November 24, 2009

Let's not change positions on the HST

I know a lot of people who were quite happy a couple months back when the arrangement was hammered out by our Federal and Provincial leaders.

Ignatieff had derided the HST as "the Harper Sales Tax" while in British Columbia, which is also bringing in the blended tax next year. On Monday, he clarified his position, saying a Liberal government would not repeal the levy. "He is prepared to accept any agreement entered into between our government and the federal government, and that is good enough for me," said McGuinty.

With both Andrea Horwarth and Tim Hudak trying to turn this progressive policy into a hot potato, the last thing we needed was the Federal Party also trying to score points off the back of it. Liberals attacking Liberals never works out in the long-run, as we've learned in the last couple of years at the Federal level.

So, needless to say, I was pretty dismayed to find out today that the HST is once again starting to be looked at as a stick to score some cheap points with. In a Conservative writer's column, no less.

Liberal caucus members were set to debate the new tax last night, but it certainly appears as if the party is backtracking from the favourable reception it has given the HST in the past.

I'll withhold judgement for now because I've liked some of the moves Michael has been making lately (like bringing in Peter Donolo and taking a strong stance against torture) and nothing has been set in stone yet, as far as I can tell. But I hope Bob Rae speaks out against this tomorrow in Caucus and continues to defend our Premier like he did at the Economic Edge Conference when he said:

I salute Premier McGuinty for having had the courage to do it and I encourage him to keep on going. ... it’s such a logical thing to do when you think about it. The big problem with doing it is there’s a short-term issue for some people but there’s clearly a long-term benefit for everybody. And if you have the money to deal with the consumer shocks, the consumer problems that are there, in terms of the immediate impacts. For example double the size of the GST tax credit which is a huge benefit for lower income people. They’ll end up being better off, in fact they’ll end up paying less in taxation which should be the case.

Bob Rae understands this is a progressive policy. I'm not the only provincial Liberal who thinks that; and some would be less likely to sit on their hands at the Federal level when our leader recognizes it too.

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