of other issues.
But the HST so does not matter.
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