The name of the Canadian Golf and Country Club in Ashton, Ont., near the nation’s capital, conjures up images of red maple leaves, Mounties and all things Canadian, including a feisty spirit against what it sees as brutal tax grab when Ontario introduces the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) next year.
You just have to admire a scrapper that keeps swinging until the final bell against a heavily-favoured opponent, so the Canadian club is taking the fight to Premier Dalton McGuinty and his government over the HST.
Check out the club website at www.canadiangolfclub.com/hstpetition.aro and you’ll find five letters that visitors can quickly send off to the Ontario government in protest of the HST. The site also encourages visitors to send their own letters if they don’t like the ones provided.
General manager Mark Seabrook, who we will chat with in tomorrow’s blog, says he originally got the idea from Innerkip Highlands, near Kitchener, Ont. That petition can be found at www.innerkiphighlands.com/hst/.
The HST blends the GST with the PST and now covers a wider range of products and services that previously did not charge the provincial tax. Its implementation has several businesses, including golf, up in arms.
The HST has become a national concern with it already implemented in eastern provinces and protests already taking place in British Columbia, where it is supposed to come into effect next year, along with Ontario. Rumour has it that Manitoba is next on the agenda to be hit with the tax.
The main problem that the golf industry seems to have with the blended tax is its timing. Affordability is always an issue among consumers, but the tax hits just as Canadians are coming out of a recession and they will now have to add the provincial tax to a wider variety of purchases, including golf.
The other effect on golf that should be considered is how the HST will affect tourism, particularly from the United States where the recession has hit much harder and for a longer period of time than Canada, so will the blended tax slow down the traffic across the border from down south?
The protests in response to the HST have been sporadic so far, but there seems to be a growing resistance as time goes on.
The question to ask yourself, as somebody who runs a golf business or works at one, is what will the reaction be when golfers find out that they’re suddenly paying an extra seven or eight per cent, depending on where you work?
- That brings us to the GNN Poll question for this week: What is/will be the effect of the HST on the golf industry? Drop by the poll on the home page to register your choice and we welcome your extended thoughts, particularly from those already charging HST, either below or in the GNN Forum.
THE SOCIAL SHOWS
Over half of respondents to our last GNN Poll said their first priority when they attend the Canadian buying shows is social/networking. While 54 per cent said their priority is social, 31 per cent said buying was their first mission while 15 per cent were at the shows to view new products as the main goal.
That poll will now go into the GNN Poll archives, but will remain live should you wish to add your opinion.