As residents of both Ontario and British Columbia are by now, well aware, Harmonized Sales Tax is taking effect as of July 1st. However, it has been anything but harmonious in either province as protesters have been imploring each province’s respective governments to reconsider the new tax.
Purporting to make life easier for retailers and apparently, consumers, the HST will combine the Provincial Sales Tax and the Goods and Services Tax into one. However, with the expectation that this will only make everyday necessities unfairly more expensive, many are petitioning against its implementation.
Just last week, our blog visited the topic of the growing concern in Ontario that the cost of alcoholic beverages will be spiking due to HST. More importantly though, is the fact that many believe that the new tax will quite simply make it harder for people to make ends meet. This, according to retired Ford Motor Company employee Jerry Gervais, will be especially hard on seniors.
In yesterday’s Toronto Sun, Sharon Lem wrote of the more than 300 signatures that Gervais has collected to petition against HST in Ontario. Said Gervais: “Everything is going to be taxed and it’s going to hurt everyone – even (Ontario Premier Dalton) McGuinty admitted it’s going to hurt. We need to get organized and have one petition to fight this.”
Gervais isn’t the only one working to fight off the impending Harmonized Sales Tax in Ontario. There are numerous online petitions in existence in addition to the one he has started. In British Columbia, the fight has been raging for months.
As Lem reports, The Fight for British Columbia Against the HST, which is a non-partisan group led by the province’s former premier Bill Vander Zalm, has accumulated over a half million signatures on a petition opposing the government’s decision to introduce HST to B.C. residents.
Lem notes that such an action may actually make a difference. She writes that in British Columbia, “if opponents of an issue collect enough signatures on a petition from each of the province’s 85 electoral ridings, they can reverse legislation and throw the issue open to a referendum. HST opponents in British Columbia are getting close to reaching the number of signatures required to reverse the B.C. tax plan.”
Back in Ontario, Gervais’ fight lives on even though, at this point, it is inevitable that come July, the 13% HST will take effect. It is no secret that certain expenditures will become more costly. Haircuts and real estate are two examples listed by Lem that do not currently charge PST. They, of course, will be subject to the HST which combines both the PST and GST taxes.
Only time will tell if Gervais along with other Ontario residents will be as successful as Vander Zalm’s B.C. group. Chris Delaney, the lead organizer of that group, insists that Ontario can have the same influence on its government.
Said Delaney: “People in Ontario should know that their legislation is not carved in stone and a new government can repeal it. That happened in Saskatchewan in 1991 with their HST.”