Tories focus on HST

Teresa Wright
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Opposition uses premier's own words to criticize implementing tax

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan and Premier Robert Ghiz before the first question period of the fall sitting of the P.E.I. legislature Wednesday.

Former statements by Premier Robert Ghiz on the HST came back to haunt him during question period in the legislature today.

Opposition Finance Critic Steven Myers pulled out numerous quotes from “a Liberal MLA” asking Finance Minister Wes Sheridan to identify who said them.

All the quotes were statements saying government would not bring in the harmonized sales tax unless home heating oil and electricity would be exempt.

“Can the treasurer identify which Liberal MLA refused to be honest and accountable to Islanders?” Myers asked Sheridan after quoting each statement.

Eventually, Myers said the statements were all made by “a young and out-of-touch premier.”

Ghiz responded by saying the HST will be exempt from home heating oil but said he is unable to also exempt electricity.

But he pointed to the energy accord that lowered energy prices in P.E.I. by 14 per cent with a two-year freeze.

“If the Progressive Conservatives were still in power when you didn’t have that, even the HST still allows Islanders to be paying essentially a lower rate on their electricity with the energy accord,” Ghiz said.

But Opposition Leader Olive Crane pointed out the Ghiz government is bringing in an HST that will not be revenue-neutral, as other jurisdictions have done. Sheridan has said government expects to bring in an additional $25 million in harmonized tax revenue.

This new tax will be a burden on Islanders already finding it hard to make ends meet, Crane said.

“The HST that this premier is bringing in is not revenue-neutral, so that means every Islander is going to pay, and pay more,” Crane said

“Why are you adding $25 million to the backs of ordinary Islanders.”

Ghiz said the HST will benefit private sector businesses, who have been asking for this tax for many years. This, in turn, will help the Island’s economy.

“The decision to bring in the HST is about promoting our Island economy and making sure those businesses in our province are able to compete on a regional, national and international standard,” Ghiz said.

“We believe that the HST is going to allow that to happen. Economists believe that will happen.”

A 14 per cent HST will be implemented April 1.

Organizations: Progressive-Conservatives

Geographic location: P.E.I., Iceland

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  • Concerned Islander Summerside
    November 18, 2012 - 12:01

    The Ghiz government took an expert in from Calgary to tell us Islanders about the goor profits of HST. The PC Party should have the Finance Minister from B.C. come and inform all Islanders of the pros and cons of HST. The Province of B.C. have srapped this for some reason, would be nice to here both sides of this important issue. I am sure the Ghiz team paid expenses to have this professional flow in, as well they should pay for the next guy, all taxpeyers money. I would hope Olive Crane brings this up in the House and direct her questions/concerns to the Premier.

  • XComa
    November 18, 2012 - 07:14

    HST will cost me and many Islanders on average, approx. 9% more. My income is not going up. Gov. thinks business will pass on savings. I doubt they will and even if they do, it will not amount to much compared to the extra costs to people as a result of the HST... If businesses here want to support this HST, well I and many others are not going to support the businesses. Online, Out of Province, Out of Country anywhere but locally is where we'll be shopping when we can... Pretty bad when you can buy 'Made in Canada' goods at less costs outside of Canada... I expect in the end the Government will be the only one liking this Tax. Which would not have been necessary if the Government did not make so many 'hard choices' and waste so much money giving failing businesses money and on unneeded projects (IE: Hills in Borden New MLA Building when we should be reducing the amount of MLAs)... I could rant on all day long and night about the Wrongs of this Government.

  • Fed Up
    November 17, 2012 - 18:06

    We are all wasting out time questioning this arrogant government! Rbt Ghiz ran on "his Daddy's coattails".......now we have to listen to yet another whiny (talk through his nose- Trudeau) running on HIS Daddy's coattails....and both of them ruined the country and the province. The sons are just going to try and finish the job!

  • Janet Gaudet
    November 17, 2012 - 09:53

    To believe that HST will be beneficial for low and middle income Islanders, I'd have to believe in santa claus, easter bunny, and tooth fairy. I stopped believing in those when I was a child. I don't think Islanders that have to rely on food bank and upper room soup kitchen will be convinced that it's going to benefit them.

