February 13, 2015

Referendum: Responses from MLAs – Weekly Count – 3

There’s a month left until the ballots go out for one of the most significant votes ever held in Metro Vancouver – one that will determine the direction of this region for perhaps a generation.  And yet, after several requests, a majority of the elected provincial representatives of this region have not responded to some basic questions on where they stand.   Why do you think that is?


THOSE WHO HAVE RESPONDED (Click on name for submission):

Doug Bing (Liberal, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) – doug.bing.mla@leg.bc.ca

Stephanie Cadieux (Liberal, Surrey-Cloverdale) – stephanie.cadieux.mla@leg.bc.ca

Spencer Chandra Herbert (NDP, Vancouver West End) – s.chandraherbert.mla@leg.bc.ca

Raj Chouhan (NDP, Burnaby-Edmonds) – raj.chouhan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Kathy Corrigan (NDP, Burnaby-Deer Lake) – kathy.corrigan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Judy Darcy (NDP< New Westminster) – judy.darcy.mla@leg.bc.ca

David Eby (NDP, Vancouver-Point Grey) – david.eby.mla@leg.bc.ca

Mike Farnworth (NDP, Port Coquitlam) – mike.farnworth.mla@leg.bc.ca

George Heyman (NDP, Vancouver Fairview) – G.Heyman@leg.bc.ca

Gordon Hogg (Liberal, Surrey-White Rock) – gordon.hogg.mla@leg.bc.ca

Jenny Wai Ching Kwan (NDP, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant) – jenny.kwan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Linda Reimer (Liberal, Port Moody-Coquitlam) – linda.reimer.mla@leg.bc.ca

Selina Robinson – (NDP, Maillardville-Coquitlam) – Selina.Robinson.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Jane Shin (NDP, Burnaby-Lougheed) – jane.shin.mla@leg.bc.ca

Shane Simpson (NDP, Vancouver-Hastings) – shane.simpson.mla@leg.bc.ca

Sam Sullivan – (Liberal, Vancouver-False Creek) –  sam.sullivan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Jane Thornthwaite (Liberal, North Vancouver-Seymour) – jane.thornthwaite.mla@leg.bc.ca



Email request sent on January 8:

Marc Dalton (Liberal, Maple Ridge-Mission) – marc.dalton.mla@leg.bc.ca

Peter Fassbender (Liberal, Surrey-Fleetwood) -peter.fassbender.mla@leg.bc.ca

Scott Hamilton (Liberal, Delta North) – scott.hamilton.mla@leg.bc.ca

Douglas Horne (Liberal, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain) – douglas.horne.mla@leg.bc.ca

Vicki Huntington (Independent, Delta South) – v.huntington@leg.bc.ca

Richard Lee (Liberal, Burnaby North) – richard.lee.mla@leg.bc.ca

Mary Polak (Liberal, Langley)- mary.polak.mla@leg.bc.ca


Email request sent on January 21:

Suzanne Anton (Liberal, Vancouver-Fraserview) – suzanne.anton.mla@leg.bc.ca

Harry Bains (NDP, Surrey-Newton) – harry.bains.mla@leg.bc.ca

Adrian Dix (NDP, Vancouver-Kingsway) – adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca

Mable Elmore (NDP, Vancouver-Kensington) – mable.elmore.mla@leg.bc.ca

Sue Hammell (NDP, Surrey-Green Timbers) – sue.hammell.mla@leg.bc.ca

Marvin Hunt (Liberal, Surrey-Panorama) – marvin.hunt.mla@leg.bc.ca

Bruce Ralston (NDP, Surrey-Whalley) – bruce.ralston.mla@leg.bc.ca

Linda Reid (Liberal, Richmond East) – linda.reid.mla@leg.bc.ca

Moira Stilwell (Liberal, Vancouver-Langara) – moira.stilwell.mla@leg.bc.ca

Ralph Sultan (Liberal, West Vancouver-Capilano) – ralph.sultan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Amrik Virk (Liberal, Surrey-Tynehead) – amrik.virk.mla@leg.bc.ca

Teresa Wat (Liberal, Richmond East) – teresa.wat.mla@leg.bc.ca

Andrew Wilkinson (Liberal, Vancouver-Quilchena) – andrew.wilkinson.mla@leg.bc.ca

Naomi Yamamoto (Liberal, North Vancouver-Lonsdale) – naomi.yamamoto.mla@leg.bc.ca 

John Yap (Liberal, Richmond-Steveston) – john.yap.mla@leg.bc.ca (Unable respond due to illness).


