McGuinty rejects public hearings on HST; expects new tax to be election issue

There's no need for the Ontario government to hold public hearings on its plan to harmonize the provincial sales tax with the GST next July, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday, adding that voters can pass judgment on the issue in the 2011 provincial election.

Basically, McGuinty is telling the public he plans to ram this tax down your throat whether you like it or not and it doesn’t matter what you think about it either because he’s not interested in listening.  He goes on to belittle the public by stating that the topic can be discussed at election time in 2011.  The interesting piece of that comment is the new tax is slated to take effect in July 2010.  Once again, we can talk all we want, but McGuinty won’t listen to your concerns until after he has pushed the new tax through. 

"There has been, and there will continue to be, all kinds of opportunities for people to have conversations on this, whether you're talking about talk radio, letters to the editor, blogs, water cooler conversations (or) kitchen table conversations," said McGuinty.  "I would be very surprised if this was not an issue up for consideration at the time of the next election. People will have an opportunity to pass judgment on us in connection with the HST."

"It's going to be a long November and December for Mr. McGuinty and his Liberals if they think they're going to ram the HST legislation through without public consultations," warned Progressive Conservative critic Lisa MacLeod.

McGuinty should agree to hold public hearings on the largest tax changes in Ontario history, and hear the concerns people have about paying eight per cent more for goods and services currently exempt from the provincial sales tax, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.  "He needs to be talking to the people and hearing what they have to say about the fear they have about the impact of this tax," said Horwath.

This tax is likely to pass, but what should be concerning to the Ontario public is that your elected official plans on pushing through the largest tax change in Ontario’s history, yet he isn’t even interested in what you have to say about it.

Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Sean Kavanagh

Sean Kavanagh

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