BC NDP Government “Celebrates” Canada Day by Increasing Sales Tax Take!

Talk about a government out of touch with the current struggles of ordinary middle class working citizens, struggling seniors and the handicapped!

The BC NDP government expanded its tax take July 1 … adding the 7% provincial sales tax to “on-line” purchases from companies that sell more than $10,000 worth of goods a year on the Internet.

$10,000 in sales a year? I dare say, in these days of Covid and post-Covid shopping, that would pretty well be almost ALL of them.

In fact, the NDP government predicts the added tax will pull in another $120 MILLION a year from taxpayers!

FROM whom? The businesses? Their profits? Their executives’ salaries?

No! From BC consumers!! (You know …those who already pay the HIGHEST gas excise taxes in North America!)

And by the way, the NDP government in BC expanded its tax take on the very same day that the Conservative government in Ontario CUT both its Gas Tax and Diesel fuel tax until at least the end of the year to give Ontarians a break.

Read it and weep, BC residents: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1002172/ontario-government-providing-more-relief-at-the-pumps.

Also on July 1, here in BC, Translink’s municipal hiked transit fares another 2.3%. That’s on top of the 2.3% increase imposed last year … making the boost over two years close to a cumulative 5%.

At the very same time that Germany has introduced a NEW 9-Euros-a-month COUNTRY-WIDE transit pass “to provide some relief from high fuel prices from June through August.”

Shed a few more tears for British Columbians: https://www.dw.com/en/free-public-transport-in-europe/a-62031236.

Here, governments seem totally oblivious … or totally insensitive … to the pain and the struggles that millions of singles, families, seniors are facing in these difficult days.

Could there be a WORSE time to RAISE taxes and transit fees????

No wonder in BC there are 128,000 unemployed people … most of whom could work but won’t!

Why work? When there’s almost nothing left after salaries are devoured by ever increasing taxes, soaring grocery prices, exorbitant rents, even an extra 25 cents tax for a cup and 15 cents for a bag if you dare pick up a coffee or soda and a burger on your break … and now, they’ve added higher transit fares just to get to work and back.

Better to sleep in, go to the beach and stay on public assistance?

Especially when BC governments (provincial, regional and municipal) just keep taking more and more and more … providing NO meaningful relief to WORKING people (or pensioned seniors) during an economic crisis.

The expanded BC sales tax (7%) will now hit those who buy on-line in BC for whatever reasons: local retailers may not sell the desired products; the variety of goods/brands/styles may be better; the choice of sizes, colours could be wider; the prices may be lower … a BIG DEAL for those struggling already on limited incomes!!

The added on-line PST will especially hurt those who have shopped on-line in rural and/or smaller communities around the province, were there are not the big box discount stores those in urban areas have available.

But the MOST disgraceful aspect of this NDP move, their greed hits elderly and handicapped people ANYWHERE in BC … who simply CANNOT get out and shop around … and MUST rely on on-line shopping and delivery.

And buying on line gave them at least a bit of a break.

The BC NDP government wants MORE of even their meager pensions and income! Adding 7% more now to everything taxable they now buy on-line will really hurt shut-ins and struggling pensioners!

The government says it is closing a loophole and levelling the playing field for all retailers in BC.

But according to The Vancouver Sun, no other provincial jurisdiction in Canada has an on-line Internet provincial sales tax. But in BC, even small third-party sellers, marketing through major retail websites, will now also be hit.

“In addition, these marketplaces are also being required by the province to charge PST to individual sellers for use of their services, such as help with listing the sales of goods, advertising, warehousing and payment collection,” the Sun reported.

You can read the full Sun article here: http://In addition, these marketplaces are also being required by the province to charge PST to individual sellers for use of their services, such as help with listing the sales of goods, advertising, warehousing and payment collection.

Time for any intrepid journalist colleagues, brave enough to still hold the NDP government’s feet to the fire to ask:

WHY are they raising taxes and transit fees when other governments are cutting and lowering them???

Don’t they know we are in an economic crisis and the people are hurting???

Why no exemption for seniors, pensioners, shut ins who MUST shop on line???

Or is the BC NDP government so greedy, they just don’t care???

Can’t wait to see the responses from government … and their apologists.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FREE First Alerts to all new postings on this BC-based Blog.)

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25 Responses to BC NDP Government “Celebrates” Canada Day by Increasing Sales Tax Take!

  1. Radio Noise says:

    Please ask John Horgan and Kevin Falcon why they are members of Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum that is pushing Agenda 2030 – The Great Reset, where you will own nothing and be happy.
    This might explain the tax hike.

    (Response: I’m not aware they are members of that group. And I’m not a world conspiracy fan, so have no fear if they are. h.o)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    As I have stated so many times before, Horgan and the NDP has lost the plot. Instead of carefully dealing with the provinces fiances, they keep on spending and need the taxes to spend more on their friends and insiders.

    Site C, costing well over $16 billion is built on a foundation of shifting shale.

    The now $3 billion+, 5.8 km (that figure will come out after the civic election) Broadway subway to Arbutus, which was based on the old LRT Broadway/Lougheed RT project, needs more and more cash. The NDP also failed correct the notion that Broadway was the heaviest used transit corridor in Canada, no, no North America and in fact there was no compelling need to build a subway as the traffic flows are quite low.

    I wrote to TransLink to clarify the claim that Broadway was the busiest transit corridor in Canada and they wrote back; “Broadway was their most congested transit corridor on the system.”

    Horgan has also promised the Expo Line extension to Langley, yet the cost of this 16 km line, has escalated from $1.63 billion, as claimed by Surrey mayor McCallum in 2018, and now is said to cost $4.9 billion and that is if construction starts by the end of the year.

