Letter: B.C. gov’t hides taxes in higher cost of sales

The B.C. Environment Ministry is poised (May 19, 2014) to take retail prices a step higher with legislation to improve recycling.

To the editor:

In reference to Our View: Really, No Tax Increases? March 11 Capital News, editorial misses an upcoming legislation change that is expected to once again significantly increase our cost of living. The following letter has been sent to the Environment Minister, MP Dan Albas and copied to Premier Clark.


Dear Environment Minister Mary Polak and MP Dan Albas:

Many consumers want our B.C. retailers to be more price competitive with our southern neighbours and online shopping.

However, the B.C. Environment Ministry is poised (May 19, 2014) to take retail prices a step higher with legislation to improve recycling.

News articles indicate this legislation is expected to cost business over $100 million, excluding compliance costs, to run a new recycling program that doesn’t deliver any demonstrated benefit over our existing recycling programs.

Consumers will continue to pay taxes to their municipal government for recycling while paying higher prices for goods and services as business passes on these costs.

What our provincial government clearly gains in their legislation is a higher sales tax stream being generated as a result of higher retail prices. This legislation provides financial gain to government to increase the size of their piggy bank while they take on no added risk or responsibilities.

Consumers only see an increase in their cost of living without any demonstrated benefit.

Consumption taxes don’t prod governments to keep prices low.

The federal government has gone on record stating it will investigate pricing disparities. The Senate generated a report that was focused on tariffs without mention of how programs at other levels of government impact retail pricing. While the federal government might suggest this falls into provincial initiatives they are clearly benefiting in the GST revenue stream as well.

Changes, which raise local pricing, only serve to further promote buying in the south and online shopping. Will online shopping feel any impact? Our local businesses and economy will!

Should the price of goods rise through hidden costs as a result of this legislation, then how can B.C. companies be price-competitive should they be marketing outside of this province?

Recycling change shouldn’t come with the government being the only clear winner.

A reply to the following questions would be appreciated.

Conservative MP Dan Albas:

• In the federal government’s stated quest to address price inequalities would they oppose provinces that are attempting to hide costs in the retail price moving it needlessly higher?

Environment Minister Mary Polak:

• How does this legislation help the consumer?

• How does this legislation help business compete outside B.C.? Do they market a B.C. price and an ‘anywhere else’ price?

• How does this legislation strengthen the existing recycling programs?

• How will the legislation cause/force suppliers to reduce packaging?  Are we paying more for nothing in exchange.

• How does this legislation support the government’s own goal of a ‘strong economy’?

• How does this legislation prevent increased purchasing in the U.S. or from online sources?

• What is the impact to the consumer’s cost of living?

• What is the environment benefit/improvement over the existing programs?

• Will these changes just mean that we have to drive around a lot more to ‘drop-off’ recyclables?

• Are community newspapers more at risk of financial failure?

• And the most important question: Why has the B.C. government legislated change to ensure it is the only clear winner?

T. Kinsman,

West Kelowna


Kelowna Capital News

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