Email request sent on January 30:

Rich Coleman (Liberal MLA, Fort Langley-Aldergrove) – rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca

Jordan Sturdy (Liberal, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky) – jordan.sturdy.mla@leg.bc.ca



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  1. I have written to Richard Lee, my MLA, to encourage him to support a Yes vote. I hope others will do likewise and announce the fact here. In my experience, taking action and letting others know is one of the most powerful ways to mobilize support.

    From my letter, in case it helps others write:

    We choose this neighborhood for three reasons: shopping, green space and transit, all within walking distance. If the Skytrain were not here, we wouldn’t be either. For us, transit is essential to a vibrant city and a good quality of life.

    We own two cars. I drive almost daily. By choice, my wife regularly opts to take the bus instead to her work at —. Every week I take the train downtown. My Chinese mother in law, who lives with us, never learned to drive; she takes the bus across town to visit nieces and nephews or to Crystal Mall at Metrotown for groceries. When friends come to visit us, they often come and go by train. In a few years my son will be old enough to take transit on his own; it will liberate him to visit his friends.

    Not only will we benefit from the transit: we will enjoy the shops, restaurants, businesses and public spaces it makes possible. When we moved here, we expected that the Skytrain would bring development and density. Caveats about building height aside, the massive redevelopment of Brentwood Mall is the sort of thing we hoped for. When I look at the places in this city (or in any city) where I would want to be, all are served and made possible by walkable neighborhoods and transit.

    As a driver, I have watched Lougheed and Willingdon go from clear sailing to near constant traffic jams. I do not expect those cars to ever go away. The only way to make this neighborhood work is to provide other ways for people to move around, both in the immediate area and across the city. To me, the Evergreen Line, the Broadway Subway (with its connection to the Canada Line) and more frequent bus service represent trips I would rather make without driving. They represent freedom for my parents in law and my son.

    We would be more than happy to pay a .5% sales tax if it meant better transit and more vibrant neighborhoods. We look forward to someday owning only one car, saving far more than this small tax would cost. We want to see this plebiscite succeed. I hope to hear soon that you are giving it your support and doing your part to help make this a great city to live in.

  2. Dear MLA, I am writing to you to encourage you to publicly affirm the proposal of the Mayor’s Council for funding TransLink. I fully realise that approximately five hundred people working at TransLink are coining over a hundred grand per, and in the executive suite it goes much higher, but why wouldn’t it? This is the resort of Vancouver and it ain’t cheap. They elect each other and scratch each others’ backs, so it makes perfect sense that they are milking it to the max while they can, and every time they up the ante or blow a few million nobody really takes a bath because the clever spinners in the PR department always covers their arses.

    All of us in our family sit around the dinner table and regularly solemnly agree with each other that the world is about to soon end. Our children have nightmares all the time about big cars driven by obese people belching pollution. They wake up crying. The planet is at a critical point. Mr. Suzuki told us so. A few more SUVs in Vancouver and, as Naomi tells us, it’s game over! We believe. Congestion and gridlock is a very close disaster and many people will die if we don’t agree to absolutely everything the Mayors want. Life is becoming hell on Earth. We are deeply in karma debt. Giving TransLink all the money they want is good for our hoped salvation.

    I also understand that as an honest citizen that works hard, it is me and my family that has to be shaken down for the readies so that TransLink employees get their massive earnings and their wild-and-crazy plans can see the light of day. We want the thousands of kilometers of bike lanes in TransLink’s dreams. We don’t mind that the ticket gates aren’t installed. We don’t mind that the high-tech Compass Cards are years late. We don’t mind that the Evergreen Line is delayed, again. We don’t even mind that millions of people don’t buy a ticket. Some of our favourite politicians don’t, so there must be a good reason.

