Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sales Tax Harmonization As An Election Issue?

Trouble in Tory land for the continued support of at least some of their MPs and Ministers for the proposal:

When I asked Minister Jim Prentice to clear my confusion on our Conservative government’s part in the looming HST gouge, I could have sworn that the answer was being delivered by Dalton McGuinty or Dwight Duncan. It came complete with the standard disclaimer that economists are unanimous in their acclaim of the new combined sales tax. And, it was topped off with the, don’t worry, be happy, icing; “Taxes won’t go up.”

Interesting to try to work out how anti-HST anger might play out in B.C. and Ontario during a fall national election (which, my goodness!, is starting to look halfway possible). I don't see the issue helping the two major parties that much. In both provinces, the harmonization involves cooperation between federal Tories and provincial Liberals, so it would be difficult for the Federal Libs to oppose it, at least in a full-throated fashion. And in Ontario Tory leader Tim Hudak's position has been to arm-wave and protest while at the same time refusing to commit to a repeal if ever elected.

There seems a bit more for the Federal NDP to work with here. Provincially (Ontario), for example, Andrea Horwath has promised a simple repeal. Federally, I haven't noticed a response from Jack Layton, although at the NDP national convention Nova Scotia's Darrell Dexter urged other provincial leaders to exercise caution in the implementation of the harmonization scheme. In any case, they can, should they choose, take a more definitive stand, and without looking at the B.C./Ontario electoral maps I would nevertheless assume there are ridings in both provinces where a such a stance might pull enough protest votes to put the local NDPer over the top.

h/t Northwestern lad for some of the links.

1 comment:

Gene Rayburn said...

85% of British Columbians are against the HST. Campbell is considering repealing the recall process to save his arse and now ex-premier Vanderzalm is leading a referendum moment. Noone for a moment has forgotten Steve either.
I say lets have the election over HST out here.