Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Defeat the HST in Parliament - MPs to vote on Harmonized Sales Tax legislation for BC, Ontario very soon

- Joel Bedford photo
Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column
Tuesday December 1, 2009

It's Life or Death for the HST

MPs can kill legislation in parliament this week. Send a message.

Bill Tieleman, 1 December 2009

"I'll decide in my own sweet time."

- Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on whether his MPs will vote against Harmonized Sales Tax legislation

The best and fastest way to kill the Harmonized Sales Tax in both British Columbia and Ontario will happen as early as Wednesday in Parliament.

That's because Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to introduce legislation shortly to implement the hated new tax, leading to a vote that could take place this week.

So that's why I'm urging all readers who oppose the HST to not take their own sweet time but instead drop everything to join a brand new Facebook protest group I created on Sunday called "Defeat the HST in Parliament."

Go to
http://www.facebook.com/ and search for it -- or go to links at my "No BC HST" Facebook group -- BC's largest at over 129,000 -- and join hundreds who have already signed up.

UPDATE 1 - 10 a.m. - Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff announced Tuesday morning that his party will support the HST and demand his Members of Parliament vote in favour of Conservative government legislation to impose the Harmonized Sales Tax in Ontario and BC.

"We will support the legislation in Parliament," Ignatieff told reporters after an emergency caucus meeting about the HST. "Our party for 15 years has supported sales tax harmonization.”

And then immediately contact your MP to tell them to vote down the 12 per cent HST that the B.C. Liberal government of Gordon Campbell
wants to impose July 1, 2010.

Harper has already declared two important things about the legislation. First, that it will not be a confidence vote, so the government will not be defeated and an election called if the HST does not pass.

Second, Harper also says his party will not reintroduce HST legislation if it is defeated in Parliament -- meaning the HST is dead.

That's why it's critically important for the public, who
polls show overwhelmingly oppose the HST, to tell their elected representatives to vote it into oblivion.

All three opposition parties needed

Conservative MPs are all expected to support the HST, so it will take the three opposition parties voting together to defeat the tax, which would add 7 per cent to a wide range of goods and services in B.C. and 8 per cent in Ontario on top of the current 5 per cent GST.

And all the new revenue would go to tax input credits for big business, not to public services.

Ignatieff has
previously called the HST the "Harper Sales Tax" and B.C. Liberal MPs like Ujjal Dosanjh have said they oppose it, but so far the Liberals have refused to commit to voting it down.

Liberal MP Bob Rae was at least honest about that when asked for his party's position:
"I'm not waffling. I'm skating."

The Bloc Quebecois first opposed and then said it would "probably" support the HST legislation.

But no doubt the separatist party
wants Harper to write a multi-billion dollar cheque to Quebec, which harmonized its tax in 1992, as the price for its votes. That should not be tolerated.

The federal New Democrats have repeatedly
stated they will vote against the HST.

Labour and First Nations opposition to HST

Meanwhile in this province, two more powerful groups have stated their opposition to the HST -- the B.C. Federation of Labour and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

B.C. Fed president Jim Sinclair said last week in convention that: "We must reject in the strongest possible terms the HST. This tax is a disaster for everything we believe in. Our slogan is simple: No HST."

And Sinclair says the B.C. Fed may back
efforts begun by former premier Bill Vander Zalm and supported by NDP leader Carole James to force an Initiative vote to oppose the HST.

"We must seriously consider mobilizing in 85 ridings to send this government a province-wide message: we do not want the HST," Sinclair told over 900 delegates on Nov. 23 in an almost unreported story.

And Sinclair said that: "As we meet today, a team of community activists and labour activists in Kamloops are organizing a petition drive to get 8,000 signatures demanding the Liberal MLAs vote against the HST and call a referendum."

Sinclair made clear the Federation was not "anti-tax," but said the HST will mean "more profits for the wealthiest and more pain for the poorest. No one penny of the money collected will go to services -- it is all going to corporations."

'They are brushing us off'

And UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says in an
equally unreported news release:
"This tax will further marginalize and add hardship to First Nations families and communities while increasing the coffers of industry and government."

"First Nations families on and off-reserve already experience high poverty rates and will no doubt be greatly impacted by the proposed HST," Stewart said Nov. 26. "The UBCIC will work with like-minded organizations here in B.C., and will reach out to First Nation organizations such as the Union of Ontario Indians and the Assembly of First Nations."

Chief Keith Matthew, Simpcw First Nation and a member of the UBCIC's HST Committee added that the B.C. Liberal government was not consulting with aboriginal groups.

"They are brushing us off. First Nations strongly believe there is a need to have discussions based on prior and informed consent when the actions of government infringe on our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights," Matthew said.

"Taxation is one of those rights under Section 87 of the Indian Act. Any action that impacts these rights has to be discussed with our elected representatives prior to enacting this legislation. The honour of the Crown is at stake,” he said.

So whether or not the HST is defeated in Parliament, recent events show that opposition is rapidly growing -- long before the regressive tax is close to being implemented.