    Then there is the $3 billion mid life rehab, desperately needed for the Expo Line and there is no funding for this.

    Plus the NDP are glad handing rapid transit to UBC, now estimated to cost $6 billion and to the North Shore, costing well in excess of $5 billion.

    No fiscal reality with any of the transit planning, especially when the proprietary light metro used on the Expo and Millennium Line\s is so badly designed and so expensive that the American government refuses to underwrite any US transit line using it!

    Yet BC’s Business Cases support SkyTrain at every turn.

    And, by the way, that is $22 billion for rapid transit!

    The Massey tunnel/bridge replacement project, was a originally a liberal pork barrel project and now has turned into a multi billion dollar “my bridge is bigger than your tunnel affair”.

    A bridging engineer told me the best option was to put another 4 lane tunnel in a trench, next to the present tunnel at a cost much less that the present plans.

    Ka-ching, money, money, money!

    Then there is/was covid, where if you were First nations, Metis or other oppressed group, funding a plenty, but an analog older pensioner, you got squat, with the hope you die off and decrease the surplus population.

    Then came last summers heat wave and last falls monsoon and the government is not anteing up the coin as promised but it seems like a lot of bureaucrats are working quite fine pushing paper.

    Ka-ching, ka-ching.

    Horgan’s tax and spend regime is just not lazy politics, rather a belief that those in power, with guaranteed six figure salaries and gold plated pensions is the norm with society.

    So many people being left behind, such an abysmal and callus government.

    I have found out to my horror, that several people I have known, who are being left behind are dumpster diving for tossed out food in bins behind restaurants and small grocers for questionable veg and meat. This happening today, in a more affluent community in metro Vancouver, where the stark choice is pay the rent or buy food, they cannot do both.

    Horgan could have changed the plot, but with the NDP, they are just doing the same thing over again, hoping for different results.

    (Response: Since the province has postponed its new NDP-propagandized history-of-BC museum indefinitely, the BC NDP government should use that BILLION dollars to lower the gas taxes for six months, like the Conservative provincial government in Ontario has done! Or HELP BC’s economy through these tough times by LOWERING the provincial sales tax …instead of expanding it! h.o)

    • e.a.f. says:

      Regarding people you have known having to dumpster dive, they could go to the food bank. As to how to deal with the problem, would be to provide these people with a larger income or provide more affordable housing. Both options will cost the government money and hence require more money from tax payers.

      As to Ontario’s actions, perhaps they ought to put the money into their child protection services and foster care. The privitized companies are making millions and the kids are living in homes which in B.C. are closed down on the DTES. Nice investigative journalism by APTN and Global in Ontario.

      The increase in gas taxes make things more expensive, but people could stop driving as much. Providing “relief” from gas taxes simply benefits those who can afford a vehicle.

  3. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Some years ago, I mentioned here how my wife and I could take a day trip to Bellingham and come back with $200+ in retail goods and get a “have a good day” at the border crossing. We were ready and willing to pay our penance — but were always pleased to get a “tax free” day trip.

    Returning from a recent overnighter shopping trip to Seattle, my wife and her sisters were summoned in to the Huntingdon customs office to pay all taxes and duties on their purchases.

    I’m not sure if they tipped the tolerance meter on Canada Customs’ scale, or if this was sign of a new “get tough” measure at the border crossings.

    With next to zero cross-border traffic for two COVID years, Canadian retailers (including fuel companies) have had in-person shoppers all to themselves… and governments have gotten their fill of all taxes. Governments likely don’t want to return to pre-COVID practices.

    (I’d like to hear from anyone who has tried coming across the border recently with a full tank of gas and multiple loaded Gerry cans. It used to be no problem.)

    I have no problem with this measure of closing the PST loophole. I didn’t even know it was a thing. Previously, the PST holiday for on-line sales meant an extra incentive to avoid brick-and-mortar stores. Are we in favour of that?

    This correction evens the playing field a little — and leaves the ‘cottage industry’ start-ups alone.

    A truly cruel government would have put parking meters in provincial parks. 🙂

    (Response: My problem with the expanded tax isn’t so much the principle, but the timing. While other jurisdictions are responding to the struggles so many of their citizens are facing during these difficult times, and looking for ways to give them a break … the BC NDP and the extreme lefties running Vancouver City Hall seem totally oblivious to working “people” … expanding governments’ tax take over and over, and doing almost NOTHING to help working people get by …even for a few months. h.o)

  4. Radio Noise says:

    Not conspiracy, fact.
    John and Kevin have there own pages on the World Economic Forum website.

    John Horgan

    Kevin Falcon

    Do some research on Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum.
    Klaus speaks openly about controlling over half of Canada’s parliament.
    The WEF members include a who’s who of Canadian politicians, look for yourself.

    The big question:
    How did all of these WEF members gain power in Canada, the Provinces, and major cities?
    The answer is easy, but I want to see if you can figure it out?

    (Response: I prefer to spend my retirement days walking in the forest, going for country drives, and schmoozing over lunch with friends … rather than pursuing well-worn and refuted conspiracy theories. I just wonder why, after reading my Blog, the WEF hasn’t invited me to attend? h.o)

    • Radio Noise says:

      With due respect, what part of this is conspiracy theories?

      (Edited…off topic. The topic up for discussion is the expanded BC sales tax. h.o)

      • Radio Noise says:

        The part of my comment you edited was in response to “walking in the forest, going for country drives, and schmoozing over lunch with friends.”

        The focus for this additional tax needs to be on John Horgan being a member of the WEF. This tax makes it look like his loyalties are with the WEF, not the people of BC.

        This is the “Elephant in the Room” that the media chooses to ignore. When your were at BCTV did you dig down to the root cause of the problems?

