HARPER SHIFTS TAX BURDEN ONTO ONTARIO FAMILIES: Surprise HST deal with Liberals will hit Ontario pocketbooks hard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 9, 2009

HARPER SHIFTS TAX BURDEN ONTO ONTARIO FAMILIES
Surprise HST deal with Liberals will hit Ontario pocketbooks hard

OTTAWA – Ontarians are facing an eight percent increase in the cost of everything from funerals to car repairs, airline tickets, vitamins, movie tickets, summer camps and home heating because of a deal the Harper Conservatives have struck with the McGuinty Liberals, warn New Democrats.

Harper’s surprise harmonised-sales-tax (HST) deal with Liberals, which will merge the provincial sales tax with the GST, will not only add the new tax to many items that are not now covered by the provincial sales tax, but will shift the tax burden from business onto Ontario families and consumers, say New Democrat MPs Brian Masse (Windsor-West) and Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh).

“So many Ontarians are losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet, and yet Stephen Harper is spending billions to raise taxes on everyday essential items,” said Masse. “Out of one side of his mouth Stephen Harper says there is no such thing as a good tax, then out of the other side he’s making a pitch to convince provinces to raise taxes,” he added.

The federal government is planning to spend $4.3 billion to get Ontario to agree to the newly expanded HST, which will come into effect July 1, 2010.

“New Democrats have been firmly opposed to the proposed HST from the start, and we are the only real opposition to raising taxes on Ontario families,” said Comartin.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff lent his party’s support to the Harper government’s mission to foist harmonized sales taxes on the consumers of Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and PEI. During debate on the last federal budget, the Liberals did not raise a peep in opposition to the HST. Now, in the face of public outrage, the Liberal leader is flip-flopping.

“Mr. Ignatieff’s position on the HST is completely ambiguous. Either he is confused on this issue of acting only out of self-interest,” said Comartin. “New Democrats will oppose Stephen Harper’s plan to shift the tax burden onto Ontario families at every turn.”

- 30 -

* For further detail on the HST in the 2009 budget, see Chapter 3: http://www.budget.gc.ca/2009/plan/bptoc-eng.asp