July 20 2010 by Ellen Roseman
The Ontario government is giving in to public criticism and scrapping the latest phase of its eco fees program.
It’s rare — and rewarding — for journalists to see such quick action resulting from stories we publish.
Now it’s time to look at what went wrong. There were obvious mistakes, such as bad timing and poor communication. Why impose a new tax on July 1, simultaneous with the HST?
Communication was inadequate and disclosure almost non-existent. Stores didn’t know what fees to charge. As Canadian Tire said yesterday, the fees were not intuitive — so why didn’t the company suspend them right away?
The Ontario government shouldn’t have handed over power to an organization it didn’t control. And it should have recognized there’s only one taxpayer and not pretended it was shifting costs when it wasn’t.
It’s hard to be against cleaning up the environment. But let’s do it through income taxes, rather than regressive sales taxes applied to basic items that everyone buys every day, such as soaps and detergents.