    My wife and I are both tradespeople and our work means that we both have heavy equipment on trolleys to carry around, which is obviously impossible on buses. So I’m working on importing bicycles from India with sidecars for our luggage. We tell ourselves that we must get out of our vehicles, otherwise there won’t be anything for our children except a hot and polluted shell of a dead planet. We’ve bought our parents bicycles and they do complain about the rain but they’ll just have to suck it up.

    We fully understand that once this new tax is in place that it will be raised to expedite or expand the programme, or because the feds won’t chip in, or because someone screws up again. That’s okay, we’re used to being squeezed harder once we give these hustlers a foot in the door and their hand in our pockets. Transit and bike lanes are the utopian glory we want and we don’t mind how much TransLink wants.

    Your obedient servant …

    1. Do me a favor. Vote No: and take the effort to tell the politicians why. I’d love it if the vote was “No, But…” or “No, and…”. If the folks voting No got together and organized to fix Translink and come up with a better plan, the result could even be better than a Yes. But all I’m hearing is “No, Period.”

      Politics won’t deliver democracy if all we can be bothered to do is mark an X every few years. I don’t object to people who disagree with me. But I do object to cheap cynicism that does nothing to build an alternative.

  3. I completely agree with you Geof. Cynicism on it’s own is often tiresome and desrving of ridicule.

    In this instance, though, I cannot assist you in formulating an informed answer regarding the complexities of a multi disciplinary conglomerate that dabbles in everything from real-estate to buses, with trains, roads, bike lanes and paths and bridges thrown in too. Like many citizens I have my own business to attend to. I do believe though, that I have a smattering of an opinion as to the antics that I hear about at TransLink and the targets they are aiming at in search of more, and more of my cash. I also see that the head office staff and board are unimpressive in terms of the scope of their responsibilities. (I can see why it’s a plum local appointment, that many apply for.)

    These targets TransLink sees as sources of money to feed their enormous appetite are increasingly outside the areas I would expect to see a transit authority venturing towards. I see this as increasingly coming from an ideological, rather than an economic and business, basis.

    I like public transit because I like cities and I’ve probably traveled on around twenty city rail systems and as many, or more, city bus systems on many continents, many hundreds of times.

    But, when I see TransLink rolling out the usual suspects and more, telling us that they must have more money otherwise; we’ll get more obese, we’ll have more heart attacks, we’ll have grid-lock so bad that traffic will come to a halt, we’ll have more dementia, more asthma, more deaths, the planet itself will die. A million people are coming around the corner. Quick, give us the money, or else! It just reminds me of those preachers on the street corner trying to save us and this, my friend, is cynical claptrap, and in my estimation, deserving of ridicule.

    1. I agree that many claims are suspect, reduced congestion and commute times in particular. I voted against the HST because I believe democracy is more important than economic efficiency. From what I can tell, we got neither. We paid the price, not the politicians responsible. I am no longer sure I made the right choice.

      In this referendum, I care about one thing: is this good for our city? Board salaries, poodles, and compass cards are beside the point. All that matters is a judgement of outcomes and their likelihood. This is how I see it:

      Plan A: A Yes vote allows the plan to go ahead. There are hiccups because mice and men. Translink is under increased scrutiny: we are watching what they do with our money, while parts of the Yes coalition become the kernel of a lasting constituency for transit and walkable urbanism. The self-perception of the region changes. Politicians are more responsive to the region’s transit needs in future. The trauma of the vote makes the Translink a little better at relating to and communicating with the region it serves.

      Plan B: Citizens vote No. Christy Clark has said alternative funding is up to the mayors. Despite the anti-tax vote, they somehow manage to negotiate a property tax increase. (In my view, the chances of this happening are slim to none.) Riven by internal divisions, their new plan is much compromised. It’s enough to prevent further service cuts and fund a few small capital investments. There’s a big shake-up at Translink as the region asserts more control, but any improvements are ambiguous.

