Motion aims to stop HST implementation

I hope this column finds you and your family well. I also hope you were able to take a moment in the last week to remember the sacrifices of our men and women in the armed forces as part of your activities on Remembrance Day.
It’s something we should do more frequently.
Looking forward, Parliament resumed sitting this week so this column will provide you with an update on two important issues for our riding: the recent long gun registry vote and my work to stop the rapidly-approaching implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario.
On Nov. 4, I was proud to be one of 12 NDP MPs to cast a vote in support of C-391, which would abolish the long gun registry.
I have long been opposed to the long gun registry for a number of reasons, but mainly because it has been an unfair burden for law-abiding firearms’ owners and has proven to be a costly and ineffective tool for reducing violent crime in our large cities.
Furthermore, I sent a survey to each household in our riding on this issue earlier in the year and 96 percent of you agreed the long gun registry should be abolished.
Given your strong mandate, I decided to go public with my support for C-391 last May. When C-391 finally came to the House for a vote earlier in the month, I was quite happy and relieved to be one of 12 New Democrat MPs that helped assure its passage.
To close on the issue for this week, I reiterate my intention to vote for C-391 at its final reading when it comes back to the House sometime next year.
So with the first long gun registry vote behind us, I have shifted my attention to another important issue—stopping the introduction of a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario.
Many, but not all, readers will know the Ontario Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty plans to implement an HST in Ontario on July 1, 2010. The proposed HST would merge the five percent federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) with the eight percent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) into one 13 percent sales tax.
However, there is one enormous catch. The two taxes currently are applied to different goods and services, but the new HST will be applied to all items that currently are subject to one or both of the taxes.
The result? Items like gasoline, hydro, cable and Internet service, hockey registration, heating oil, haircuts, and funerals only were taxed at the five percent rate, but will see their prices increase by eight percent under the new HST scheme.
This means a $50 fill-up at the gas station today soon will cost $54.
Experts, including those at the TD Bank, have concluded the extra cost to families and individuals will be in the hundreds of dollars each and every month.
While the decision to implement the HST in Ontario is one made by the provincial government, you may be surprised to learn this massive tax hike has been promoted, funded, and enabled by the federal Conservative government of Stephen Harper.
For some time, Mr. Harper and his Finance minister, Jim Flaherty, have pressured the McGuinty Liberals to move ahead with tax harmonization and finally convinced them to do so by $4.3 billion of our federal tax dollars to do so.
In short, the federal Conservatives are using our federal tax dollars to promote and finance a massive provincial tax increase that will hit families and individual citizens very hard.
I am disgusted by this turn of events and I am outraged by this misuse of our federal tax dollars.
As your MP, I oppose, in the strongest possible terms, the use of our federal tax dollars to finance a provincial tax increase and I have tabled Private Member’s Motion M-462 in the House of Commons to stop this dishonest and unethical practice.
I and many other individual citizens and groups from across the province, including the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, and both the Ontario NDP and Ontario Progressive Conservative parties, oppose the introduction of the HST.
It is my hope that M-462 will force the 49 Conservative MPs in our province to reconsider their support for the $4.3-billion federal payment that is enabling Premier McGuinty to introduce the HST in the first place.
I am certain we can stop this massive tax grab from being implemented, but only if we make our voice heard at the federal level and among Conservatives MPs.
To learn more about the HST, visit www.unfairtaxgrab.com and www.johnrafferty.ndp.ca/node/260
There also is a “Facebook” group that has been set up for people who support M-462 and want to help stop the $4.3-billion federal incentive payment.
More than 2750 people from across the province have joined our group in the first seven days. You can join our group at http://tinyurl.com/Rafferty-M-462
Until next week . . . John.

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