        Hoping your blog will shine a light on the real cause of this tax hike, along with other things done by Victoria that are not in anyway in the best interests of the people of BC?

        Here’s your time to shine for the people of BC…

  5. frozentundra says:

    When you live in places that are divorced from reality such as Victoria or Ottawa, it is too easy to forget about ordinary people’s problems. The politcos of every stripe are surrounded by yes men who want more money to run their own kingdoms (ministries) and are usually career government workers who have never had to worry about layoffs and have a fantastic pension to retire on. With all this in mind, no wonder governments dont think about gas tax repeals or how a pensioner is supposed to survive on a pension that is smaller than their monthly furniture bill.

    (Response: Your comment makes me more convinced than ever that my response to Gilbert was “right on”! The BC government has MILLIONS and MILLIONS for FIFA Games and was ready to pump a BILLION into a propagandized NDP History Museum … but with this new sales tax expansion has shown it has clearly lost touch with the stresses being felt by low or mid range wage earners, seniors, rural area residents and the handicapped who rely on on-line shopping. Terrible! h.o)

  6. Gilbert says:

    The decision to expand the sales tax on Canada Day is truly unbelievable. Whoever was responsible for the decision was not thinking very clearly. Such decisions should never be announced on Canada Day. It should be a day of good news and celebration and not more hardship for ordinary Canadians.

    When Gordon Campbell was premier, I once met the Assistant to the Minister of Small Business. I told her that the government’s decision to penalize British Columbians who crossed the border to Alberta to shop at places like Costco and avoid the PST was wrong. The government wanted to check their sales receipts. She answered that people wanted expensive services like health care, so the government needed to make them pay. My response was that they had the right to shop in Alberta and save money. I also told her that the government could find other ways to generate the revenue.

    Unfortunately, when governments want more revenue, they often target those who are already struggling. Rather than cut the expenses of our politicians or demand more from corporations and the wealthy, they target the most vulnerable in society. I’m not surprised, but it’s sad.

    (Response: It’s almost as if politicians in BC are totally oblivious to the realities facing ordinary working British Columbians today. Few of those impacted by the ever-growing burdens imposed by the NDP provincial government, TransLink and the radical lefties running Vancouver City Hall earn the salaries, enjoy the benefits or will ever get the lucrative pensions the politicians (and their bureaucrats) enjoy! h.o)

  7. Not Sure says:

    This is not a defense of the tax. I am not smart enough to have an opinion. But let’s keep it real (lol)

    1. In your response to Barry you said weren’t opposed to the tax. As Barry pointed out and you seem to agree, the tax levels the playing field so online shoppers are paying the same taxes as people purchasing products in stores.

    2. You said you were more concerned about the timing. Fair enough. But this was announced in the February budget to take effect on July 1. If it had taken effect in say April we would not be having this conversation at all. Maybe because …

    3. I order from Amazon. I checked my last few orders. I paid PST on all taxable products. The same is true when ordering products from other businesses I use online. This new tax doesn’t affect everything.

    4. The government says it will gain $100M from the tax which sounds like a lot but compared to the annual $7.5B that the PST brings in that amounts to little more than 1%.

    5. $100M divided by about 3M BC voting age adults is $33/year or 10 cents a day. I am not saying that amount is insignificant to some people but for most not a big deal. (More to come on that.)

    6. Shift gears for a second. You praised Ontario for lowering taxes on fuel. And in the government announcement you linked, it states “a family in Southern Ontario who owns two cars and drives regularly would save about $815 in 2022. Households that do not own vehicles are expected to benefit from the impact of the gas tax cut in the price of purchases such as taxis, food delivery and consumer products.”

    7. And here is my beef with Ontario’s tax cut and the BC government’s lack of any action. And I am repeating myself from previous posts. Here is Gilbert who I don’t usually agree with: “Rather than … demand more from corporations and the wealthy, they target the most vulnerable”


    The family in Ontario who can afford two cars (likely because two adults are working) gets a tax break of close to a thousand bucks while the single parent or the person on minimum wage or the senior with only a basic pension gets a few pennies (maybe) on food delivery that they probably can’t afford anyway. And who of those two groups (well off family vs low income worker) is more likely to vote.

    I am lucky. And so are you Harvey. And I imagine most of the people on here who can afford computers and internet access. Yes it would be great for me to save a possible $33 on internet purchases and even better $4oo on gas (one car). But I don’t need it nearly as much as many many more people.

    And there is a simple answer. Well I think it is simple. If people are struggling, and I mean struggling not just facing a bit of inconvenience than by all means we need to help them. That two car family doesn’t need $800 as much as that senior or low income worker or single parent does as inflation soars.

    And there is a precedent. Didn’t we get $500 during covid. Everybody whose taxable income was less than $75,000 got the full $500. People making more than 75,000 got less incrementally until 125,00 when people got zero. I don’t know what a fair amount might be and where the cutoffs might be, but that system targets the most vulnerable and even a middle class family rather than everybody whether they need it or not.

    The tax cut in Ontario is expected to cost $645M. I don’t what % of their budget that is. BC could take a similar % and divide it incrementally. Maybe people making less than $40,000 get $400 and it drops incrementally until zero at $100,000. The government can figure that out. But it seems fairer than just tossing money at people who may not need it at all.

    (And all of this assumes that the government should be helping out during inflation. No government was throwing money during the 70s or 80s as some people believe putting more money into the system just fuels inflation.)

