Plaidneck

Tag: Canada (page 1 of 4)

Consumption Taxes – It’s time to show us the full cost up front.

It appears that consumption taxes are a preferred way of raising money and encouraging behaviour change.

One very aggravating problem with the way this type of tax is administered is that things cost much more than advertized. Consumers (even those of us with mathematical minds) are surprised how much we have to pay.

During the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (which replaced the hidden Manufacturer’s Sales Tax in 1991) citizen groups wanted us all to know now much tax we were paying. This was a very good demand. We should know how much of what we pay is tax; something that eluded us with a hidden tax. We got a visible added on tax. To the GST was added any provincial retail sales taxes that may have been in existence. The retail sales taxes whether harmonized/combined with the GST plus environmental surcharges on certain products and now the possibility of a carbon tax/fee will all added to an advertized price. The results have become substantial and incredibly irritating.

Since the introduction of the retail sales tax (1961 in Ontario) and the GST the abilities of equipment creating a receipt/invoice has increased exponentially. With this ability, couldn’t things be set up so that the advertized price is the total price paid. The cash register could then show the various components making up the total.

Instead of

TV advertised at               $399.99
Plus
Environmental Fee            39.50
HST                                             57.13

So we pay                               $496.62

We would see

TV advertised at               $494.99   (and pay that amount with the invoice showing)
Taxes Included

Environmental Fee            39.50
HST                                             56.95

We have the technology. Full price advertizing with component recording is already in place.
When we purchase vehicle fuel our invoice/receipt shows total price and taxes.

The advertized price (say)    99.9 c/litre is what we pay,

Our invoice                        50 litres @ $0.999    $49.95

Taxes included in fuel

  • Federal 5.00
  • Provincial 7.35
  • Carbon 3.34
  • HST 5.75

This already existing style of receipt fully informs the consumer of the retail taxes included in an advertised total price.

Those who are required to have HST/GST/PST information for tax purposes will have the necessary information and the rest of us won’t have the aggravation of incurring unexpected costs.

Once again; think of how you’d feel pulling up to an outlet advertizing Gasoline at 56.9 c/litre; put 50 litres in the tank expecting to pay $28.45 but actually having to pay $49.87.
Throughout the retail sector, advertise the full price; show the retail taxes/fees on the printed receipt/invoice

The Plaidneck

What has happened to Canadian University Football?

Last week and this, I went on line to catch some of the Queen’ Gaels Football game.
A bit of background.

I am a Queen’s grad from the mid 60s. When I started, the total student population about 4,500. When I graduated, it was near 7,000.

When I started, frosh were encouraged to attend the first home game and we did. The
Student stands were full pretty well every game (my memory, I sat near the middle so maybe the ends weren’t full, but there was certainly a crowd). This carried on for my full 4 years.

I also got to a few away games and as visitor supporters, we were pushed to the low numbered yard lines. The stands between us and centre field were full. Students from other schools also attended the games.

Students in the 60s attended football games.
What happened between then and now?

Today there are about 18,000 full time students at Queens. The Frosh are almost as numerous as the total student population when I started.

Last weekend (the end of Frosh week) Queen’s hosted Ottawa U. The game was tied with about 2 ½ minutes to go. A game that should have held its crowd. When the camera panned out to show a kickoff, the number of student fans approximated the number of people in the bands – somewhere under a hundred.

This week (when the full student complement had arrived) Queen’s hosted a long time rival the University of Western Ontario. Although Western had a convincing win, Queen’s was in the game up until the end of the 3rd quarter. This time, when the camera panned back, the band outnumbered the student crowd.

Elsewhere it doesn’t seem much better. My sons attended Bishop’s U. They have a storied football team and last week they played at Concordia. That game was televised on Radio Canada. Again when the camera panned back, the student stands were maybe 1/4 full.

An exciting local game is being played to empty stadiums.

What has happened to Canadian University Football?

The Plaidneck

Do Speed Limits encourage law breaking?

How often do you drive the posted speed limit? If you’re like most drivers, not often.

Why do we speed?

This is probably a more complex question than my short summary will answer, but in the following is a lot of truth.

People drive their vehicles to just under their tolerance of risk. If a road is in great shape and the geometrics (curvature, sharpness of hills and sags, curve super-elevation, etc.) are good, we drive according to these conditions. We often complain about the slow driver (who is obeying the posted speed) clogging up the roadway.

In the political jurisdictions where I live, highways and a lot of roads are purposefully designed to a higher standard than the posted speed limit. The advisory speeds are also set lower than the geometric design.

I’d say typically. Freeway design speeds are 20 km/h above posted. Trucks are speed limited to 5 km/h above posted and probably the majority of cars drive close to 15 km/h above posted. Secondary routes are a bit trickier. Primary two lane highways most likely have the 20 km/h cushion. Regional roads will be designed with anywhere from speed limit plus 20 km/h to as low as speed limit plus 0 km/h.

There is a clause in the Ontario Design Manual that states “A design speed equal to the maximum posted speed is acceptable …. for minor collector and local roads.” A common Canadian design manual recommended posted speed plus 10 km/h. Assuming you can safely drive 20 km over the posted speed is not a given.

At what speed do the police ticket speeders? This probably varies depending on time of month, traffic, etc., but I heard from the horse’s mouth that often freeway speeds up to 19 km over the posted limit are not bothered.

It appears that the condition of our roads, the allowance permitted by our law enforcement, the fact that truck speed limiters are set higher than our posted speed plus our propensity to drive to the edge of risk all lead to most of us breaking the legally established speed limits. Speed limits as presently set do encourage law breaking.

There are some jurisdictions that have increased freeway speed to somewhere just below the road’s design speed. The actual average speed increases less than 2.5%. This is as a result of those who actually obeyed the lower speed limit now moving at the new “reasonable” speed limit. Also, the accident rate has not increased.

With the speed limit was set properly, there would be no assumption that a driver can speed safely.

In order not to promote law breaking, speed limits should reflect the road’s geometrics. If the speed limit is reasonably set, the police then should enforce it. No exceptions. With cruise control, we can keep a steady speed. With the low cost of GPS units, we can know our speed accurately (I have a vehicle where I think the manufacturers set my speedometer wrong on purpose).

There is no need for anything but say 3 km/h leeway. The police should be out there, visible (ie no hiding – entrapment) and tagging anyone speeding.

Speed limits should encourage compliance not promote law breaking.

The Plaidneck

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