Started by Pernicious, Mar 31, 2004, 08:45 AM
Ont. NDP: Tampon tax unfairBy COLIN PERKEL-- Canadian PressTORONTO (CP) -- Charging GST on feminine hygiene products is a discriminatory gender tax that ought to be abolished, Ontario's New Democrats said Friday. To coincide with International Women's Day, the party launched what it hopes will become a national campaign to "stamp on the tax" it said costs each Canadian woman about $350 over her lifetime. "It is an unfair tax and it is discriminatory," said Marilyn Churley, women's critic for Ontario's NDP. "It taxes a bodily function that is central to womanhood and family life." Being a woman doesn't come cheap. Collectively, about 10 million Canadian women fork out as much as $840 million a year on feminine protection products. Churley estimated that the average woman will have spent a total of $5,000 on the products by the time she hits menopause. For Ottawa, the seven per cent federal sales tax brings in almost $60 million a year. Churley is calling on Canadians to sign on-line petitions, send letters and faxes to Ottawa calling for an end to the tax. "The GST should never have applied to these products," said Churley. "I want to end the gender tax on women, period." But Gwen Landolt, national vice-president for the group REAL Women of Canada, attacked the proposal as "absurd" and "typical of the radical feminists who want special treatment." "What about men's shaving equipment or ... diapers?" she asked. "Why should there be a special exemption and it's not for babies?" Tampons, sanitary pads and similar products became subject to the GST under the federal Conservatives in the late 1980s. In 1991, however, some products -- yogurt, pudding and lottery tickets among them -- were exempted from the GST. The feminine items were not among them. Except for a short-lived time in the 1980s, Ontario does not charge provincial sales tax on the products. It was in 1982 that then-Tory premier Frank Miller slapped the tax on the products, saying they aren't essential. That sparked an uproar that at times paralysed the legislature, with the opposition storming out, among them a young Liberal member, Sheila Copps. "By what possible stretch of his mean, male-minded imagination could he impose a tax on tampons and sanitary napkins -- which is a direct tax to the women of this province?" Copps, now the federal heritage minister, said in May 1982. Ultimately, the provincial government backed down and the tax disappeared. Churley said it would be wrong to consider this simply a women's issue. "That's money that goes out of the family income as well," she said. But Landolt argued that women like Churley "want the government to be their sugar daddy and to give them special privileges and advantages and protect them and look after them like helpless little girls."
it said costs each Canadian woman about $350 over her lifetime
It was in 1982 that then-Tory premier Frank Miller slapped the tax on the products, saying they aren't essential