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DECEMBER 3, 2009


OTTAWA – Federal New Democrat MPs say that Conservative and Liberal MPs sold out the people of Southwestern Ontario by standing up and voting in support of the Harper government’s $4.3 billion federal incentive payment to the Ontario government that enables the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in that province.

“These Conservative and Liberal MPs from Ontario, such as Pat Davidson (Sarnia-Lambton), Jeff Watson (Essex), Phil McColeman (Brant) and Diane Finley (Haldimand – Norfolk), have sold out their constituents today and voted to support the HST which will raise the price of gas, hydro, home heating oil and propane, snow removal, hockey registration, internet, cable service, and funerals by a full 8 percent,” Rafferty said. “These Conservative MPs, joined by their allies in the Liberal Party, needlessly jacked up the price of these goods and services during the deepest recession in 80 years. The people of Southwestern Ontario have been betrayed by their elected representatives who stood up when Stephen Harper ordered them to and voted for a massive tax hike on families in this province.”

The idea of harmonizing the sales taxes in Ontario and other provinces during the recession was first pushed by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in 2008, and the Ontario Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty agreed to the plan last spring after the federal Conservatives offered them a $4.3 billion lump sum “incentive” payment. The harmonization process for sales taxes unites the province’s 8 percent Retail Sales Tax (RST) with the 5 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) into a single 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). However several items that were previously exempt from the PST will now see their prices increase 8 percent to “harmonize” their taxation under the new HST. Some of the items that will see a price increase of 8 percent under the new HST regime include gasoline, home heating oil, hydro, cable, internet, haircuts, hockey registration and rink rentals, golf and gym memberships, mutual fund sales, and funerals among hundreds of others.

“These Ontario MPs chose to stand in support of Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty’ s HST and against the very people of they claim to represent in Sarnia-Lambton, Essex, Brant, and Haldimand-Norfolk ,” Rafferty said. “These MPs had a chance to the stop the HST on behalf of their constituents and they refused to do so. I hope their people of Southwestern Ontario will hold them to account in the next election for this outrageous betrayal.”