P.E.I. tables HST legislation

Teresa Wright
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The P.E.I. government tabled HST legislation Tuesday, making it official that the province will adopt the new tax.

This legislation does not include how the harmonized sales tax will affect tobacco and gas prices when it comes to P.E.I. in the spring.

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan says legislation for these two items will not come forward until the last week of March in order to keep retailers and consumers from stockpiling or offering sales at an unfair advantage.

“It would allow business to take advantage of legislation,” Sheridan said.

“If we were to put the levels in place now it would disadvantage the element of bringing in the tax at the last minute and what those (prices) are going to be.”

Sheridan did admit gas prices will increase.

Currently, the province takes in 15.8 cents per litre in provincial taxes on gasoline. The province will lower that rate in order to soften the blow HST increases would cause.

The end result will still result higher than current levels.

“We haven’t determined how much yet,” Sheridan said.

“We’ve said we want to be in the Maritime average so that we would be in line with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.”

Nova Scotia’s gas prices are usually anywhere from four to 10 cents higher than P.E.I.’s while New Brunswick’s prices are generally lower than Nova Scotia but higher than P.E.I.

In the meantime, the public will have a chance to look through the Retail Sales Act, which is the bulk of legislation coming forward to implement the HST.

On Tuesday, Sheridan also tabled the Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement (CITCA), which is the official HST agreement between the province and the federal government.

This lengthy document contains all the provisions under which this tax is being brought in, including complicated formulas only expert mathematicians could understand.

Sheridan said these documents, although detailed and complex, merely spell out all the exemptions and rebates he has spoken about since announcing the HST last spring.

Opposition Leader Olive Crane spent much of question period Tuesday repeatedly called for electricity to be added to the list of exemptions.

She said the Ghiz government promised to exempt all heating costs and that some members even said they would never bring HST to P.E.I.

“What we’ve always been clear about — if we were going to change major tax policy, we would take that to the electorate first,” Crane said.

“As you know, Robert Ghiz did the exact opposite. He told Islanders he would never bring it in, we had an election and, the next thing, we have HST.”

Crane would not rule out filibustering, amending or holding up the bill as it makes its way through the house over the next week.

“Their intention is to have the deal locked in for five to seven years, so we really have to watch when the legislation is on the floor, and we have lots of questions,” Crane said.

Now that HST legislation has been introduced in the house, the federal government will send P.E.I. the first installment of the total $39 million in transitional funding it agreed to pay out to help the province implement the new tax.

The first $25 million must be sent within seven days of the first reading of legislation to wind down P.E.I.’s current PST, according to the federal-provincial HST agreement.

The remaining $14 million will be forwarded on the first day following the implementation date.

HST will be implemented April 1, 2013.



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Recent comments

  • FedUp
    November 28, 2012 - 22:00

    I think a well advertised protest, with a facebook page, would likely mobilize a lot of people to action against this fraudulent behavior... Mr. Ghiz, you work for me, you're fired.. thank you!

    • Gene C
      November 29, 2012 - 01:10

      There has been a facebook group formed since last spring it's called Islanders Against HST, do a quick search on there and you will find it, there are over 2600 members and growing every day! So far the group has circulated a petition and organised several demonstrations .It has also approached the liutenant governor for a plebecite on the HST (which he has the power to do) but has turned a blind eye to the issue saying that he has no interest in the matter!!! I encourage you to join this group and lend your support to the cause , i also encourage you to invite all your friends to join this group as well.

  • doomed island
    November 28, 2012 - 15:13

    No jobs cuts to ei higher taxes more poverty leads to more crime burglaries families destroyed more people living on the street. to late to do anything now this island is destroyed i'm moving.

  • robert
    November 28, 2012 - 13:43

    Is there anything to the rumor that a giant demonstration with participation of all Islanders against the HST is being organized for Jan. 1st. - closing down the Premier's Levee??? If there is, I for one, and all mine will be there. PLEASE ALERT US, AS SOON AS IT IS IN PLACE.