      Plan C: There is no Plan C. Everyone blames everyone else; without political will and consensus, nothing is done. Lacking adequate funding, Translink cuts frequency and coverage. Administrative cuts make little difference. The province builds the Pattullo bridge, transferring some of the costs to Translink. Surrey tries to forge ahead with their LRT, raising property taxes to do so, but on a much smaller scale and without supporting bus routes it ends up being more of a boutique project than a transformative one. South of the Fraser continues along its course of car dependence. Mode share for transit drops across the region as service deteriorates. Translink is demoralized; lacking respect, the people who run it are just there for a paycheck. The deck chairs are shuffled, but it’s one step forward, one step back. The No side evaporates immediately following the vote. The business community who supported the Yes side throw up their hands and go back to calling for more infrastructure to satisfy their needs. After a decade there is again talk of implementing rapid transit along Broadway.

  4. “I voted against the HST because I believe democracy is more important than economic efficiency. ” Interesting. Let me guess; you are either wealthy or an accountant interested in new work?

    Too bad about the one billion six hundred million dollars that BC had to give back to the federal government when cancelling the HST, eh. Coulda come in handy for a few new buses and paths.

    1. Many, many, many of the people who voted against the HST will be voting against the transit initiative because they will take any opportunity to vote against tax. Never mind that BC continues to hike MSP rates because the province doesn’t collect enough in income taxes. Unlike income taxes MSP hits the middle class hardest on a percentage basis: you likely pay the same amount that billionaire Jimmy Pattison does.

      I really struggled with the HST because I saw that it was a more efficient way of collecting sales tax, but meant giving up control to the federal government and, of course, because we were lied to about it. The fact that nobody in the BC Liberal party lost anything in the whole HST affair means that we’re likely to be lied to for the rest of time because lying obviously works.

      The BC Liberals do not need a single urban vote to remain in power forever. They understand that very clearly. There’s no chance that even a penny of that $1.6 billion would have gone into transit or other non-automobile urban transportation.

  5. Nobody lied to you. After Ontario agreed to introduce the HST it only made perfect sense for BC to remain competitive and also introduce a more efficient tax. The fact that Ontario was happy to introduce their HST, without any opposition and the endorsement of the unions, shortly after the BC election was a coincidence. As you and the poster at top, Geof, say, the HST was more “efficient”.

    You tell us that those voting No will be many of those that voted against the HST, because of one reason or another but often because of reasons other than practicality and efficiency. Many of those that voted No to HST were also voting against the government of the day. In this vote many are voting No because they are against the Liberal government.

    We can also be sure that many opposed to another complicated component of collecting and administering another tax; small, medium and large business people, will also be voting against this tax. As will anyone involved in sales of expensive items because their products will cheaper just down the road. Others voting against will be drivers that have to get around for their business because they know driving itself is up for new taxing soon as described in the long term plan from the Mayors’ Council, as well as those that just like to drive, whether commuters or families.

    Others voting No will also likely be those on the North Shore that are underwhelmed with the exciting promise of another Sea Bus. As well as those that live in the southern and eastern regions that fully expect mere crumbs, after the big boys have scooped the lions share.

    And, the close followers of the repeatedly successful Mayor Derek Corrigan in Burnaby, who says he’s voting No.

    The deadline is months away. A lifetime away. The polls will be interesting. I suspect support will decline from the last poll and then the big guns will come out. Or, at least try to. The results will be talked about and analyzed for ages.

    1. Can I please point out to you that it is a well known fact that the extra revenue from hst did come from end of the line customers, and it was admitted that this tax benefited business by enabling them to claim the pst portion as an itc, dollar for dollar on their tax returns, while individuals lost all pst exemptions and paid 7% more on a wide array of things. It was anything but revenue neutral. It is only more efficient for business, and you’d have to be completely naive or totally nuts to think businesses would just kindly pass along those savings to their customers. Any business with a pst number not purchasing raw materials does not pay pst as it is charged once to the end consumer. Businesses who are purchasing raw materials have long since worked the cost into the price of their products. The PST increased overhead for small business significantly as commercial rents and inventories became pst taxable. Or did you think the federal government wanted to do this to save the people money? Pass me your rose tinted glasses!

      1. Yes Jen, businesses were able to claim the PST portion as an ITC, the same as GST expenses. This would, of course, reduce the cost of doing business and therefore make more money available for employees salaries, or reductions in prices to the next buyer. So, if, as you say, individuals lost exemptions, they gained with cheaper hairdressing, massage, club memberships and snack food expenses. This is really why most of the world is moving towards an HST style tax. The added expenses administering this tax take money out of the system and give it to bureaucrats and accountants.

