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Letter: Not everyone’s paycheque keeps pace with inflation

Beer
Forty-seven per cent of the price of beer is tax.

I write in response to the Letter: “No real reason to cry in your beer,” by Prof. Rod Hill, Jan. 30.

Prof. Hill argues that an annual inflation adjustment to the excise tax on beer is not really an increase.

To make his argument he leans on the assumption that everyone’s paycheque increases by inflation. While this may be true for university professors with an indexed pension plan, it certainly is not true for your average middle-class Canadian.

While Prof. Hill downplays the fact that the federal government is going to automatically increase the tax on beer every year, he fails to mention that 47 per cent of the price of beer is already tax (in New Brunswick it’s 55 per cent). He also leaves out the fact that the annual federal increase will drive up the ANBL’s (New Brunswick Liquor Corporation’s) markup and the HST.

Nobody thinks “tax on tax” is a good thing, but there is a lot of it on beer and the federal government has now baked annual tax on tax increases into legislation.

To make his argument he leans on the assumption that everyone’s paycheque increases by inflation. While this may be true for university professors with an indexed pension plan, it certainly is not true for your average middle-class Canadian.

Beer Canada has indeed pitched itself against the federal government’s annual excise tax escalator because Canadians already pay enough beer tax.

Prof. Hill should oppose excise outright. It is a regressive tax, after all. He should also oppose the automatic annual escalator mechanism outright because it is simply an undemocratic way of taking more and more money out of the pockets of hardworking Canadians without having to talk about it.

Close to 50,000 Canadians have signed our petition at www.axethebeertax.ca. I hope the good professor will sign it, too.

Luke Harford, president
Beer Canada
Ottawa

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