  • not to late
    November 17, 2012 - 09:50

    It's not to late to stop HST. If all Islanders would show up to protest this instead of just a few. But like the polite Islanders that we are Mr. Ghiz can do what ever the hell he wants. I was so stupid to vote for this government, will never happen again. He told so many lies to get re-elected & is getting away with it.

    • It is too late
      November 17, 2012 - 16:58

      The deal's been signed, it's too late. You may as well try to deconstruct the Holman Hotel, call back the PNP, unplan Plan B, recall the doctors that fled the province, undo the bootleg tourism contracts, ask Ghiz to serve the people . . . it ain't going to happen.

  • mr. nobody
    November 17, 2012 - 08:27

    I am so tired of being told lies by this government. Add to that the lies of king harper the weak minded, and I am just sick of the way this country is becoming a place where only the rich can prosper. They say " Let them eat cake", I say time to overthrow king harper and prince robert the blackheart

  • SG
    November 16, 2012 - 22:47

    Information about HST – Pros Cons Rejection re: other Canadian Provinces RE: Document Titles Viewed: Reception in British Columbia and Ontario - Rejection in British Columbia - 2013 Implementation PEI - Affected items (Provinces) ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonized_Sales_Tax

  • way to save
    November 16, 2012 - 18:38

    We the tax payer pays somone 15000 to come over here and say what the gov wants them to say that this is good for our island well i am looking at a increse of 40$ extra a month just on my light bill this hst is not going to help me for sure.

  • pater
    November 16, 2012 - 17:44

    The feeling of helplessness is overwhelmlng,--- the lies just keep on coming, and now they hired a guy top come and ry ot white wash them, --- no Ghiz, there is no return. You lied right in our faces and Sheridan helped you. There should have been a referendum on HST, --- but you ignored democracy and resorted to dictatorship, --- you are detestable, and so are all the Zombie MLAs. .Nobody has any compssion for the people, not a fair bone in anybody. There Ghiz is hiding behind the business people, --- but the question is why should islanders pay to make sure business people remain in prosperity?? A leader makes sure there is fair treatment for all, - this one makes sure he screws the little guys, - and he knew he would loose the referendum, and have to face up to the overspending and wreckless waste, --- the PNP benefits were not enough for his friends, now they are robbing our kitvchen cupboard. I have no nrespect for Ghiz,- needless to say, but I have to say that the business people of this Island are not far behind on my list of despicable folk.

  • smoke and mirrors
    November 16, 2012 - 16:32

    I am so insulted every time Ghiz speaks. I swear this man thinks we're all stupid. Is anyone buying what Premier Pinocchio is selling? Who knows, let's ask the Homburglar.

  • SG
    November 16, 2012 - 16:21

    From the Report: ( Ghiz said the HST will benefit private sector businesses will help the Island’s economy. ..is about promoting our Island economy making sure businesses in our province are able to compete,” Ghiz said.) But what about our middle and low wage earners on PEI our small local businesses? It wont' help them to compete but it will definitely increase their expenses! Necessities ie: groceries, car insurance, vehicle registration, house insurance, dental care have all increased will they also include 14% HST? The HST will increase our yearly Electric Expense by 9 %! We can't afford an alternate heat source. Great for our larger business entities but the HST will ecnomically cripple many Islanders like Seniors and middle and low income earners. Add to that the few to non-existent job opportunites on PEI. Is it any wonder that so many Islanders have moved West? If more Islanders follow suit the HST wont help our economy as our population numbers will continue to decrease along with our tax revenues! However I'm sure Alberta appreciates our Islanders' tax contributions and revenues ! Christmas this year won't be Merry as many will have to cut back on purchases to be able to meet the extra expense re: HST in the near future.

  • don
    November 16, 2012 - 14:43

    i like how dizzy replyed to questions on the news he avoided the questions. that shows he did not know the answers. poor leader.

  • carlos
    November 16, 2012 - 14:03

    Sure... We have seen how programs that help private sector businesses benefit regular Islanders.