    • Please say it's true . . .
      November 28, 2012 - 15:07

      I'm not a natural protester, I find it awkward and a little embarrassing. But if there's a way for common Islanders to let Ghiz and his MLA's know we are mad as hell, I'll be there too. Islanders have to so something. And don't let the people who argue there's a time and place for everything discourage us. Ghiz gives us no time for real input, and he's ruining this place.

  • bob
    November 28, 2012 - 13:35

    TO ROSE HICKEN, --- I applaud your efforts, and thank you. Now had you been Catherine Callbeck, or somebody with a family history that people had 'admired' through generation, you might have had a snowballs chance to be heard and heeded, - as Islanders are in the habit of 'worshipping' only the well to do. It is unfortunate that none of these people have chosen to speak out about this HST abuse of the average island family, - letting Ghiz know that lies and deception is not accepted, -- but not one prominent islanders has said a word, ---- have integrity left EVERY ONE and been replaced by greed?

    November 28, 2012 - 11:41

    On page A6 of this paper, the government used our tax dollars for propaganda designed to pacify our concerns about the HST. They did this by asking the question: "How will HST affect what I buy?" Well, there's a much better question that was not raised. What differentiates a good tax from a bad tax is that a good tax influences good behaviours and a bad tax influences bad behaviours. So, the better question is: How will HST affect not what we buy, but what we do? Well, let's take a look. What behaviours does the HST influence? According to the government's own ad, this is what's cheaper: Snack Foods, prepared foods, restaurant foods, televisions, DVD players, video game players, cable television, la-z-boy chairs, boats, snowmobiles and admission to spectator sports. So, what else is more expensive? Electricity, hunting and fishing, running shoes, walking shoes (and shoe repair), message therapy, fitness training, hockey rink rentals, gym memberships, and with the exception of golf, virtually every other sporting activity. Oh yes, should we require proof of propaganda, what the ad strategically avoids is that while fossil fuel cars are a tad cheaper, hybrid cars will be much, much more expensive. Given our environmental concerns, health care costs, obesity rates and sedentary lifestyle challenges, have our MLA's gone completely insane? Yep, this time we been planb'd so hard it brings tears to the eyes; maybe that's why it's so hard to see?

  • Billy
    November 28, 2012 - 11:15

    As I see it. You folks all complain here about the HST but thats it. Do something about it, like gather in forces at the legislature to oppose it. Just like you did for plan b or whatever it is called today. BC got rid of their HST, now PEI has to do the same.

  • Rose Hicken
    November 28, 2012 - 11:12

    Since last spring many of us have been warning people that the HST was coming. I walked for hours, knocking on doors to get signatures on a petition, I put up posters and walked in a rally. I sent in Letters to the Editor to protest the HST. But still the majority of Islanders choose to ignore the truth, that the HST will harm us all, especially the low income. Now suddenly, when it is getting closer to being a reality, Islanders are finally waking up to the fact that the HST is coming. That is the HST is coming if we don't make a stand against this government of ours that refuses to listen to us.

  • tina
    November 28, 2012 - 11:01

    Although the HST is the focus of the frustration of Islanders, the fact that WE WERE LIED TO about it is as devasting, - we thought there was some integrety and honesty in the people presenting themselves as candidates to carry on the business of the Island, looking after our welfare. Turns out we elected a bunch of sheep and a couple of bullies, - and only a few to defend us in opposition.

  • Too late to act?
    November 28, 2012 - 09:46

    Render unto us a break! Can citizens do ANYTHING NOW to stop this? Most of us are too busy earning a living to keep tabs on legislators whom were entrusted to care for us! BC offers a real time study of HST failure. Obviously, the short term infusion of fed money was the only consideration, NOT the best interest of citizens. EVERYONE should be angry. We deserve and demand representation!

