Saturday, November 13, 2010



The HST is here to stay. Get used to it. But we don't have to accept the HST being applied to every facet of our lives except breathing.
(By the way, HST stands for Harmonized Sales Tax, the combining of federal and provincial sales taxes, not Harmonized Stupid Tax, which is more apt.)
It shook up many readers when the Editor of The Toronto Sun supported the GST. When I wrote the editorials I pointed out that the GST was a logical replacement for a tax that had been around for years and was not loved by business. We had to accept that the feds needed some form of a federal sales tax.
Unfortunately, the critics of the GST concentrated on condemnation rather than on reform. What they should have been demanding is that it be eliminated from many of the new targets. Taxing books, including Holy Books, had been a government no no as long as there had been governments. When the bureaucrats included the PST in the price to be taxed by the GST, like on gasoline, that had been considered illegal and immoral for decades.
Which brings me to the HST which I hope brings down more politicians than just a B.C. premier. How about Dalt0n McGuinty next October. How about federal politicians who don't
realize that while Canadians should accept some form of HST, we should fight like hell against all the extra targets, the services and products that were targeted by the GST and have now been expanded under the HST.
The Ontario Government boasts that there was no new HST on 83% of products and services.
Consider its cunning double talk. The key is the word new. Yes, Queen's Park does tax many products and services that we shouldn't, like Bibles, but we only increased the tax on 17% of products and services. Sure, on everything from having your hair done to paying the onerous bills of lawyers. Let's not forget home heating and electricity.
There have been many heated arguments over the HST but I was in a strange one with Senator Nancy Ruth. Nothing new about that since she as a militant declared lesbian is used to rocking the boat, trying to make men fall out, on everything from her name to her advocacy of women's rights.
The occasion was the induction luncheon of the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame. (I wrote about it on Nov. 11.) The senator, who goes only by two first names, loudly declared at the table (where she had ignored fellow diners, and had busied herself with her dumbphone to ignore the inductions and speeches) that she was furious the government had waived the HST on the red poppy.
She then ripped one up and used the innard and part of a program to make a crude white poppy, which is supposed by tiny groups of women and peaceniks to represent peace and not all those nasty men who died fighting for peace.
She complained loudly, as an arrogant activist used to bellowing her views, that look at all the charities that have to pay the HST. Why make an exception for veterans, she said? She grumbled about the male-dominated war stuff on TV that she said ignored the contribution of women.
Since it was the day before Remembrance Day, since red poppies bloomed throughout the concert hall in honour of those immortal words from John McRae in 1915 - "In Flanders fields the poppies grow" - since there were men in the room who had heard the brazen throat of war, her words were like a sour trumpet.
I said that at least 95% of Canadians would be okay with no HST on poppies. She said it would be 50-50 at best. I challenged her to have a vote in the Senate. I said why didn't we get John Wright of Ipsos-Reid to include that question in his next poll. I challenged her to have a vote at the luncheon, perhaps run by her brother Hal Jackman, the former lieutenant governor. She refuses to use the Jackman name, an honourable one where her grandfather and father had been MPs (she was defeated federally twice, which showed voter wisdom.)
She wondered why I was so upset. I said her wearing her crude white poppy demeaned the icon of the red poppy, just as much as her carping at a tax break the day before we remember, sorrowfully, our fallen in war, was insensitive and dumb.
It was a profane act by a profane politician who uses fuck as an action verb when she isn't pulling such stunts as changing the words of O Canada.
Imagine! A senator opposed to a break on the HST for an honourable reason. Just as bad as all the politicians who don't understand that overtaxed Canadians will bite the hand, and throat too at election time, of any pol who wants to tax every activity of our lives.
In England, Muslim demonstrators against the British military burned a giant red poppy and scandalized other Muslims. Muslims disrupted the moment of silence on Remembrance Day. Jerks! But what about the people here who should know better, especially when Henry Jackman, the MP father of Nancy, idolized Winston Churchill and was an important link between Canada and England during World War II.
The red poppy honoured his service too.

My friend, David Smith, a leading Liberal senator, later mentioned my confrontation to Senator Nancy. (She said she was a Progressive Conservative when she was appointed by Paul Martin but then became a Conservative.)
She said, in effect, that I was a loudmouth jerk. Maybe Smith held off on rougher adjectives because even my family has called me that.
She chaired a Senate human rights committee on Women, Peace and Security which said in a report, according to its summary, that UN states, peacekeepers and other stakeholders "must take varying steps to ensure that efforts to prevent, resolve and rebuild from armed conflict incorporate the perspectives of women."
Such careful bland generalities makes me wish that the senator saved more of her fire for conflict belligerents and less for Canadians honouring our dead in war.

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