Thursday, July 06, 2006

Impotent Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty

I heard on the radio that Jim Flaherty, Federal Finance Minister, is a tad upset about businesses not reducing the GST to 6%, still charging 7% and pocketing the extra for themselves. But, as quoted in the Toronto Star, he is "not aware of any steps that we could take [to compel the City of Toronto and municipal agencies to pass along the 1% GST cut]." Apparently he's also baffled that coffee shops can adjust their cash registers but the city and related agencies cannot. He's baffled? Poor Mr. Flaherty, he's been in government for so long that he cannot recognize a disguised cash grab.

Bust aside from that, is Federal Finance Minister Flaherty, he with the beady-eyed tax department behind him, trying to tell us Canadians who are being shafted at the taxi fare box, Parking Authority ticket machines, possibly some cash registers, and for some city services, that that humoungous Tax Act, it of the hundreds and hundreds of pages filled with penalties and ways to hunt down people owing a couple of grand in income tax or less, it, the auditor's weapon of choice, that that thing has nothing in it to whack businesses over the head who are fraudulently stealing money from consumers and fine them such enormous sums of money that any gain they get from taking the tax money for themselves will be wiped out? Surely just using the hefty Act itself as a weapon should be sufficient to force them to toe the line.

Is Minister Flaherty also trying to tell us that there's nothing in the Criminal Code against taxing consumers, sending some of it to Ottawa and keeping the rest for themselves? Isn't that called, oh I don't know, fraud?

If Ottawa has no other role and no other power, it should at least protect Canadians, wherever we may be, from whatever threatens us, however it threatens us, even if that threat is another level of government and it's only our wallets being attacked.

4 comments:

James Bow said...

And let's not forget the newspapers, like the Toronto Sun, pocketing the difference as well.

talk talk talk said...

Absolutely! Are all the papers doing it? Of course, they'd all have had no trouble increasing their prices if the GST had gone up.

Mark Dowling said...

Interestingly, for "Cash included" prices the retailer doesn't get all the reduction. Because their "excluding tax" price has gone up, the province gets a little more.

For Ontario, my calculation is that for a tax included price of a dollar, the province used to get 6.956 cents but will now get 7.02 cents... similarly, some of the GST will be clawed back because it will be 6% of a higher amount - it's all marginal but every little helps.

talk talk talk said...

Talk about confusing! Thanks for the elucidation Mark, and I agree -- every little bit helps.