    (Response: Spin! Spin! Spin! This may be a new record: I’ve never seen, in one Comment on here, so many EXCUSES for government insensitivity, greed and failures to acknowledge, address and assist its citizenry as they endure the economic effects of war, contributing to extraordinary inflation and yet, are still hit with higher and higher taxes. I particularly reject your Point 2: you know very well that governments OFTEN postpone or ignore things … sometimes for years that they put in their budgets or Throne Speeches. Funny how the NDP can keep delaying PAYOUTS they promise (like Renters Grant) …but MUST proceed with increased TAX takes, no matter the public suffering. As to your Point 4, that’s a common EXCUSE every government uses when raising taxes/fees/fares ..it’s “ONLY” 1% or 2% of blah, blah, blah. Yes, but that 1% or 2% ON TOP OF every other 1% or 2% mount added on to taxpayers’ backs that year in several different forms, plus the 1% or 2% added each of the previous years since taxation began … and suddenly the governments are taking more of what people work for than the workers get!! Also, for the NDP to EXPAND its tax grab during such difficult times is outrageous and proves my point: the BC NDP is increasingly totally out of touch with working middle class families, singles and seniors. Shame! h.o)

    • D. M. Johnston says:

      Just a note:


      “Everybody whose taxable income was less than $75,000 got the full $500.”

      I personally did not receive any money during Covid. My wife did but a large amount was clawed back with last years income tax.”

      My eldest son, who worked throughout covid, received no money from government and my youngest who graduated in 2020, received a federal education grant but his income was so low there was no claw back.

      Now certain groups of people did receive money, but the same groups always receive money from government ….Ka-Ching!

      As you said, spin, spin, spin!

  8. Not Sure says:

    Did you read to the end of my post. Doesn’t sound like it. It is like my name just triggers the spin spin spin shame comments.

    Lets review. (1) We agree that the tax levels the playing field, that in principle it isn’t a horrible policy. (2) You don’t like the timing which I acknowledged.

    (3,4,5) I am merely pointing out that it is not an egregious tax increase (timing aside) and we wouldn’t be talking about it if they had implemented it a couple of months ago instead of now. In fact I am not even sure who will be affected. I have ordered from Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Sports Check as well as Amazon. My wife buys from a shoe store and a hobby store among others. These are the kind of stores that most of the seniors and low income and handicapped people will buy from (if they can actually afford to do so as well as afford the computer and internet service). and those sites already add PST/GST to the cost.

    I have a friend trying to make it as an artist, selling his work through a couple of sites online as well as his own site. Last year he must have hit the magic income level as CRA doing whatever crosschecking they do, told him he owed money because he hadn’t submitted GST. He didn’t know he had to charge GST. As I understand it, the facilitator sites that he uses will now ensure that the tax will be collected. My cousin wrote a ” how to” book which she is lucky to sell through Amazon as a facilitator site. I didn’t pay any tax on it. Now I will have to. These are not the sorts of things that seniors and low income people and hardworking Canadians are spending their money on.

    But it was what came after that which you seemed to ignore. I say if the government is going to hand back money it should go to the people who need it. You keep talking about the low income workers, seniors, handicapped etc but they are not the ones who benefit from the Ontario government’s lowering of the gas tax. They basically admitted it. People with cars (likely working with decent pay) will save $400-800 while those without cars (like seniors and low income workers) might save pennies on food delivery services which they can’t afford anyway.

    That is why I suggested the BC government implement some graduated refund based on income. The less you make the more you get. If you actually care about seniors and lower income workers you should be advocating for a way to get money into their pockets. Delaying the implementation of the PST on some online shopping and lowering the tax on gas will not do that.

    (Response: There are several problems with your suggestion of a graduated refund basis: first, there are lots of singles and couples who, on paper, make very good salaries, but face HUGE mortgage payments just t put a roof over their kids’ heads and maybe have to drive quite a good distance to get to and from work, so need as break too; second, the way government operates, it would probably cost as much for the bureaucracy more to set it up and administer than would actually benefit; and, third, just ask the tax man (or woman) … there are still far too many very wealthy people, living in multi million dollar homes, earning huge revenues who somehow, with great tax lawyers and tax accountants, report very low “incomes”, so would qualify for “assistance”! What ALL British Columbians need now … and for the next six months … are cuts in the provincial and federal gas taxes, a cut in the GST and PST, a FREEZE on municipal tax increases, and break on transit fares. In other words, governments must RESPOND to the realities being faced by taxpayers …and STOP looking for more and more ways to squeeze additional revenues out of all of us so the politicians can cater to their favoured friends and power base, cave in to activist pressure groups and shell out for frivolous projects like $300 MILLION to host four or five FIFA games! h.o)

  9. e.a.f. says:

    You may not like the idea of all this money being spent on FIFA games and I agree with you. To me its a waste of money, just as Expo 86 and the Os. However, most people liked those events and there a lot more people who will like FIFA games adn those in the service industry will make a lot more money, which will include taxes.

    As to “realities being faced by taxpayers…..” That has always been there. Its never a good time to do most of the things governments do, its just that different governments decide to do different things at different times. During covid we saw how the Ontario seniors were dying due to neglect. When the armed forces arrived some of the doctors said the seniors would have lived had they been hydrated and given wet whipe downs to keep them cool. So yes Ontario lowers taxes, but at what cost.

    From one end of the oountry to another there is a shortage of medical .personnel. In one nothern town in the Artic, they have a huge out break of T.B. yet there isnt’ enough medical staff to deal with it although the money is there now. the problem is health care in the north has always been a problem and costly. Governments did nothing. Some one ought to have figured out doctors and nurses would be retirirng a long time ago so we would not be where we are today, not that we were thinking about a pandemic and didn’t plan for one. Governments didn’t plan for it becuase that would have required money and that requires higher taxes. We saw how that all ended. the new reported another small town in the interior is closing its emergency room because of insufficient staff. Had previous governments been putting mro emoney into nurses, doctors, etc. that would not be a problem today. As my G.P. said to be in the early 2000s, when his generation of doctors started to retire we would be in a lot of trouble because there wouldn’t be enough new doctors to replace all of them and they younger doctors would not be willing to work the hours older doctors had done over the decades. People these days want a quality of life.

