Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP) : Mr. Speaker, it is said there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. This finance minister wants to hit both with his HST scheme.
The B.C. Liberals have foolishly signed on. Now British Columbians will have to pay 7% more for essentials like food, haircuts, vitamins and even funerals.
Why is the Conservative government hellbent on raising taxes at a time when many British Columbians are struggling to pay their bills every day? Why are they foisting this tax on the people of British Columbia?
Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the decision by any particular province of whether or not to harmonize is a decision for that provincial government to take. It is not a decision made by the federal government.
The proposal with respect to harmonization has been in the budgets repeatedly. Years ago under the Liberal government, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and other provinces chose to harmonize. Some additional provinces are now making that decision. It is a decision for them to make.
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP) : Mr. Speaker, the finance minister wants people to believe that he had nothing to do with raising their taxes, and yet he offered the McGuinty Liberals of Ontario $4.3 billion if they harmonized their sales tax.
That bribe worked and Ontario families will now be paying 8% more on vitamins, transit tickets, power bills and, yes, even funerals.
Increasing the tax burden on hardworking families is simply the wrong approach. Will the finance minister stop playing Ontarians for fools and end this Liberal-Conservative tax grab?