Saturday, October 23, 2010

Please do NOT remove HST from heating fuel

As someone who disagrees with the HST I have been receiving notices from the Ontario NDP and the federal NDP about their disagreements with the HST. As is often the case, just because someone disagrees with something doesn't mean they disagree for a compatible reason.

Why I disagree with the HST

I consider the HST to be a tax shift from products onto services. Services were previously taxed with the GST, but not PST, and thus services only had the 5% GST applied. Now in Ontario services have to charge 13% (an increase of the 8% from Ontario).

This will mean that products will seem comparatively less expensive than services in those scenarios where one is competing with each other, such as repair/reuse compared to replacement of damaged goods. This will have a net negative impact on our environment.

This is in my mind the opposite of a Green Tax Shift type of initiative which would tend to be removing taxes from services and placing them onto products.

If the HST were to be removed entirely from services, then this would have the desired effect.

Why I disagree with the NDP

The NDP want to do the opposite, which is remove the HST from heating fuel. Not only do I believe that HST should remain on heating fuel, I am a strong believer in there being a carbon tax applied in a government revenue-neutral way. The policy should be for the price of heating fuel to go up, and the costs of labour to go down (No HST on services, lower income taxes for individuals, etc).

In other words, the policy that I think would be good for Canada and Canadians, and the tax policy promoted by the NDP, are the opposite. Disagreeing with the HST doesn't tell you anything.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who needs Fox North when we already have CBC's The Current?

The radio was on this morning with CBC's The Current. The topic was municipalities and the licensing of massage parlours that range up to places that offer body rubs. In the wake of some narrow aspects of prostitution laws being struck down by an Ontario court, it is now in vogue to have talk shows where people express their views on this topic. There was the ludicrous suggestion by some social conservatives that if a municipality made any money from licensing activities of a sexual nature that they are essentially pimps. CBC's The Current decided to expand on and do a show promoting this ludicrous suggestion. Normally a journalist will find a variety of people with a variety of views, and allow them to have a discussion. Unfortunately in this case Anna Maria Tremonti decided to impose her own morality onto every question, essentially having her and her social conservative guest from out east gang up on a Guelph city councillor. I didn't even hear the Guelph councillor express her moral views on the subject, only the practicality of issues that a municipality should be dealing with. She took the high road, when Anna Maria and her other guest took the low road. I found the whole show embarrassing. I find it funny that some social conservatives claim that the CBC is not centrist but left-wing. I think there is a wide variety of political views expressed by persons on the CBC, and I think Anna Maria demonstrated where she stands on this particular issue. So, where do I stand on this question? Each of us has professions we don't agree with, or sometimes even find morally offensive. I am a make love not war person living in a make war not love country. North Americans are very forgiving and even promoting of violence, but can't handle sexuality. Violent professions from the military to some sports are promoted as things we are supposed to be proud of, while anything even remotely sexual is something we are told we should be ashamed of. I don't think that way. I believe that sexuality between consenting adults is a wonderful thing. I am always very clear about the words "consenting", and the related word "adults" given I don't think younger people are mature enough to be considered consenting. In my mind legalising and licensing sex related professions is the only reasonable way forward. It not only legalises activities which should never have been illegal in the first place, but it also allows for necessary monitoring of these professions to verify the "consenting" aspect. The more these things are driven underground, the more dangerous these professions become, and the more instances we will see of non-consensual activities. While I will express my views, I do not try to impose my views on others. It would be nice if other people did the same thing, and stopped attacking anyone who has a different set of professions they disagree with or trying to create laws which impose their own particular morality on society.
Update on Oct 14. Show titled Municipal Pimping is posted to the CBC site. Vicki Beard was the City Councillor in Guelph, Ontario. Gloria McCluskey was the City Councillor in Halifax.