    We do need to over haul our tax system and what would be a good start is to ensure there is no hiding of money over seas, in trusts, tax dodges, tax breaks for major corporations and a higher tax rate for high income taxpayers and corporations. We could also save a lot of money by no longer permitting tax deductions for charities and religions. Enough. Why should you get a tax write off for giving to your political party? The result will be, the governmetn takes in less tax money and so the rest of us have to make it up. One of my friends and I are really opposed to it so we never take tax recents for donations to our favorite charities or political parties.

    This province has a lot of expenses to pay with fire and floods. that is going to take money and that money will come from the taxpayers or the government could simply say, not our problem, you’re on your own. People have to make a decision.
    You either pay now or you pay later, one way or another. Its usually less expensive to pay now to avoid the problems later.

    Harvey I don’t agree with your suggestion of a tax freeze for the next how ever many months. that works for those who pay taxes. It will also deplete the money coming into government, which in the end will cause a lack of funds for education, health care, income for seniors and income assistance. Your suggestion regarding improvements to the tax system by increasing those who are wealthy, having to pay their fair share of taxes is excellent. Its not that this country can’t afford it, its that the rich are protected by governments.

    I dont’ agree with the Broadway corridor plans. Its too expensive, but I also understand the city is going to grow, it has to and if we dont do it now, when? We can do the work now or later but later will be more expensive.

    Good thought provoking article and it will certainly have lots of comments. Time for breakfast.

    (Response: Getting a good discussion going (pro and con) on issues I care about is among the reasons I write the blog. I understand where you are coming from on the latest expansion of the NDP’s tax grab, but I disagree when you write “Its never a good time to do most of the things governments do,” Economists, senior finance bureaucrats and, yes, astute and smart political leaders DO know when is a GOOD time AND when it is a BAD time to undertake major new investments, new projects, new programs … and even unnecessary “wishlist” spending. With BC’s economy reeling from soaring inflation, rising interest rates (watch for another .75% boost in the coming weeks), housing costs (rental prices as well as mortgage rates) … THIS is NOT the time for: a BILLION DOLLAR Museum; $300 MILLION FIFA party; and, I hear a soon-to-come 2030 Olympic Games bid! (Just think what the latter cost will be …given inflation, interest rates etc.!!) And to do all those things … whil in the middle of everyone enduring the costs a major war effort … and also expanding even more the governments’ (provincial, federal, municipal) strangulation level taxes on working people, seniors and even the handicapped is cruel and unusual punishment. h.o)

  10. Not Sure says:

    Correction. To receive the 500 recovery benefit the income range was between 62,500 – 87,000 for singles. For couples it was a combined 125,000 to 175,000 to receive $1000. DMJ, if your wife was the one who applied for the $1000 recovery benefit for couples, then she got the money and you didn’t. Hopefully she put it in a joint account. And it was tax free. And, Harvey, it was rolled out pretty quickly. (I am not necessarily advocating for those numbers. That benefit program cost about $1.5B. )

    Back on topic. Seriously, I am not trying to argue with you. We are both looking for an answer. But to suggest that there are things wrong with my graduated approach to ensure money goes to the more vulnerable and then just wildly demand cuts to fuel taxes, the PST/GST etc etc also has its problems.

    Here is one article from the US. Biden wants a gas tax holiday. Some economists say that a bad idea.

    And another. Note to governors: Cutting taxes may make inflation worse.

    But to be fair here is a third from the UK that suggests there may be merit in cutting taxes although this guy says the taxes that need to be cut are those that encourage investment like the corporate tax. I am not sure if that would fly here.

    And here is one from Canada. Temporary relief. No lasting effect and “In a roundabout way, a gas tax cut could actually fuel inflation by putting more spending power into consumers’ pockets that they might just spend on other areas,”

    And note as well that Forbes and Canadian Business are not left leaning magazines. And the criticism for Biden’s proposal is coming from both Democrats and Republicans.

    I honestly don’t have an answer. My suggestion is just a suggestion. I just think that money should go to people who are struggling to pay rent and buy food and other essentials. Better them than the people who may have to pay an extra 5o bucks for the trip to the cottage. Willing to hear other opinions.

    (Response: I put it to you “the most vulnerable” in BC already have many, many assistance programs and tax breaks available to them: not enough to equalize them with the more advantaged, to be sure, but better than in many other provinces and countries. However, I believe BC’s working entry or middle class singles, couples …. even if they each work 40 or 50 hours a week … are so over-taxed, it’s now almost impossible for them to make ends meet … let alone dream anymore of buying a house. And THEY get almost no breaks from the NDP government, which USED to champion the working and middle class: but I suspect few feel they do now. And having the HIGHEST TAXED gas prices in all of North America under the NDP is clear evidence of that. h.o)

    • D. M. Johnston says:

      When our politicians are knowingly spending three times more to build and operate rapid transit than they should; when our politicians insist building subways on routes that nowhere near having the ridership to sustain them; when our politicians insist building the wrong type of transit just because it gives better photo-ops and 10 second sound bites at election time, the natural outcome is higher and higher taxes to pay for it.

      Now do this for highways, dams, and almost all government projects which in turn drives up taxes to pay for this.

      No restraint + higher taxes now have seniors dumpster diving for food because they cannot afford to eat anymore!

  11. max avelli says:

    I have no problem taxing online sales. It creates SOME measure of equality with local businesses — although still no rent or property taxes to pay etc.(unless you are a big boy like Amazon). Online commerce is destroying the heart of our local business communities.

