Ontario’s government is intentionally hiding information about the impact the 13 per cent harmonized sales tax will have on gasoline when it comes into effect July 1, the New Democrats charged yesterday.
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan knew the facts when he told the legislature that he didn’t know the extra cost the average Ontario motorist will face because of the HST, which will add eight per cent in tax to the retail price of gas, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
“The minister is deliberately withholding the basic facts about the HST,” Horwath told the legislature. “People have the right to know how much the HST is going to cost them, and he has that information.”
The NDP gave reporters copies of a freedom of information request it made last June to find out what studies the government had showing the projected impact of the HST on energy costs, documents the government wasn’t willing to give up.
Releasing charts, graphs and summaries on the HST “could give rise to a negative effect on consumer confidence and lead to a decrease in consumer spending, thereby adversely affecting the economy,” was the response, repeated seven times, in a letter denying the NDP the documents.
The government’s tax package, which also includes cuts to corporate and personal income taxes, will help create 600,000 jobs over the next decade, said Duncan, who blasted the NDP for taking the freedom of information documents out of context.