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McGuinty Must Take Responsibility for Eco-tax Disaster

Eco-tax (July 16, 2010) What a complete disaster the eco-tax has turned out to be.  If you were away last week and missed it, I’m referring to the sneaky new tax that Dalton McGuinty implemented on more than 9,000 consumer products on Canada Day.  Let’s review how this disaster unfolded.

For me it all started when a hardware store owner called my office to let me know that he was being forced into placing a 100% tax on the price of a bag of concrete.  I had to hear it from a small business owner because the McGuinty government didn’t tell anyone about the eco-tax. 

 

In fact, the Liberals tried so hard to hide it that they had the agency that collects the tax issue a memo to retailers advising them to hide the tax in the price of the product.  It read: “As one of the costs of doing business, the eco-fee may be reflected in the product’s sticker price – in which case the consumer is none the wiser.”

When that news came to light the McGuinty Liberals did what they do best, hide and deflect.  They sent their spin doctors out to tell the media that it was really the former PC government that initiated the tax.  What a load of bunk.  As one columnist wrote, “[The Liberals] remind you of the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar who points to his sister as the culprit.”

The fact is this is a Liberal tax.  It started in 2006 when the Environment Minister sought a proposal from Waste Diversion Ontario on how to implement an eco-tax.  The scheme was presented to the Liberals in 2007, and in February 2008 the Minister personally approved the plan to implement the tax on 4,000 items.  On July 22, 2008 the Minister requested that the tax be expanded to a wider array of goods.  On September 22, 2009 the Minister personally approved a plan to apply the tax to 5,000 additional products.  After the outcry that began on July 1 of this year, the Minister began blaming businesses and the PCs for the tax.  Aren’t they a deceitful bunch!

The Liberals have also claimed that they have nothing to do with Stewardship Ontario, the agency that collects the tax on the government’s orders.  That’s also a load of bunk.  The CEO of that organization is a former Liberal staffer.  Much like eHealth Ontario, it is run by Liberal insiders, is unaccountable to the public, and is funnelling an untold amount of eco-tax dollars to consultants.  This agency is so secretive that they are not even subject to Freedom of Information laws.

So while parents pay the new tax on bath toys and sun block for the kids, and seniors on fixed incomes shell out more for laundry detergent and batteries for their TV remote, where has Dalton McGuinty been?  He’s hiding, hoping that sunshine and butterflies will make you forget about his new tax.

I’ve got news for Dalton.  Tim Hudak and the PC Party aren’t going to let him get away with this.  If he won’t get rid of the eco-tax then a future Progressive Conservative government will.


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