Harmonized Sales Tax Makes Lefties Turn Right

North America is a polarized continent. Liberal, Conservative. Bleeding hearts versus the heartless. Left versus right.

It is this kind of fodder that makes American cable news programs salivate. But this is Canada, where political stripes are drawn here and there by a complacent citizenry who may not even know what wing they tend to flap. And Canadians may be all the better for it.

Dalton McGuinty’s Provincial government’s harmonized sales tax is a perfect working example of how certain issues fall on both sides of the political sphere. Most Ontarians are against the plan – a tax that would see the 8% Provincial and 5% Federal GST merge for hundreds products and services. In any event, both Liberal and Conservative critics at the federal and provincial levels have criticized the bill, calling it a tactic of deception for a government who is trying to supplement their own inadequacies by pillaging ordinary citizens out of their hard earned cash.

So back to Left versus Right. Thankfully Canada does not have a Sarah Palin to really test my theory that most Canadians could care less what side we tend to gravitate towards. We do have perennial hacks like Alice Klein and Rachel Marsden – but they tend to preach to sparse, stupidity-addicted choirs who fall in line whenever ideological conjecture overrides stone cold facts. Other, more thoughtful individuals look at issues one at a time. You might be a weed smoking gun owner; an anti-war protester who believes Israel has a right to defend itself, or perhaps just a lazy musician who doesn’t want to get taxed if his burrito costs more than four bucks. Believe it or not, Canadians tend to hold beliefs that dance inside the vast political spectrum, only they have no idea what you mean when you tell them so. Good for us. Who needs the labeling of left or right to prevent us from speaking honestly on which issues we are concerned about?

Even McGuinty received help from Prime Minister Stephen Harper – two good old boys on the opposite sides of ideology – to pass this bill. If those two can put aside political differences and proceed to gouge consumers then I don’t see why ordinary Canucks can’t rally together and vote against their overall ideology in the next Federal and Provincial elections.

Ah yes, a harmonized electorate doing what’s best for Canadians.



  1. “Canadians tend to hold beliefs that dance inside the vast political spectrum, only they have no idea what you mean when you tell them so. Good for us. Who needs the labeling of left or right to prevent us from speaking honestly on which issues we are concerned about?”

    Makes me want to move to Canada. The divide and its polar-extreme groupings here have succeeded in making me refuse to watch, read, or discuss politics for quite awhile. Not responsible, I know, but I just can’t take any more of the vehement and venomous—yet completely unbacked or shakily backed—assertions on each side (although admittedly much more so on one).


    1. It merges our provincial sales tax with the federal goods and services tax, basically piling on 13% of taxes onto hundreds of services and products to increase government revenue. The claim by the government is that it will create jobs.


  2. The political spectrum in Canada is very different from the U.S.A. one because, though everyone hates taxes, all Canadians understand they are necessary and good to a point, for universal health care is beloved in this country. However, in this particular instance, the Liberal are enacting a Conservative plan, and so people are upset with both. Well, those who know of the Conservatives involvement are upset with both, for the Conservatives have unsurprisingly tried to distances themselves from the HST:

    “Flaherty downplayed Ottawa’s role and said the decision to meld the taxes was up to the provinces. In the past, Flaherty has publicly pushed provinces to harmonize their sales taxes with Ottawa’s, calling the two-tier tax system a “direct burden” on businesses.”1

    Notice the words used: “was up to the provinces”, i.e., they decided to go along with it, they didn’t create it.

    The HST isn’t so controversial because it’s simply a tax; rather, it’s due to the nature of the tax: it gives tax breaks to businesses and, therefore, places a greater burdon on the consumer. Though businesses employe people and these tax breaks will supposedly provide more jobes and make businesses more competitive internationally, the idea of treating corporate entities and their already wealthy shareholders better than the average citizen doesn’t sit well with most, and nor should it. Also, like everyone now, we don’t believe in Reagonomics and find it difficult to believe that corporate tax breaks will result in current prices being lowered, and that’s only for some products. Actually, the most recent estimate indicates that the average Ontario and B.C. resident will pay an extra 0.7% more in taxes.

    And, yes, the lines distinguishing Canadian political parties from one another are more blurred than in the States, but not blurred enough. Democracy is in greater danger when the lines are clearer. To say someone is a Republic means to follow the views of the majority of Republicans, esp. the main figureheads on television, a medium that uses visual and auditory stimuli and can more easily manipulate people than print alone. This is a simple example, but the point remains, issues in a political system with unambiguously distinct parties on all matters become about party partisanship and everything resultantly becomes black and white. Real debate cannot take place in a black and white world, and if one does, it’s pointless. They might as well and agree to disagree, which in essense is an agreement to recognize one as black and the other white.



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