  • mac
    November 28, 2012 - 08:45

    As we all know now, The Premier lied to us, - right in our face. He is making majro changes to our lives and is doing so over our objections. He is using one segment of our population against the other, --- -- Oh, the farmers wanted this.-- Oh the busines people wanted this, --- so don't blame us, be mad at them. Well Mr. Ghiz, a leader is supposed to lead for ALL THE PEOPLE, - bring us all together in harmony and ageement in what is best for us all, ---- it appears you do not graps the fundamentals of the position you offered youself up for, now it appears cowardice is in the mix as well, none of this can be covered by 'thick skin', - please resign

  • ST.
    November 28, 2012 - 08:38

    When is enough enough? When are you islanders gonna wake up and get rid of this government?.........period

  • Businesses will suffer
    November 28, 2012 - 08:35

    In order for me to come up with extra money to compensate for the increase to gas, groceries, electric heating sources, etc, etc, etc...I will cut out the trips to restaurants, the theatre and all the other things that we had spare money for. Do you not think other people will have to pinch in other places, so how does that help these businesses...? And when I do feel like shopping for clothes, etc...why not try and save a little extra money and go to NB or NS where they actually have decent stores to shop from.

  • nick
    November 28, 2012 - 08:30

    so all this money is coming our way, the price for being taxshackeled for ever, - thanks to our great genious ,Ghiz. If this experience does not make people aware of the emmence power one person can grab in our system, when other duely elected representatives abdicate their pledge to the electrorate, then it is sad. A premier that, before asking for an other 4 year mandate, clearly lied to the people, and them implement such a devastating change to the lives of people, can do so without any consultation or reprecussions is scary and in total oppositionm to what most people consider democracy. People will know what hit them once the new HST goes into effect, - we should be in the streets objecting to this mishandling 0f our lives, --- but where are we? Rolling over ----

  • SG
    November 28, 2012 - 08:11

    (Currently, the province takes in 15.8 cents per litre in provincial taxes on gasoline. The province will lower that rate in order to soften the blow HST increases would cause) Are Islanders supposed to be pleased with the generosity of our Province on a lowering their rate for Provincial gas taxes? It will be the 14% on our household Electric Expenses (including heat) tax on clothing, non food items, medications, Dental Services, Optometrist Services, Barber and Hair Stylists Services that will cause great hardship for our Family. Merry Xmas to all.

  • alfredd
    November 28, 2012 - 08:08

    True leadership sets out to unite the community, not devide it. For some reason this government has consistantly set neighbor aganist neighbor. The HST is touted by Government as a demand from farmer and businesses ,-- a great benefit to those sectors, who some how will pass geat benefits on to the whole society as their profits increases. The fact is that this Government has foolishly overspend, and the money is needed to remedy that situation. $25 mill will be extracted out of Islanders through this means, twithout a referendum or any means of consensus that this is the right thing to do. Considering this government's miserable failure in giving money away to various doubtful enterprises, it should behove them to ask for advise on how to correct the mistakes. The Premier's failure in being up front before the election,-- misleading us, and then not arranging for a referendum prior to going the HST route is inexcuseable. Islanders should take to the streets, -- how can we stand for such deceit--- and still have respect for ourselves, - even the people being used as an excuse for this tax ought to be outraged enough to object,--- we all appear to be just pawns in the Ghiz game,------soon to be paupers

  • Wow
    November 28, 2012 - 07:57

    Let's get out while we can still afford the bridge fare.

  • children depend on us adults to do something
    November 28, 2012 - 07:38

    On page A6 the people we elected used our money to provide Islanders a dog's breakfast of HST Facts. The provision of facts implies truthfulness and transparency, but "in fact" the opposite is the case. For example, why are the facts presented on page A6 not ranked in the order of the goods and services Islanders most use? Or, given the spending patterns of the typical Islander, why not present the facts in the order of the goods and services from the most to the least economic impact? Or, why aren't the facts ordered by the goods and services most valued? Instead, the facts are presented in a manner that gives the illusion that the HST will "Not Change" or "Decrease" our spending. By wilfully misrepresenting facts in this manner, Islanders are clearly being planb'd yet again. The real question is, are we wilfully going to do nothing about it? How many more times are we just going to cower like kicked dogs? If we're so cowardly (or lazy) that we can't even directly contact our MLA to voice our opinion, we deserve what we get. And that, my fellow Islanders, brings shame on every adult Islander.

