In the Feb. 15 issue of the Brandon Sun, you included an article by Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation entitled: “The NDP’s ‘Fat Tax’ Fiasco.”
He criticizes the lengthy review by the Healthy Living Department of a proposal to implement a tax on junk food aimed at discouraging the consumption of “fatty foods.” Eventually the provincial government decided against doing so. But how can this be referred to as a “fiasco?”
It is not unusual for government departments to study new proposals over a period of time and indeed also involve other sections of the government. Not proceeding with a new program after some years of review is not a “fiasco” or failure.
The idea of taxing certain consumer items to discourage their purchase is not new. The classic example is the tax on cigarettes, which was increased substantially over many years in Manitoba and aimed at reducing the consumption of an unhealthy substance proven to shorten life.
Mr. Craig takes the opportunity in his article to criticize the raising of the PST. While usually no one likes to pay more taxes, we should note that Manitoba is not out of line with most of the country. We are among those seven provinces that are at eight per cent or higher. In fact, Quebec is at 9.975 per cent, P.E.I. at nine per cent and Nova Scotia at 10 per cent.
Of the total Canadian population in 2013, more than 72 per cent of the country paid eight per cent or more.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation does not represent the interests or wishes of most ordinary Canadian taxpayers. It is basically a right-wing, pro-Conservative organization controlled by six board members.
Some analysts refer to it as an “AstroTurf” organization that masks the sponsors of a message while giving the appearance of it coming from a group of disinterested, grassroots participants.