UPDATE 2 - 10:20 a.m. - The Canadian Press reports that Liberal BC MP Keith Martin - Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca - continued Tuesday to crusade against the HST in his province, predicting it will kill jobs, hurt people of modest means, and cramp the economy.

Maritn dismissed his leader’s argument that federal politicians should respect the wishes of provincial governments.

“We simply are not there to be lackeys, to just move ahead and nod our heads and say yes,”Martin said. “Our role and responsibility is to defend the interests of the people in our province.”



Ivan H said...

Short lived campaign to fight it federally. Ignatieff has already said he will support it. Supposedly the (federal) Liberals have wanted harmonization for 15 years but he wanted to "take his sweet time" to decide their position. Uh-huh, what was the back room deal for his support? And why is it not a free vote for them if they are so strongly behind harmonization?

Gary E said...

My advise to Kieth Martin, Ujahl Dosanj and the rest of the non NDP elected MP's in BC is that they had better jump the sinking ship.

Henri Paul said...

If lieu of large testicles, Ignatieff settled for large eyebrows.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of HST. Keep up the good work boys. The rest of the country deserves little.

Anonymous said...

You anti-HST guys are loosers with clearly way too much time to waste and nothing better to do.

Anonymous said...

Federal Liberals = Federal Cons

People need to get over Jack's mustache and think harder.

Vote NDP

Anonymous said...

So much for that.
What a @$%*ing liar!
Wish I could get $1.9 billion for lying like that.

DPL said...

Keith Martin Liberal MP was on the radio today with Mike Smythe. The subject was the HST. Martin says he can't support it. When Mike aksed him how the BC Liberal MP's would vote on the subject if they arn't whipped. The answer was all the Bc Liberal MP's woud vote against it.

Otis Krayola said...

Hey Anon 6:00 PM,

Fancy you calling anyone a loser. You can't even spell it.

Maybe next time use the dixshunarie, eh? Knuckle dragger.

Anonymous said...

In the Vancouver Sun this morning Liberal Leader Ignatieff says they will be supporting the vote in Parliament, for they, under the leadership of Jean Chretien first proposed 15 years ago, HOWEVER as to who initiated the HST now, Gordon Campbell has always claimed it was the Federal Conservatives WHEREAS Ignatieff states:

"This is a request from the provinces, because they believe it'll improve the competitiveness of their economy and create jobs."

It sounds like Gordon Campbell is the one that started the ball rolling on the implementation of HST with the signing bonus of $1.6 billion being paid by the Federal Government. Maybe what happened was that it was supposed to gel before the provincial election and would have made the under .5 billion dollar Spring budget reasonable.... but it didn't. Campbell knew the monies were coming so he bluffed... outright lied to the voters.... his way through the provincial election.

Ron said...

I have just asked Keith - our Reform-Conservative-Liberal MP on Wednesday Dec.2nd, on the CFAX open-line, if he would be running as an Independent and he said - NO. "I'll be running as a Liberal."

Typical of those principled Liberals.

Henri Paul said...

Anonymous said... 6:20 PM
Federal Liberals = Federal Cons
People need to get over Jack's mustache and think harder.
Vote NDP
Its not Jack's mustache that is the problem, the problem is adjacent to his mustache.

Anonymous said...

Henri Paul said...
"Its not Jack's mustache that is the problem, the problem is adjacent to his mustache."

Clever. Are there specific ideas that you disagree with?

Anonymous said...

Time for a tax revolt.

Anonymous said...

All talk, no action folks. HST already in some provinces and they survived. Majority doesn't give a rats ass about politics. And it shows.

Bill Tieleman said...

I disagree with Anonymous 10:17 a.m. - with 129,000 plus members on NO BC HST, rallies in 18 cities in September over 1,000 canvassers signed up for a province-wide initiative and other actions, people are angry.

The polls show that and we know what happened to the Tories when they introduced the GST.

Anonymous said...

The NDP will remain in opposition until they can articulate a tax plan for pay for all of those lovely social services they claim to support.

That old adage 'there is no free ride' applies on several levels here.

Bill Tieleman said...

No question the NDP needs an economic plan but let's be real clear about the HST - it raises no money for public service - it all goes to big business. This will not put one more nurse, teacher or social worker on the job.

And by taking away all this tax room with the HST, any possible increase in a tax to actually pay for public services disappears!

Henri Paul said...

Anonymous said... 9:14 PM
Clever. Are there specific ideas that you disagree with?
How about I flip that over,tell me what there is to agree with.

Anonymous said...

Nice arguement Tieleman. You've been stuck at 129,000 facebook right from the begining. If you think 129,000 facebook users who are mainly young, non-voters makes a difference, no wonder HST is coming fast and hard. No one complained about the 2% reduction in GST in the past few years. The sky is not falling. The rallies were useless. There will be no tax revolt or general strike. It's very amusing. And I didn't even vote Liberal.

Anonymous said...

