Province admits to ‘poison pill’ in HST agreement

The pro­vincial Liberal government has been challenging the oppo­si­tion parties to state they would repeal the controversial Harm­onized Sales Tax – but last week it revealed it has set up an agreement with the federal government that would make it nearly impossible to do.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan last week admitted that that the government’s HST deal contains a $4.3-billion “poison pill” designed to handcuff fut­ure governments.

When Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hud­ak asked Duncan to explain the fine print of the HST agree­ment, Duncan admitted the deal does include a clause that forc­es any government that would want to repeal the tax before 2015, to pay a $4.3-billion fine.

“You can, in fact, get out of the deal; you just have to give the $4.3-billion back to the federal government,” Duncan said in the legislature Nov. 25.

The PC Party continued to call on the government to hold public consultations across the province on the tax, so that On­tario families, seniors, and small businesses can have a say about what they call a Premier Dalton Mc­Guinty tax grab.

Hudak said, “You’re afraid to go out to get the public’s support for your HST tax grab and now we find out that if the government tries to get out of your bad deal we have to pay a fine of $4.3 billion.”