        This is also why special industries like BC Film productions now have to have special exemptions or other tax advantages, from the general kitty, to remain competitive.

        Another thing that HST did was to update sales taxes to the reality of the digital world. The old PST had been written before companies operated in a digital environment. The GST/HST solved this dilemma. The PST is based on the transacting of tangible goods, that’s why there is a massive number of specific exemptions due to the manufacturing process. The ‘new’ PST had to be re-written, at taxpayer expense, to take this new paradigm into account.

        The federal government doesn’t see extra money from provinces that have adopted the HST. The provincial proportion is returned to the respective province. As too, the items taxed are and always were to be decided by the province. The idea that the HST was an abrogation of control to Ottawa is absolutely devoid of any foundation.

        1. Argh, I thought I had replied to your comment, but I probably didn’t hit post comment twice. Grr.

          Anyways Eric, here is what I said. Trickle down economics, repeat after me, DOES NOT WORK. You didn’t see hairdressers reducing their prices because they had to add seven percent to their services. So if a cut and highlights was $200, it went from $210 inc gst to $224. Naturally, tips took a beating as well. That same salon then had to pay 7 percent more on their commercial rent, and 7 percent more on their inventory, because they no longer had a pst number exempting this tax on goods for reselling. This is why you didn’t see prices drop. Keep in mind ITCS only refund tax you have already paid (and the HST ensured you’d be paying more tax than before) off of the tax collected to remit, which jumped 140%. Give me one example of a business that did drop it’s prices in bc. Calculating and rermitting PST for most operations shouldn’t be so complicated that it would free up any significant amount of capital. Again, trickle down economics is a lie.

  6. Jan, I know that you are well intended but I must say this. The hypothetical hairdresser you mention would have their taxes work this way; as a registered business with the CRA they would follow GST rules, this allows them to claim back as ITCs, 100% the cost on their GST return, the total HST that they pay for inventory and supplies and on their commercial rent.

    Extraordinarily, even Bill Tieleman didn’t at first understand this distinction. He did though, later retracting his misunderstanding. The introduction of the HST did mean that commercial leases were taxable but the complete HST amount was recoverable as an ITC. A complete wash. Taxes are complicated and have to be because we have exemptions for those that are less well off, then we have to be diligent in ensuring that the wealthy are not taking unjust advantage of exemptions not designed for them. Many, many people didn’t fully understand the HST and many people don’t understand this present referendum. Even today on CBC people are calling in saying no to an increase in PST for Vancouver’s transit, even though they live in the mountains far away. They do, though, have a point but they don’t understand it. The point is that if the referendum is successful it is calling for Metro Vancouver to pay one third of the total cost requested. The province will pay another third. This other third will include money from those living on the Island and in the mountains, and those up north, since the provincial government does not have to power to print money and will have to come from somewhere.

    Any successful business plans well into the future and accesses costs and prices over years. The HST wasn’t in place long enough to affect the reduced accounting costs and other benefits to show up as a quantifiable numeric is consumer prices.

    In my particular case Our business purchased new computer equipment during the HST in BC period. It was about $5,000.00. The ITC component of the provincial portion of the tax that we benefitted from was therefore around $350 dollars, which we trickled down to restaurants and other consumer items.

    1. Ok Eric, I’m sorry about the late reply but let me try to explain, again. I understand how HST works. There is no need to explain it to me. It is you that fails to understand that in the scenario we are discussing, it is only the pst portion of supplies/equipment that would be used in the shop, as well as the pst portion of any bills the business had, that would be a be a benefit. There was no PST before the HST on commercial rent or goods to be resold, incidentally two of the things you spend the most money on, aside from staff. With the HST, your overhead was much higher. Being able to deduct it off what you have collected is good, since you will be remitting 140 percent more than before. THIS money comes directly from your clients, who CAN’T write off that tax. (very few occupations consider haircare a legitimate expense) As crazy as it might seem to you, some people do budget and will go elsewhere once your services pass a certain threshold. Others will tip you much less, for the same general reasons. Of course many will simply just pay more. So the 140% increase in what you are remitting is coming from your clients, the end users, who won’t be claiming it against anything. So you say you spent the pst portion of your computer purchase which was taken off what you had collected. You went to restaurants, you paid an extra seven percent, and I hope you didn’t ding your server because of it.