Tieleman are you a certified idiot. All the money is going to big businesses??? Look around you. Hardly any companies out there are making fist full of dollars. There are not many "big national companies" in BC. Number one priority is too create JOBS. That's where socialists have no clue about. Everyone has to work. But currently all government resources are being sucked away by non-contributing taxpayers. Too much is spent on services. Declining tax revenues mean less services. It's a simple concept. If businesses can get some of the input tax credits back and help there bottom line, then yes, jobs will be created. HST will help more than it will hurt. No doubt about it. The maritime provinces prevailed, and so will BC and Ontario. Mark my word, Alberta will have a sales tax soon, probably in the 10% range. I should know, I'm part of the tax taskforce looking into alternatives taxes. Corporate and personal tax increases are coming.

Angela said...

I have to agree with both Bill and Anonymous 3:22. There was a steady increase in the numbers but it did eventually plateau, probably won't increase much now. I'm sure there are lots of non-facebook users who would vote against the HST as well but 129,000 is what 10-12% of the voters and only 5-6% of the eligible voters ? If facebook is a great measure of the state of social opinion then this protest needs a lot of help.

However people are definitely angry and will take action to do whatever they can to defeat it. Unfortunately more people are complacent and their inaction spells trouble for the movement. They need to believe the flip side (NDP) is ethical and worthy of their effort to listen. What's the point in defeating the HST and bringing in the NDP if they are no better than the Liberals ?

Ron said...

HST: Hated Sales Tax
December 04, 2009 Rob Ferguson
Toronto Star

Three-quarters of Ontarians oppose the looming 13 per cent harmonized sales tax, suggests a new Toronto Star-Angus Reid Public Opinion survey.

In troubling news for Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals, 70 per cent of the 1,162 people polled said their opinion of the government has worsened due to the HST.

The numbers were released on the first day of public hearings into the tax at Queen's Park, where various interest groups converged, and about 300 First Nations peoples held an anti-tax rally on the front lawn and later blocked evening rush-hour traffic on University Ave. and College St.

"This is where we have to draw a line in the sand," said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee of the Union of Ontario Indians, calling for aboriginals to be exempt from the tax at cash registers.

The HST will put a "great burden" on aboriginal peoples, many of whom live in poverty, particularly in Northern Ontario where the cost of goods is already too high for many without the extra tax, added Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The online poll also found that 76 per cent of respondents are familiar with the tax, which melds the 8 per cent provincial sales tax with the 5 per cent federal GST as of July 1. That means an extra 8 per cent tax on many items that are now exempt from it but are already subject to the HST.

The poll, conducted Nov. 23 to 26, is considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points.

With 75 per cent opposing the tax and five out of six – 83 per cent – predicting it will make goods and services more expensive, it's clear the government's message that the business-friendly levy will boost the economy is not taking hold.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan acknowledged his government's sales job on the tax, which it estimates will create 600,000 jobs by streamlining costs for business, has a long way to go.

"We still have a lot of work ahead of us to help educate Ontarians about this," Duncan told reporters,blaming "misinformation" from opposition parties for telling only part of the story.

"It's a very complicated package."

Duncan said he and Premier Dalton McGuinty have written to their federal counterparts asking Ottawa to grant the exemption the First Nations requested.

At the public hearings, a legislative committee heard a litany of complaints about the tax that will increase the price of gasoline, heating fuel, haircuts, taxi fares, and hundreds of other goods and services.

"We are opposed to new taxes, which is what the HST is to bowling," said Sue Cannon of the Bowling Proprietors Organization of Ontario, who noted laws permitting Sunday shopping and banning indoor smoking have already hurt her industry.

Others, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Trucking Association, came out strongly in favour of the tax, which Duncan says will be offset by personal income tax cuts taking effect Jan. 1 and rebate cheques in the next two years.

"What's uppermost on people's minds right now is jobs and future jobs," said David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association. "And unless we get the tax system right here we're not going to be able to make sure those jobs are there."

Har Dballz said...

Every party wants HST. It's essential. How else are we gonna raise the necessary funds to spend on the useless people that don't work but expect a silver spoon to eat from. Doesn't look like Tieleman is starving. Carol James too.

Bill Tieleman said...

I guess no one ever starved eating PAB-lum! Glad to see you guys working for our tax dollars!

But as anyone who looks at the HST knows, none of the money goes to public services - it all goes to corporate tax input credits.

I suggest you take a look at the sensible position of the Restaurant Association above - they represent owners who actually work for a living.

Jordan Dash said...

Restaurant industry has had it good. Unclaimed tips has cost the government millions of dollars. They weren't complaining when there were a 2% drop in GST. Now they get a 3% reduction in liquor tax and they get some ITC back for goods bought. You make a poor lawyer Tieleman since your arguement skills are elementary. Your sauce is weak. Anyone is stands by and uses facebook as evidence is truly comical.

OPP said...

Smooth like melted butter. This HST fight was like France during the war. Easy victory.

Steven Gerrard said...

If the natives don't like HST, then the right thing must be the opposite.