  • lesslie
    November 16, 2012 - 14:02

    this has got the most arogant bunch ever in power on pei i sat in a room and heard ghiz calling the bins goverment to the lowest over polar food and some off the other members had alot to say about it to now ghiz waisted a lot more money than bins ever did i personaly dont know how he can sleep nor his members either

  • pei is a house of cards
    November 16, 2012 - 13:59

    Thanks to decades of inept and corrupt mismanagement by Robert Ghiz, Pat Binns, Keith Milligan, Callbeck, Ghiz Sr, Lea, etc. PEI will soon cease to be a province in Canada anyway. The day of provincial default is quickly approaching and the feds aren't gonna bail Ghiz out, nor any of his successors. Pushing the debt of a private electrical utility onto provincial taxpayers was yet another act of utter stupidity made for a few votes. Robert Ghiz might well become the last premier this island will ever see.... By 2016 we'll be a regional municipality in a larger single province of the Maritimes. We'll have a single mayor and 10 councillors. 2 MLAs and 1 MP. All thanks to Robert Corrupt Inept Ghiz

  • Private Business Owner
    November 16, 2012 - 13:23

    As a business owner I never asked for HST. HST will have two negative impacts to my business. First, it will increase the cost of my services to my clients and as a result I expect to loose business. Second, HST hike limits my ability to adjust prices due to inflation in the next 2-3 years. This means the cost of doing business will increase, and profits will fall. No one benefits from tax increase except for the government. NO ONE!

    • Agree with Private Business Owner
      November 16, 2012 - 18:46

      I agree and knowing business people where HST was implemented, they reiterated your same concerns. For consumers, it would only make sense, that if one is paying more with an already limited income, money will need to go for essentials only. Spending will have to decrease. I think when Sheriden had some cronies, such as Lowther, trying to promote the HST, claiming the tax savings for her Sundance Cottages would benefit the province, was very unfair. Lowther was a BIASED speaker, as she was Asst dept miniser with Learning and Early Childhood, with the Ed Dept; a pnp recipient for those businesses and since this mock promotion of HST she has been appointed as a trustee for the English language school board. It is this type of rhetoric and deception in the promoting HST that further infuriates Islanders. The sad truth is that HST will generate 25 million out of the pockets of the poor and hard working Islanders which will cause huge burdens on already financially hit Islanders. The truth is that this gov’t has not learned from the mistakes of other provinces where it had horrendous consequences for both the people and businesses putting their economy at risk.. For an island with an economy at risk already (basically it is in the toilet) HST will destroy what is left of the Island. But, the gov’t can go down, place unimaginable burdens on the average Islander, destroy the fragile economy, knowing they at least tried to get another cash grab for their already rich greedy friends and themselves.

  • Get a grip Ghiz
    November 16, 2012 - 13:20

    Mr Ghiz you should be ashamed of your self, You said to us islanders oh build homes and use electricity to heat them instead of oil its a lot cleaner and does not harm the enviorment. Well we went by your instructions cause you are a figure head that people turn to since you are running this Island, and yet you jack up the price of the electricty bills with this hst crap. More islanders will be finding it hard to make ends meet and You Mr Ghiz will be putting some islanders on the brink to Bankruptcy and you wonder why the Island is in rought shape look at what you clowns turned it into.

  • hst
    November 16, 2012 - 13:10

    THANK YOU BUSINESS PEOPLE ---GHIZ SAYS THE EXTRA REVENUE IS WHAT YOU NEEDED AND WHAT YOU WANTED -- JUST ANOTHER ROUND OF PNP'S -- THIS TIME FROM ISLANDERS RATHER THAN CHINA----- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The idea that Ghiz will lie to the voter but be true to a bunch of whiney business people who suck around the politicians all the time is sickening -- Business people make charitable donations to politicians --wonder why ? Who are worse -two faced politicians or whining tax collecting business owners who want the HST to get more government assistance and pnp style handouts

  • more money needed for the wealthy, HST another greedy money grab for the wealthy
    November 16, 2012 - 13:02

    "Ghiz said the HST will benefit private sector businesses, who have been asking for this tax for many years. This, in turn, will help the Island’s economy." ------------------------------------------------------ 25 million from hard working and out of work Islanders to be put in the pockets of the already greedy, wealthy business families and monies to be put towards a cushy retirement fund that others(who have to pay for their own retirement as well) have to pay for gov't workers and those who are already overpaid. Disgraceful that any leader and gov't would only represent and help those who are doing well and are financially well off at the expense of those who are struggling and trying to make ends meet. Abuses of power, abuses of Islanders who are having such a hard time financially. This line that ghiz and sheriden gives to do this HST greedy cash grab, seems to be the same line used for why they claim no one should be held accountable for the corrupt abuse of immigrants when the well to do were able to do another such money grab from immigrants in the infamous pnp fiasco. In other countries, when officials harm their own people, are corrupt, do not follow policies which harms or takes from others unfairly and bends laws and twist policies to meet their own unethical means, they are jailed or charged. That solution would be most fitting here on the Island.

