The idea of what constitutes a tax has expanded somewhat over the last few weeks to include measures that create government revenue and measures that raise costs. On that note, here is the statement the NDP’s Pat Martin presented yesterday before Question Period.
Mr. Speaker, a recent report shows the Conservatives collected over $8 billion in government user fees last year alone. In fact, since 2000, user fees have more than doubled, while corporate taxes have been cut in half, shifting the tax burden once again onto the back of the beleaguered Canadian taxpayer. They are not finished yet. Even though Canadians are still struggling from a devastating recession, the Conservatives are hitting them right in the pocketbook with a vast array of new taxes on everything under the sun. Passport fees have gone up, fees for nautical charts and maps, fees imposed on new Canadians, even fees for international youth exchanges. Add it all together and it amounts to a great big fat Conservative tax grab. Canadian taxpayers are sick of bankrolling the Conservatives’ obsequious tithing to their corporate puppet masters. Gouging Canadians for exorbitant service fees is no way to balance the budget.
The difference between a user fee and a tax is something John Baird asserted two years ago when he announced an increase in the air traveller security charge.