"An 8% ripoff for Canadians" - Jack Layton
"Next summer, if the Harper Conservatives and McGuinty Liberals have their way, a haircut will cost you 8% more. Burying a loved one will cost 8% more. Vitamins, a pair of sneakers, postage stamps, vet fees for your dog, and an oil change for your car will all cost 8% more. Even the price of gas will go up.
That's going to hurt a lot of families, seniors, young people and small business.
From the outset, we New Democrats said the HST (harmonized sales tax) is the wrong tax at the wrong time. The recession is still being felt, unemployment is still rising and this regressive tax will take $2.5 billion out of the pockets of those least able to afford it.
To be clear, Stephen Harper is giving Premier Dalton McGuinty $4.3 billion in exchange for his agreement to tax you more.
B.C., which is also getting the HST, is being paid too, so I can understand why Quebec, which has already harmonized its sales taxes, will want compensation.
But these payouts are all money that drives Canada further into debt and for which the government hasn't budgeted.
At the same time, big companies are winning the jackpot with yet another $1.5 billion in corporate tax cuts and, as McGuinty and Harper boast, the HST will cut business input costs even further. In other words, the HST will drive up taxes that families pay and lower them on big business.
Harper and McGuinty say we need to look at the bigger picture. When we do, here's what we see. This recession was caused not by high wages or a lack of initiative on the part of working Canadians. It was caused by a carnival of greed among bankers, financiers and others who took reckless risks and triggered a worldwide financial crisis.
Yet you and your family are the ones taking it in the neck. Pension funds are in difficulty. Retirement savings tucked away in RRSPs have lost much of their value. And from next summer onward, big business will pay less and you will pay more for everything from Internet services to gasoline.
Is that fair?
We don't think so. That's why we are currently locked in a battle in the House of Commons to block the legislation that will allow the federal government to foist the HST on Ontarians.
Michael Ignatieff's Liberal party has sided with the prime minister, who has launched an underhanded gambit to ram the law through the House before the holiday break.
It's his way of saying, Merry Christmas.
There will be no consultations on the HST law. No committee hearings. No opportunity for Canadians to have their say.
Harper doesn't want to hear from retiree groups, real estate associations, minor hockey organizations, First Nations Chiefs, provincial premiers and many, many others who have declared their opposition.
He wants this out of the way as quickly as possible. He wants you to hang this tax on Premier McGuinty. He wants you to get used to this tax grab so you won't blame him for it in the next election.
We won't let Stephen Harper skip the blame."
-- Layton is leader of the federal New Democrats