  • Jacinta
    November 16, 2012 - 12:56

    This government has no integrity whatsoever, they tell bold faced lies. HST will hit people hard on PEI considering we are one of the highest taxed province in Canada. It is hard to believe second hand clothes will be taxed 14 percent.

  • Since when is shooting fish in a barrel news?
    November 16, 2012 - 12:55

    Why is this news? If there is an Islander left that says Mr. Ghiz is a teller of truths, you know that Islander is a liar - or sadly delusional. And with all due respect to Steven Myers, to confront Mr. Ghiz with his contradictions is like shooting fish in a barrel. What we need from the opposition is not just more blame and shame sound bites, it's specific questions that demand specific answers. IE: "What is the average cost of heating a home with electricity now, what will it cost after April 1, 2013?" Or , "How much will it cost to buy a $20 000 hybrid car now, and how much will it cost after April 1st?" Keep being specific, factual and relevant. All else is just political foolishness - and Islanders already know that game all too well.

  • Question about Electricity
    November 16, 2012 - 12:54

    Good people of PEI: Can someone explain to me why electricity can't be exempted from HST? Is it a legislative issue? If so, can't the government change the legislation? I guess what bugs me about this is that it punishes anyone who has invested in energy-efficient heating systems. Full disclosure: I'm still getting my heat from an heating oil but was strongly considering putting in an electrical system. I haven't done the number crunching yet but it's certainly making me reconsider at this stage.

    • sentance
      November 16, 2012 - 19:20

      At first go it is a legislative issue. The province can only exempt 5% of the tax base under the terms of HST legislation, and exempting electricity would exceed that. They do have the option of giving it a point of sale rebate instead, but I gather the point there is that they cannot afford to do that, unless you want to see the HST set at an even higher rate or other taxes raised.

    • to SENTANCE
      November 16, 2012 - 20:39

      What's your thoughts on the expert brought in by Ghiz? I ask this because I've never seen a foolish posting by you (or whomever posts as Sentance)

  • Ghiz pandering to seasonal tourist operators
    November 16, 2012 - 12:50

    Economists believe that will happen, claims Ghiz. No economists predicted the financial collapse of American Banking in 2008 but they do forecast doom and gloom for PEI. It took over 100 years for our deficit to hit 1 billion but Ghiz doubled it to 2 billion of debt within 5 years.....................Now he wants to use Un named economists which believe HST is good for PEI. Changing all the systems for the seasonal business' which are not business at all. What a pathetic weasel we have as Premier. thanks eh?

  • Sylvia
    November 16, 2012 - 12:35

    We operate a home-based business and we don't want HST. It's going to put up our costs of running our business and operating our home. To say that it will benefit private sector businesses is completely wrong. Cost of materials and supplies will increase and that cost will be passed on to consumers. Any repairs we have done on our property will now include HST on labour. Labour being done for our customers will include HST whereas now it is just GST. Next year we have to get new siding and insulation for our home and we'll be paying HST on labour. I don't think this government understands what it's like to try and survive on a small income. They should spend a day at the food bank or upper room soup kitchen, just as more Islanders will be doing when HST comes in. Ironic that it's coming on April fool's day and I'm not going to be laughing that day.

  • hmatt
    November 16, 2012 - 12:34

    He told you what he had to tell you, in order to get elected for his 2nd term, to ensure his pension. Plain and simple!!

  • Shopping off island
    November 16, 2012 - 11:55

    If there is added tax coming here, and it is the same as in Moncton or Halifax, I might as well save a few extra dollars for bridge and gas...maybe even a hotel and shop over there where there is better stores to shop at. I don't see how increasing the tax here is going to make me spend my money here.

  • Joe Citizen
    November 16, 2012 - 11:44

    N.S has an NDP gov't. They also exempt hst for wood, wood pellets, and electricity heated homes. They have the Liberals and PC's beaten. Hang your heads in shame.