  7. I think perhaps that the problem here is that the hypothetical hair salon that you are using as an example, is not and was not registered with the CRA as a business and does not collect GST, and therefore is not eligible to benefit from allowed ITC (imput tax credits).

    As you correctly write, before the HST there was no PST on commercial rents, but there was GST and this was completely rebated as an ITC. As was the complete combined GST & PST as the HST. It was then and always has been completely rebated for the hair salon and therefore should not have increased the price at all, for any customers. All supplies to that were subject to HST were also eligible for 100% rebate. Again, no increase at all to the salon.

    “Examples of operating expenses for which you can claim an ITC are:

    commercial rents;
    equipment rentals;
    utilities; and
    office supplies (such as postage, computer disks, paper, and pens). ” cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gp/rc4022/rc4022-e.html#P663_51903

    Of course, any small increases in sales tax expenditures that were made by low income citizens were eligible for HST credits.
    “The HST credit was combined with the goods and services tax (GST) credit and the B.C. low income climate action tax credit into one quarterly payment.
    Individuals with incomes up to $20,000 and families with incomes up to $25,000 were entitled to receive the maximum credit. ” Income Tax Act (B.C.) Section 8.2

    So, again, the increases were a wash for the businesses as well as for low income people. The only people that were paying more were those not eligible to claim back rebates or receive credit payment cheques from the government. ie. the more wealthy.

    1. Yes, completely ignore the part about whose pockets the revenue actually comes from. I’m not talking about businesses without a tax number, either. That is ridiculous. Why would I go into detail explaining what was pst exempt with a pst number and reference itcs if I was talking about a business that had neither? I’m pretty sure you need a cra business account to get a pst number in the first place. Do I need to define what overhead is? Tax can be remitted monthly or quarterly; one might not calculate ITCS until they file. In the meantime, you are paying more. Despite your protests to the contrary, you know the revenue generated for the province comes from the end user: your clients, pretending there is no effect on business or tips is naive at best.

      To recap: I understand that the hst paid on qualifying expenses comes off what you owe, dollar for dollar. This does not negate having to pay 7% more on thousands of dollars initially, and for your customers it is a price increase with no rebate. It did affect business, which was already hurting from 2008/09. I also found it very interesting you think anyone making over $20,000 per year would be considered “more wealthy”. The HST was voted down because more people were the end consumer and paid more tax. Think about them for a moment.

  8. I am sorry Jenables but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fully understand your points. I have a PST and a GST number and have had for many years. Yes, when the HST came in I did take in more money but I also had expended more and, therefore had more to claim back in rebates. My prices to my customers never went up. My clients had been paying 5% GST and 7% PST and suddenly they were paying 12% HST. No difference. As I said, I didn’t increase my prices. My accounting obligations and my time dealing with the paperwork and filing of sales taxes were cut in half. If I stopped off for a junk food snack I had to pay 7% extra tax. Aside from that the only thing I remember having to pay more for was an extra 7% on a haircut.

    1. Eric, it is obvious that you benefited from the tax, my argument was never that nobody benefits. However you seem quite blind to the fact that many people received no benefit and in fact paid more due to the hst. Using our salon example, yes, as you referenced, personal care service taxes went from 5 to 12%, as did any prepared food, restaurant meals, magazines, books, children’s clothing, utilities etc etc. In fact, here is a list of things the end consumer would be paying seven percent more on.