    But you missed the most stupendous “new” tax. PST is now applied to tobacco products — and on top of the provincial tobacco tax and federal excise tax on tobacco.

    But with only 15% of the population still smokers, a tax on their sin attracts little attention.

    I quit three years ago, totally cold-turkey, after having been a regular smoker for over 40 years (since I was 14 — Grade 8. No storekeeper back then batted an eyelid at a young kid buying a pack of smokes). I needed to finance a new car — great incentive.

    I can’t imagine why anyone keeps up with the filthy habit. It ruins your body, pollutes the air and leaves trash on our streets and waters.

    (Response: Well, you are certainly correct: smoking is a terrible habit, not good for your health. However, I must confess … I do like the taste of one cigarette a day, after my morning coffee (never inhale), and I really enjoy sitting in the outside smoking area at the back of cruise ships, watching the sea and/or the wake, listening to music, reading … and puffing on my pipe. Plus, since addicts like to stick together, the smoking area on a ship is a wonderful place to meet people, make new friends … so, at 77, I don’t plan to change. Terrible, I know!
    Now, about taxes: this is how bad it is now in BC: during two years without travel because of Covid, I ran out of my US-purchased stash of pipe tobacco, and I could not believe it when in BC I had to pay $49 for a one-and-a-half-ounce pouch of very ordinary pipe tobacco. That same pouch in Florida, at a neighbourhood smoke shop … not a discounted duty free outlet … costs $11.36 US. In June, on a visit to Florida, I paid $73 US for a TWELVE OUNCE can!!!! Talk about being overtaxed in BC! Even people who do not smoke should possess enough of a sense of fairness to agree in BC “sin” taxation is now beyond reason … totally out of control by excessively greedy government … not just for tobacco, but alcohol as well. However, if Horgan and the NDP won’t do ANYTHING to lower the TWO provincial taxes on gasoline fr hard-pressed families…no po8int even dreaming they’ll do anything for smokers! h.o)

    • max avelli says:

      As in so may other cases, one of the USA’s biggest failings is not taxing its residents enough on things that are completely destructive of all life to cover the costs of that behaviour, whether self-destroying or other destroying.

      I won’t bother getting to all the other things that are destructive of civilization, as that would be OT 🙂

      And your spell checking apparently relies on American spelling (it doesn’t like my “u” after an “i” and “o”).

  12. Not Sure says:

    Fact: The highest gas prices in Canada are paid in BC. There is no question. And the main culprit for that, I believe, is Translink which mainly affects those drivers in the Lower Mainland.

    Should the BC government give drivers in BC a gas tax holiday. Perhaps. The hardworking middle class families are overtaxed and deserve a break.

    Except, I found this fun.


    Put in a number and it will tell you how much income tax (federal and provincial combined) you will pay depending on the province or territories. (I am going to ignore the territories as they definitely win on this.

    If you make $75,000, people in BC pay the least amount beating Ontario by $350 and 3rd place Alberta by $1500,

    If you make $100,000, BC again comes out on top beating Ontario by $1000 and Alberta by $1500.

    150000? BC again beats Alberta (although by a measly $100) and Ontario by $3000.

    I think we are at the upper range of middle class so I will stop for a moment and comment. For the record though if you make $1,000,000 BC falls to fourth.

    Now lest you think I am shilling or spinning for the NDP, I will only say that these numbers are courtesy of Gordon Campbell’s tax cuts of 2002 which I have criticized for the consequences to the education and health care systems. So I am not going to praise the NDP for maintaining these numbers. Fact though. On income tax, BC’s middle class compared to other provinces appears to be doing just fine.

    But that is just one aspect of the tax system. I am ignoring gas taxes and sales taxes and municipal taxes etc. Well thankfully, our friends at the Fraser Institute write a report on tax freedom day. That is the day, when, if you paid all your taxes up front, you can start putting money into your own pocket.


    For the past three weeks, the average Canadian has been able to pocket their hard earned cash because June 15 was tax freedom day for Canada. But broken down by province, BC’s tax freedom day fell on June 7, beaten by only Manitoba and PEI, June 4th and 5th respectively.

    Oh the rabbit holes you send me down. But google is amazing. I found this information in minutes.

    (Response: The problem with any comparative tax analysis is that it deals in averages and absolute dollars … without taking into account in any way adjustments for cost-of-living comparisons. It means nothing to a family in Vancouver to know they pay less taxes than, say, Albertans or Nova Scotians or even Ontarians, if housing, gas, groceries, transit cost so much more … maybe even double! It’s in these latter cases where British Columbians are being hammered … and the cold-hearted NDP Horgan government, which USED to have the backs of working people now, is squeezing every penny they can from working people’s wallets … and, unlike other jurisdictions, refusing to give anyone a meaningful break in very difficult times. h.o)

  13. Not Sure says:

    Google is amazing Harvey. You should try it. But for now I will go down the rabbit hole for you so you don’t have to use the word IF as in “it means nothing to a family in Vancouver to know they pay less taxes … IF housing, gas, groceries, transit cost so much more..maybe even double?”


    Now I just scrolled through this, hitting points of interest and I am not saying this is gospel.

    Ontario and BC are the most expensive provinces to live. But except for Alberta are the highest paid.

    If you scroll, you can find a list of 29 cities where he has combined the cost of living with the average income to figure purchasing power. Calgary tops the list with North Van 2nd Surrey 5th Prince George 7th Vancouver 14th in a virtual tie with Montreal etc.

    Two points. With Vancouver and Montreal he notes that Vancouver’s higher income compared to Montreal’s is offset by Vancouver’s higher cost of living. That is what makes this interesting. Vancouver looks better by average income but not so good with cost of living so they end up tied.

