Federal Conservatives cannot hide from HST deal

VANCOUVER – Why are Conservative MPs running from their government’s decision to coax Ontario and then B.C. to hike sales taxes? That’s what New Democrat Deputy Leader Libby Davies is asking of prominent B.C. Conservatives who are now attempting to distance themselves from Premier Campbell’s unpopular agreement with the federal government to harmonize the provincial sales tax with the federal GST.

“It is ludicrous that these MPs think they can be so disingenuous with the people of B.C.,” said Davies. “It was right there in the 2009 budget. The Finance Minister has been touring the country promoting it. The HST is clearly a Conservative priority.”

Davies pointed out that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been on a cross Canada tour trying to convince all the provinces to sign off on implementing HST. Since the HST covers more items than most provincial sales tax, the new blended sales tax means everyday essentials will become more expensive if this deal goes through.

“At a time when families in B.C. are being affected by an unprecedented economic crisis and massive lay-offs and job losses, this is not the time to make everyday items like home heating, vitamins and even some food more expensive,” said Davies.

Davies also outlined how these surprise HST agreements are unfair to consumers because they shift the tax burden from business to individuals and families.

“To be absolutely clear,” said Davies, “any deal to blend provincial and federal sales taxes must ensure that individual Canadians aren’t the ones left paying the price.”