Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The unhelpful truth

It isn't exactly news that after spending several years shouting from the rooftops about tax harmonization - and throwing billions of public dollars at provinces to pay them off - Deficit Jim Flaherty has suddenly gone quiet now that the resulting tax increases are proving unpopular. But it's noteworthy that the Cons themselves are apparently admitting to having told Flaherty to shut up about the HST:
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.

In March, he praised Ontario, saying the move would save business about $500 million in administrative costs, and noted that, in a few years, "hopefully we will have a harmonized system across Canada."

But federal Conservative sources have told the Star that earlier in the summer, officials in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office ordered Flaherty to tone it down.

"They asked Jim to stop talking about (the tax) so much because it's not helpful," said one insider.
Of course, it's worth highlighting that the PMO doesn't appear to have shown any interest in actually revisiting whether it's a good idea to spend billions of federal dollars pushing toward tax harmonization in the first place. And the fact that Harper's orders were simply to try to hide from responsibility for his government's actions rather than to do something about them should leave no room for doubt that the Cons remain fully behind the effort to shift tax burdens from businesses to individuals - no matter how much they pretend otherwise in order to deflect blame.

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