    Next point he makes. He asks does this mean that Calgary is the best place to live because with an average income they can purchase more than people living in one of the other 28 cities. Too subjective he says because there are far more factors to consider. Despite being able to purchase more with an average income, would people rather live in Vancouver with all its amenities or Prince George.

    Just to be clear, I think this list excludes the cost of a house but it does include rent. If you want a house best to move to PG but if you want the amenities of Vancouver, you are most likely renting.

    What does anything of this mean. Well one thing for certain is with a higher cost of living, people who are making below average wages are suffering way more than people who are making average or above. And that’s why I still believe that a gas break that more than likely benefits the better off (as well as the possibility of adding to inflation) is not necessarily the way to go. Not saying I am opposed to it. Just saying that there may be better ways to help the most vulnerable.

    This is kinda fun.

    (Response: Apparently although you claim to be quite familiar Google, unless the rest of us, you have not yet discovered (or admitted) what most of us found within a day of starting to use it decades ago: anyone can find “articles” or “studies” or even “doctors” to support whatever stance/opinion/belief they hold on a whole variety of issues … from politics to economics to even vaccines …like the now-rejected and discarded Astra Zeneca. Personally, I rely on more than Google or government press releases to form my opinions … including talking to and hearing from REAL people (singles, couples, seniors) and reading/watching/listening to a wide variety of articles, stories, interviews, statistics and, most importantly, personal observations. And what has become VERY CLEAR is that BC’s NDP government has been for quite some time has done almost NOTHING to give a break to the working classes of this province …but has MILLIONS …even BILLIONS … to hand out for its favoured few. Google all their announcements over the past two years … you’ll see! h.o)

  14. Art Smith says:

    Hi Harvey, although a price break at the pumps would be nice for most of us, for the truckers who bring us everything we have, it is a matter of survival. It is becoming increasingly evident for whatever reason, the governments, both provincial and federal, are choking the supply chain. It is also reported that now they want only trucks less than 12 years old service the ports. Good luck with that. I am sure there are not too many truckers who can just go out and spend $200,000 or more on a new truck. What the heck is going on? Damned if I know, but it ain’t going to be good.

    (Response: Governments are supposed to represent us, but I get the impression these days that at all levels (federal, provincial and municipal) the politicians and top bureaucrats are so isolated and insulated against the real world, enjoy some very good salaries and perks, terrific health benefits and much more generous time off and pensions than most of us, they have lost touch with ordinary people. So they just keep raising taxes, making onerous, costly paperwork demands on businesses, almost persecute any individual or small firm that want to develop a property and, yes, even demand that truckers replace very, very expensive vehicles more than 12 years old, even if they have been well maintained and can pass every safety test! Talk about life as seen from the ivory tower!! h.o)

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      This will be the “Year of the Strike”

      There are a lot of very angry people out there.
      Politicians, Landlords, employers…..ignore them at your peril.

  15. Stu de Baker says:

    It will be interesting to see what the BC Government does with upcoming, allowable rent increases. They were frozen during the pandemic and a minimal 1.5% increase on January 1, this year.

    Rent increases have historically been tied to the Consumer Price Index which will be announced this month and some are expecting it to be +/- 6%. Quite a hit for renters, especially seniors.

    Not to be hindered though, landlords have pulled a new tool from the drawer. They are quietly downloading utilities onto tenants with new leases. Garbage, sewer, water, taxes and any other levies heretofore not part of rental costs.

    Of course it is what commercial rents have been for a long time; triple net. Basic rent plus all taxes and levies.

    This new add on has gone unnoticed by the Tenancy Branch and of course the media.

    (Response: More than four years ago now, I wrote a Blog calling on the provincial government to institute a temporary rent freeze back then (except in very special circumstances) to give renters a break. http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/housing-crisis-time-for-rent-freeze-to-help-the-forgotten-tenants/
    The vast majority of existing rental stock in BC urban areas have long ago been paid off, unless sold and resold, so I believe limits on rent increases (apart from any demonstrable increase in taxes and operating costs) could still be justifiable. That would help not only struggling working people, but seniors students and even couples/families trying to save enough to put a down payment together so they can but a place. h.o)

  16. Not Sure says:

    Ok Harvey, I can’t let this go: “you have not yet discovered (or admitted) what most of us found within a day of starting to use it decades ago: anyone can find “articles” or “studies” or even “doctors” to support whatever stance/opinion/belief they hold on a whole variety of issues …”

    Of course you have to be careful with and question what you read on the internet, even bloggers. When I search for information I am ultra careful with what sources I use. Did you disagree with any of the information I presented or did you just dismiss it?

    Now here is another google search I did. I wanted to know what other provinces have done about gas taxes and not knowing Wilkinson’s name clicked on this one first.

    The National Observer is an online news source. I believe the Vancouver Observer is part of that chain. I also believe that is has a left wing bias but no matter I am going to be quoting Wilkinson the Minister of Natural Resources as well as a Calgary economist.

    You want action particularly on gas taxes.

    Here is Wilkinson on why the federal government is not cutting fuel taxes at least right now. “Aid for Canadian families in the meantime is focused on areas Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland highlighted in a speech last week.

    Those include required annual increases to federal benefit cheques such as the GST rebate and Canada Child Benefit, cuts to child care costs under the new federal-provincial child care agreements and increases coming this summer to both the Old Age Security pension and Canada Workers Benefit that were announced in the 2021 budget.”

    Now you can disagree with that but it isn’t as if the federal government is doing nothing.

    Further into the story, an economist is asked about the gas tax cut in Alberta and whether the money is getting to the consumers or just going back to oil producers. He says it is going back to the consumers but he adds

    “However Tombe said cutting gas taxes is expensive and there are other ways to help ease the financial hit to Canadians that may be more efficient. That could include, he said, temporary boosts to income support programs.

