The HST: Taxing everyday essentials

House of Commons
September 18, 2009

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP) : Mr. Speaker, increasing taxes on everyday essentials is like to trying to dig oneself out of a hole.

Yet the government is pushing forward with its HST scheme, raising taxes on items like school supplies, home heating and even funerals.

Harmonization will create more harm than good.

Can the government explain how paying higher taxes will help Canadians who are struggling with this recession?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC) : Mr. Speaker, I encourage the hon. member, if she feels very strongly about this, to run for a position in the British Columbia legislature. This is the place that makes these kinds of decisions, as well as the Ontario legislature. Our place is merely to facilitate decisions that have already been made by provincial legislatures. That is our place in this.

Her party, however, whenever it gets a chance, wants to increase taxes, wants to increase the burden on businesses, as well as individuals. That is her record. Thank goodness it is not this government’s record.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP) : Mr. Speaker, it is that sort of twisted logic that feeds the cynicism of the public.

The finance minister lobbied B.C. for years to harmonize its sales tax with the GST. Now the minister is trying to convince us that his government has nothing to do with this unpopular tax shift, but Canadians see the $1 billion trail leading to his door.

I would like to ask the finance minister, exactly what date did negotiations with B.C. begin? The people of B.C. would love to know that.