...this is how it will most likely break down for the major parties:
Even if Michael Ignatieff had wanted to reverse decades of pro-harmonization party policy to avoid getting caught in the HST crossfire, he could not have done so without declaring war on two influential Liberal premiers. But Harper's Conservatives are also in an awkward position. Their role in the matter is playing havoc with their anti-tax mantra and placing them at odds with their provincial cousins in Ontario and with some of their natural constituencies in British Columbia.
On the other hand, though, the HST debate dovetails nicely with the grievance-based rhetoric of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP quest for a populist wedge issue to distinguish itself from the competition in Ontario and Western Canada.
But I am not sure that it will become a federal issue, at least not in Ontario. While opposition to the tax here is high
TORONTO — Polling conducted in the spring by the Ontario government found nearly 70 per cent of respondents were opposed to the province's tax harmonization plan.
...it seems muted, and certainly played no role in the recent St. Paul's by election, where Hudak's Tories strove mightily to make the vote a referendum on the HST, and failed. This could change, I suppose, and I'm not sure why it is in the 1st place.
One thing though is that the business community itself is split over Harmonization. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has come out in favour of the measure, but other groups have taken an opposing stance. It seems too that there will be splits within various business groupings. So for example, if you employ commissioned sales people, you will save on administrative costs. If you are a commissioned sales-person, forced to pay tax where none existed before, you will either have to eat it or pass it on to your customer. Have fun with that, sucker.
In any case, a good portion of the natural leadership behind any kind of tax revolt will not be suiting up for combat.