      Children’s disposable diapers (goes up actually from 5% HST to 12% GST+PST)
      Certain school supplies
      Private Sale of automobiles
      EnergyStar windows
      Thermal insulation, weather stripping, and caulking
      First aid kits
      Smoke detectors valued less than $250
      Food producing plants and trees
      Household moving services
      Adult sized clothing for children
      Shoe repair
      Tailoring services
      Dry cleaning
      Used adult clothing purchased for less than $100
      Snack foods
      Restaurant meals
      Catering and event planning services
      Basic cable television
      Local residential phone
      Repair to certain household appliances
      Repair, maintenance or renovation services for real property
      Landscaping, lawn-care, private snow removal, and house cleaning
      Computer software repair services
      Camping sites
      Domestic air, rail and bus travel originating in British Columbia
      Motor vehicle parking
      Real estate commissions
      Massage therapy services
      Over-the-counter medications
      Admission to professional sporting events
      Movie tickets
      Safety helmets for sports
      Golf memberships and driving range fees
      Gym and athletic memberships
      Ballet, karate, trampoline, hockey, soccer lessons, etc.
      Tickets for live theatre
      Admission to museums and art galleries
      Music concerts
      Ski lift passes
      Children’s sized ski boots
      Hockey rink and rental halls
      Music or video purchased and downloaded electronically.
      Funeral services
      Fitness trainers
      Hair stylists/barbers
      Esthetician services
      Accounting services
      Interior design services
      Wedding planning services
      Veterinarian services
      Chewing tobacco
      Nicotine replacement products
      Personal Protective Equipment including: helmets, harnesses, safety footwear, eye protection etc.

      So the pst amount on a haircut might be next to nothing, insignificant to you, but many people cut and colour their hair regularly-every four to six weeks. Those people would be paying close to or over $100/year, due to HST and that is only one example. As for raising prices, I’m not sure where that comment came from. I’m refuting that businesses would lower their prices due to the HST, and I doubt you have any evidence that this has happened in Ontario or the Maritimes.

      After all, where exactly do you think the extra billions in hst tax revenue came from?

    2. The difference was that HST included more, or shall I say most, services categories, such as movies or restaurants. PST is a sales tax, excluding services, whereas GST and HST are a goods AND services tax. So in your business ( what is it btw ? ) selling goods like clothing or cars or other stuff it would have been neutral to customers whereas in services, such as hair cutting or restaurants or movie theaters it would have been higher. Maybe that is why Jen and you differ in the assessment of an otherwise useful tax strategy. In the end HST would have collected more revenue as the tax base was broader.

  9. It certainly is clear that the discussion over which is the better system for collecting a sales tax will go on for a long time to come. One thing we know for sure is that bookkeepers and accountants love the two tax system. It also keeps a load of provincial bureaucrats busy. This is Canada with decentralised governments, each province their own fiefdom with taxation powers and etc.

    – {On 4 May 2011, an independent panel commissioned by the British Columbia government released a report on the impact of the HST in that province. The report concluded that “Unless you are among the 15 per cent of families with an income under $10,000 a year, you’re paying more sales tax under the HST than you would under the PST/GST: On average about $350 per family.”

    The report also predicted that by 2020, the HST is anticipated to result in a BC economy that will “Be $2.5 billion larger than it would be under the PST. That’s about $480 per person or $830 per family.” } –

    In BC there certainly was opposition to sales tax on, among other things; used cars, massage services, cigarettes, dry cleaning, Doritos and a pop. The introduction of the HST changed the PST from a cascading tax system, which has been abandoned by most economies throughout the world. In a province that frequently rejects business development it is amazing that the provincial government manages to keep the economy in such good shape.

    The proposed addition to the sales tax to partially fund roads, cycle paths, buses and trains, estimates that the added cost will be ~$127.00 per year, based on the 35 cents per day statement. This means a higher cost per family of three than the HST estimate. Since the HST was voted down, we should not be surprised if this proposed tax is voted down too.

    1. We shall see if the transportation tax is voted down. Many people actually believe it helps with congestion, primarily current bus users or NDP voters; whereas folks that use cars today will see little value, if any, to it as they will not get enough incentives to drop their car, not even less cars on the road.

      Who in their right mind will switch from a car to a bus which is slower and less convenient ? They will do that only if car use costs are dramatically increased ( which they are not under the proposed plan) and if RAPID alternatives are offered which they are not either except some band aids here and there.

      A bad plan in my opinion, with little, if any, public consultation on options or an alternative funding plan B ( eg higher parking fees, higher property taxes, higher bus ticket prices, higher land transfer taxes or more borrowing – all within the current mayors’ tool kit )

      We shall see what folks will say.

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