Friday, September 04, 2009

The "Harper sales tax"

A notable moment from Ignatieff today, taking on the issue of the Harmonized Sales Tax. The Conservatives have been running away from the HST in recent weeks, trying to distance themselves from the policy despite it being a key Jim Flaherty budget measure that has been picked up by Ontario and B.C. Ignatieff is clearly saying no to the game-playing of the Harper crew who seek to nevertheless place full responsibility for the tax on the provinces. It's all part of the Conservative effort to mimic American Republican tax cutting rhetoric and tar Liberals. Yet there's no question the Harper Conservatives have pushed the HST. The "Harper sales tax" moniker? Fair game.
Ignatieff used his media availability Friday to denounce the federal government's treatment of the provinces over the harmonized sales tax, or what he calls the "Harper sales tax."

He said the government has pushed the HST across the country during a recession and then has distanced itself when opposition to the tax heats up.

"And we think that's dishonest. They're fully implicated in this decision and they should take responsibility for it."

Ignatieff said Stephen Harper is pretending it's a provincial matter for both British Columbia and Ontario, yet the federal government will be the collector of the tax.
Stockwell Day clumsily responded to Ignatieff, overtly playing the Conservative hand, showing that yes they are indeed trying to make political hay out of their own HST policy:
"This was clearly a decision made by the B.C. provincial government," Day said in a news release. "We are offering support to British Columbia to assist with transition and winding down of its retail sales tax, as has been done by other provinces."
They're neck deep in the "Harper sales tax," and to protest otherwise is just not credible. Sounds like the Conservatives are very worried about their B.C. fortunes.