***Just Off the Press***
Municipal Election Kick Off conference
September 12 and 13, 2009
“Excellent” was the most used descriptor of the CLC/Labour Council Municipal Election Strategy kick off conference in Toronto on the weekend of September 12 and 13. There were 50 participants representing 35 Labour Councils from across the province. CLC President Ken Georgetti and Hamilton Centre NDP MP David Christopherson started off the conference with President Georgetti reaffirming the Canadian Labour Congress’ commitment to coordinate and fund the municipal program. MP Christopherson reminded participants that we can all do this as he told his own story of going from the plant floor to Hamilton City Hall, Queen’s Park and now the House of Commons. Two different techniques to engage participants were used at the conference – World Cafe and Open Space technology. World Cafe posed two questions, “What is it that you could do to make your community hungry for progressive change and How would you know you were successful? The responses are below. The second technique was Open Space discussions. This followed presentations by a 5-member panel made up of the following individuals:
London Controller and Imagine London member Gina Barber who spoke about her work with community members of Imagine London to change the ward boundaries in the city, even going in front of the OMB and winning;
Toronto District Board of Education Trustee Chris Bolton who spoke about his ongoing working relationship with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council and the community group - Friends of Community Schools;
Thunder Bay Councillor Andrew Foulds who talked about his relationship with the Thunder Bay and District Labour Council and called on labour to keep the lines of communications open with their endorsed councillors;
Columbia Institute’s Ontario Co-ordinator Sean Meagher spoke about the Columbia Institute’s ongoing program to provide networking opportunities for progressive municipal politicians once they are elected; and
Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield Deputy Reeve Mary Smith who spoke to the rural component of Ontario’s municipal structure. She called on labour to not overlook the second tier municipalities – regional or county councils – as that is often where the social services, economic development and planning happen. Instead of a question and answer session, the 5 panelists each sat in a circle of chairs and participants moved from panel member to panel member asking one on one questions and engaging in discussions. No panel member was ever alone. Saturday wrapped up with a very cordial dinner. The second day of the conference featured three workshops that were well received. The workshops were: Connecting with communities in your Hood: Municipal voting and reaching out to communities with instructor Karl Flecker, The relevance of online social networking in elections with instructors Denise Doyle and Caitlin MacLennan and The ongoing search for success (candidate recruitment) with instructor Stephanie Levesque Below are some of the responses to the evaluation question, What aspect of the weekend interested you the most?
H.S.T. Tax Grab
The new tax will be administered by the Federal Government. It will be based on the GST, that means if the tax is currently collected on the Goods and Service Tax at 5% it is going to be increased to 13%, that sounds fine as Ontario 's Provincial Retail Sales Tax is 8%. Add the two together and things seem fine.
One problem, Retail Sales Tax is not collected on everything that Goods and Services Tax is, the key word here is "Services". Retail Sales Tax is not collected on services. What is going to increase?
Here is a small list of services currently only taxed at 5% going up to 13%.
Natural Gas bill
Gas at the pumps- That is like 7 cents per L., or, in English, 31 cents a gallon (that is a tax on top of a tax)
Massage therapy & Condo Maintenance Fees !
Anything that requires labour around your house- plumber, electrician, painting, grass cutting ext.
Electricity bill- This is a good one. Look at your electricity bill there is a charge on it for debt retirement charge. That is a charge for the huge debt the OPC ran up. Only in Ontario would we pay tax on a debt, and only in Ontario would we increase this tax.
This is just a small list as there is so much much more.
Let talk about small business for a minute.
Mr. Mcguinty tells us in the budget that this new tax is going to save small businesses 500 million dollars. I do not know how much it costs to fill out a six line tax return monthly, but all small business owners I know do their own. If you are in business you will know about compensation on your Retail Sales Tax return. This is when you get to keep 5% of the tax collected up to $1,500.00 per year to help with your administration costs. That is gone once this tax is combined. Really it only helps large corporations with multiple vendor permit numbers, not small businesses.
There were two places where we were going to see an advantage to this tax. First there is no GST on used cars if bought privately and provincial tax on alcohol in between 10% to 12%. That is 2% to 4% higher than our normal Retail Sales Tax. Good old Mcguinty took care of that real quick. He is now saying to make it fair between used car lots, that he will collect the Retail Sales Tax on used cars still. Get ready for this one, he is going to add a levy on alcohol to promote social responsibility. This man is using the words social responsibility at the same time as he is raising our taxes, what he promised not to do.
Stand up Ontario and tell him we cannot afford any more Mcguinty politics. No new taxes.