  • voter
    November 28, 2012 - 07:30

    I believe Pat Binns said something in the line of "If Robert Ghiz does what he says he is going to do PEI would be bankruapt!" He appears to have been right!?

    • correct
      November 28, 2012 - 09:00

      I agree. And that's saying a lot because Binns was an equally poor financial manager too. Maritime Union can't come soon enough in my mind.

  • Liars
    November 28, 2012 - 07:21

    I thought they made election promises against the HST? What a bunch of Liars!

  • Quiet Observer
    November 28, 2012 - 07:19

    As a small business owner, the only advantage the HST will bring me is a little, and I mean like 10 minutes less, paperwork for me every month. That's it. Businesses already deduct all the PST they pay as input credits, so financially it is irrelevant.

  • Frustrated
    November 28, 2012 - 07:08

    And where will this 25 million be spent? I'm guessing it won't be spent to help the disadvantaged in this province. Nor will it be used to pay off debt. Likely it will go toward some other foolish idea this government is about to announce.

  • Melissa
    November 28, 2012 - 07:06

    I'm some glad the PEI Government has listened to Prince Edward Islanders. :P

  • Ms Whitty
    November 28, 2012 - 07:03

    What about people who heat with electricity? Discrimination at work!!!

  • John W.A.curtis
    November 28, 2012 - 05:21

    None of P.E.I.'s political parties will balance its' budget with the HST. The HST will be used to pay pension shortfall of 450 million dollars.

  • statler
    November 28, 2012 - 05:04

    Why not tell the truth? the only reason they wait until the last of march is so the people will have no time to give any flack(can't use the words i'd like to) so the element is supprise , and the ones at a disadvantage will be the working people trying to swallow another gas tax. OH and will there be any need for IRAC? if we are on par with the mainland there should be some jobs cut from IRAC

  • brian lewis
    November 28, 2012 - 04:12

    i guess ghiz did not learn anything from the B.C. govt which is getting rid of the hst at a cost of 2 billion dollars to the tax payers. he should get with the times the people of P,E.I are tired of losing all thier jobs and having to go west to work while they r not hurting at the end of the week with their pay .

  • Joe Blow
    November 27, 2012 - 23:58

    This is the dumbest thing that anybody in the Ghiz government has ever thought of!!! Forcing EVERYBODY to pay even more money in taxes than we are already paying while a majority of people can hardly make ends meet now.....while the rich snobs and big business owners get tax breaks and make more money. The only way to strengthen the economy is to put more money in the pockets of ALL Islanders so they can spend it. The fact that Ghiz and his crooked government lied to every Islanders faces during the last election by saying they would NOT bring in the HST while they secretly put the ball in motion to in fact bring it in.....thats about as crooked and dispicible as it gets!!! How many lies and poor business decisions are Islanders going to be forced to listen to and deal with before something gets done?? Every member of Ghiz's caucus need to be charged with fraud and thrown in jail for the way they have run this province. They have made PEI a laughing stock for the rest of the country. BC tried to bring in HST and they voted against it for a good reason....HST IS NOT A HELPFUL SOLUTION!!! This bunch of idiots chose to ignore those FACTS!! This makes me sick to my stomach!!

  • EL Douglas
    November 27, 2012 - 23:17

    We need government recall legislation!

  • Bill
    November 27, 2012 - 23:01

    There should definitely be charges of fraud laid against this pathetic government, while the election promises were stating that the island will not be implementing HST, all the while it was in the works behind every islanders' backs!!! Absolutely dispicable, this is!!!

  • Bewildered
    November 27, 2012 - 22:45

    There you have it...no jobs...higher taxes...mass exodus will begin....sad.