For all the Conservatives' bluster about the harmonized tax, blaming it on the provincial governments; it was Jim Flaherty who first proposed the idea in his 2008 budget, and then again in 2009.
He's now trying to walk away from it when it's pretty clear that it was his idea to tax everything. And we thought Jim Prentice's cap and trade carbon tax was going to drive up the price of everything.
Let's call this one 'Hurricane Jims', because it's a double whammy.
Washing their harmonizing hands
Federal budget 2008: Replacing remaining provincial retail sales taxes (RSTs) with value-added taxes harmonized with the GST is another area where provinces can contribute to strengthening Canada’s Tax Advantage … The Government recognizes the significant economic benefits to Canada from sales tax harmonization and is willing to work with the five provinces that still have RSTs to help facilitate the transition to provincial value-added sales taxes harmonized with the GST.
Federal budget 2009. Modernizing these harmful taxes by implementing a value-added tax structure harmonized with the GST is the single most important step that provinces with RSTs could take to stimulate new business investment, create jobs and improve Canada’s overall tax competitiveness.
Stephen Harper's Conservatives wish to have it both ways. For years, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has lobbied the provinces to harmonize their sales taxes with the federal goods and services tax. Now that two provinces have complied, some Conservatives are shrinking from the ensuing controversy. Don't blame us, they're saying; it was all the provinces' idea.