    “There’s far cheaper ways to provide support to families who need it, rather than eliminate the tax, which would benefit all drivers, even those who are higher income and may not actually necessarily themselves face affordability challenges,” he said.

    That is the point I have been trying to make and one way to do that according to the article is to double the GST rebate and the child tax benefit. And Tombe argues while those benefits are linked to inflation, the changes should occur quarterly because using last year’s 2.4% inflation rate is not enough when it is more like 6 or 8% now.

    And to your point about BC, I can’t find anything that talks about addressing affordability. Maybe they are but I can’t find it. But if they ever get around to it I hope it is not just the politically appealing gas tax holiday and more to do with addressing the individuals and families who actually need it.

    Hope that helps.

    As to Stu’s comment on rent control. A couple of week’s ago I read an article about what governments can do to reduce inflation. If I am recalling the numbers correctly, the writer said that governments can only have a direct effect on about 15% of the Consumer Price Index and rent control was the biggest piece of that 15%.

    (Response: I would agree with you that the Liberal federal government has introduced some changes aimed at helping some Canadians during the current difficult times. But I would suggest not nearly enough for a country whose people are facing such high inflation, rising interest rates (not done yet!) and an economy clearly heading towards an economic recession. My biggest disappointments, however, lie with the NDP BC provincial government, that has done almost NOTHING for struggling British Columbians, especially working lower income and middle class families, commuting motorists, transit users, seniors etc. And mark my words, that piddly $110 ICBC “rebate” crumb that David Eby tossed to struggling British Columbians in May/June …. despite ICBC reporting profits in the BILLIONS … will come back to haunt him if he succeeds in replacing Horgan as NDP Leader! h.o)

  17. Not Sure says:

    I am finding this topic fascinating.

    How much should governments do at this time? The reason I ask this is because I, like most here, was an adult in the 70s and 80s when inflation was in the teens as were interests rates. I remember renewing my mortgage at 17% up from the previous 12% and no government was sending me any checks.

    On the other hand, I recall getting a salary increase one year ((1981?) at 19%! One year, not over 3,4, or 5, one year! 19%!!! Part of that was a catch up from the wage and price control rules when we were stuck at 8% increases while inflation was much higher. I was just starting my career back then and we had negotiated a one year 12% increase in 1976 that got rolled back to 8.

    But as non confidence mentioned this could be the year of the strike. So what should be a fair agreement with, for example, the BCGEU? Do they deserve a COLA clause of some kind to ensure that inflation doesn’t rip into their afffordability. Can the government do that without raising taxes? Can private industries do that without raising prices. (fueling more inflation)

    You are right Harvey, $110 is not much especially when it is going to just the people who are well enough off to own a car and insure it. But neither is the $250 to people earning less than 35000 and $100 to those earning between 35000 and 50000 that Nova Scotia is paying out. I have been reading a lot on this and I can’t remember which premier but his response to what are you going to do was basically we will be trying to help the most vulnerable while ensuring that the government’s finances and other important services (health, education, infrastructure) don’t get messed up.

    I think the BC government can be doing that as well.

    (Response: I believe the provincial government is under-estimating the growing dissatisfaction in BC’s working population … who feel the NDP has not only abandoned them, but is squeezing them more and more, totally oblivious to the economic realities they face. Especially when they see millions and billions being available for a propagandized history museum, FIFA partying and all kinds of payouts, fawning and pandering to First Nations. The current polls are still good for the NDP, but I see ripe opportunities for the Liberals … IF they can get their act together and come up with appealing policies and candidates and even some very frank talk about stopping the give-aways/pandering to the gimme, gimme, gimme crowd. h.o)

  18. e.a.f. foster says:

    I’d suggest people had unrealistic expectations of the NDP government. There wasn’t going to be a “gravy train”. The realities of running a government is much different than being in opposition, There are a lot of people out there who want reductions on taxes, subsidies for housing, they want this, they want that, but who is going to pay for it.

    I had to laugh when the news reported on the Premiers wanting more money from the federal government for health care. Its a good idea and people are demanding it. What people don’t understand, is when the federal government sends more money to provinces, that money has to come from some where and that is your taxes. So whether the provinces pay or the federal government pays, we as tax payers will be paying. People complained because there were monthly fees for health care.. The NDP removed it, but where do people think the money will now have to come from. I don’t have a problem with those under or near the poverty line not having to pay, but he rest of us, we can afford to pay. A lot of people spend that amount each money or more on fast food and coffee at Timmies, etc. They spend more on electronics, cablevisions, etc. So why the big problem paying a $100 a month for families on health care fees if they can afford it?
    Where I live, seeing all the R.V.s, off road motorcycles, quads, etc. it would be hard to believe these people could not afford to contribute to health care. it would be as simply as factoring it in on your income tax

    i always laugh while people are complaining about high taxes and the lack of government support as the come out of the “weed” store, liquor store, have take out delivered regularly and buy a new t.v or cell phone every year. And lots not forget those regular trips to Maui and Mexico. People at some income levels need to get a grip. those living near or under the poverty line need help and if that costs more in taxes I’m o.k. with that because inthe end it affects children horribly.

    (Response: People expect a LOT from ALL governments, because ALL parties and most politicians promise a LOT. Probably more than even they believe they can actually deliver. You are quite correct, though, when you point out many people spend as much on Timmies each month as they used to pay for health care but complained about it. The problem with that, though, is that we don’t ALSO turn over to Timmies thousands of dollars (or more) each year in taxes, which could cover health care and more if the government didn’t waste so much on pet projects like a BILLION DOLLAR propaganda museum or $300 MILLION to host four or five FIFA games. h.o)

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