Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Alberta Sales Tax BLASPHEMY

In my "Ask Me Anything" post, Francie of A North End Journal inquired: "Why are Albertans so dead set against a sales tax? (Seriously, unless you want to explain your fascination with Colin Firth). Actually either question will do." Well, since it's impossible for anyone to explain my unnatural hankering for Colin Firth, it'll have to be the sales tax issue, I'm afraid.


First, a bit of background for American and other non-Canadian readers. Alberta is the ONLY province in Canada which does NOT levy a provincial sales tax (PST). Everywhere else, the PST ranges from 5-10% of purchase price. Like all Canadians, Albertans do have to pay the federal goods and services tax (GST) which is currently set at 5%. We don't like it, but we pay it.

When oil prices plummet and Alberta's boom 'n bust economy falls on hard times (like at the moment), the idea is sometimes tentatively floated of imposing a PST in this province to increase government revenue. And EVERY TIME, Albertans react (or some might say, over-react) by turning into an angry, howling mob brandishing pitchforks and torches, calling for the head(s) of whoever would DARE TO SUGGEST ANY SUCH THING. Here's why:

Alberta is, of course, a deeply conservative province often called "the Texas of the North" where the ideology of individualism, free enterprise and low taxes reigns supreme. Albertans are IMMENSELY PROUD of being the only province without the PST. It confirms in our own minds precisely why we are SUPERIOR to all the rest of you WEAK, WHINY, PINKO BASTARDS in this country. In other words, being PST-free is a fundamental cornerstone of Alberta's grandiose self-image. Albertans would rather STARVE than impose a provincial sales tax. It would quite literally be political suicide for any government to bring in a PST in Alberta.


So why would any Alberta government even raise the idea of PST? Precisely in order to whip up Albertans into this predictable froth 'n frenzy. Then Albertans will more easily accept whatever OTHER tax hike gets imposed instead of the PST because, BY GAWD, WE TRIUMPHED ONCE MORE against any attempt to levy an evil sales tax.

And there you have it.

[Political cartoon by Malcolm Mayes, Edmonton Journal, 2015]

25 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

Colin Firth? Really??

strangelynaked.com said...

If I were an Albertan, I'd consider "Texas of the North" an insult. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with Texas and its citizens. I used to live there, and I'm okay...I think. But some of the governance practices are abhorrent and all of the secession talk is obnoxious rhetoric that gets us nowhere.
I think I diverted from the thesis of this post. It was interesting to hear how much pride drives rational discourse in Alberta. But I can also see how and why one would want to cling to that individualizing characteristic.
Thank you for the civics lesson (is that the right word, "civics"? I don't know, it's early and I'm too lazy to look it up, but not too lazy to needlessly pontificate in my comment!).

Jacquelineand.... said...

So, in other words, "oh look, shiny!" works as well in the North as it does in the south.

DEZMOND said...

boo and hiss on taxes

Jeanne said...

At least y'all stand up to the politicians.....

heartinhand said...

We ARE the frigging Texas of the North! Without the heat, that is. Anyway, I'd rather pay a provincial sales tax than what Prentice has suggested now. I'm literally looking at property is Saskatchewan now. Ugh.
Incidentally, I went to high school with Jim's youngest sister. She was a year older than me and smart as a whip.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

So no matter what, eventually they get you somehow. But the illusion that you've won lives on!

JACKIESUE said...

as a yellowdog Democrat from West, By Goddess, Texas..you might consider that being called the Texas of Canada..was not meant to be a compliment...the ruling Texas Republicans are dumber than a box of rocks and an embarrassment to us Dems..although we don't have a state tax either..ha

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

This goof has a way of saying the most stupid things right before an election. First he blames us for the economics that came from the gov't policies and then he wants to give a tax that hurts the poor more than anyone else because it's taken at point of purchase. But without any opposition no one will vote anything but conservative.

Leeanna said...

Oh Mr. Darcy! Ay Chihuahua! Yes, I fully understand your unnatural hankering for Colin Firth. Back then, of coarse, when he was Mr. Darcy.

Seriously? Texas of The North? BWAAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAAAA!

Anne Johnson said...

I live near the teeny, tiny little American state named Delaware. Delaware has no PST, and people from all over go there to shop, because it "saves money." Only trouble is, little Delaware charges a king's ransom to use its 10 FREAKING MILES of INTERSTATE 95. They balance their whole budget on highway tolls. Easy to do when it's the only road between Manhattan and Washington, DC.

Dawna said...

Aren't taxes supposed to help others.. public services and all that?

Guillaume said...

I'd rather not be called the texas of the North, although I come from a region sometimes called the Bible Belt of the North, which is even worse... And, sadly, accurate.

Birdie said...

My travels throughout Canada did leave me a little perplexed. I never really "got" Alberta. It was beautiful beyond belief and (almost) all the people were very nice but the whole things with big trucks and not recycling was too much.

Tricky Nag said...

Haha, very true! Though I've always thought the reason was because a PST is just not regressive enough.

Miss Val's Creations said...

Haha! The state next to me has no sales tax so we just drive up there for large ticket items! My state (Massachusetts) is affectionately called Taxachusetts by its residents.

Dexter Klemperer said...

Same reason Texas will never have a state income tax. Incidentally, I moved from Taxachusetts to Texas and took a significant pay cut, yet my take home net pay was higher.

turquoisemoon said...

T hell with sales tax...I wanna hear about Colin Firth!!! hahaha

e said...

In Oregon, we have every tax except a sales tax. And, yes, it's political suicide to suggest one.

Adam said...

They talked about raising the gas tax in SC by like 3 cents a gallon to fix crumbling roads.

Conservatives/Republicans flipped out.

Francie M said...

Well oops, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned Colin Firth, now you got some 'splainin' to do. Debra. hah heh. Okay and about the sales tax. i was just wondering if we were going to have to send sandwiches and bottled water out to you 'too proud' Albertans, that's all. Didn't know how many loaves of bread to pick up this week. But I want you to know when the big relief effort leaves Ontario for Alberta there will be one big old tuna sandwich marked 'Debra'! :)

Missy George said...

I can see the logic..:)
I'm with you about Colin Firth..

Jim said...

The way things are going with 'oil prices' it will be inevitable that Albertans will join the rest of us here in Canada.
Times they are a'changin.

The Happy Whisk said...

I never knew that, interesting. Do you have good BBQ, like I'm told they have in Texas? I've never been, but I hear the meat is killer good.

dbs said...

Bingo.