Volume 95, Issue 85

Thursday, March 14, 2002
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USC budget approved

NDP: no more taxes for 'Aunt Flo'

UBC tuition may rise

Union boss talks labour at Western

Pizza and periodicals?

Canada humping less, dying more

Dalhousie profs and suits butt heads

News Briefs

NDP: no more taxes for 'Aunt Flo'

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

The national New Democratic Party wants the GST lifted from feminine hygiene products because they say the tax discriminates against women.

The demand, made last Friday to coincide with International Women's Day, is the beginning of what the NDP hopes will be a national campaign to free women's products from the federal goods and services tax.

Marilyn Churley, NDP's women's critic and MPP for the Toronto community of Broadview-Greenwood, said the levy should be lifted on tampons and pads since they are essential products bought only by females. She estimates a woman pays over $350 in GST on such products over the course of her lifetime.

"I see it as a gender tax on women – period," Churley said. "It taxes a bodily function that is central to womanhood and family life."

Currently, GST exemptions apply to very few products, including essential foods, prescription drugs, medical devices and some children's goods – and the federal government want to keep it that way.

"It goes back to our general principle that the tax should apply to as wide a group of goods and services as possible, allowing us to keep the GST as low as possible," said Ministry of Finance spokesman Jean-Michel Catta.

"We do not believe it is discriminatory," he said. "We believe our broad-based principle is a sound principle."

Catta added the government is more committed to providing tax relief to lower income people than removing the tax from feminine hygiene products.

The NDP has set up an online petition and is urging Canadians to send letters and faxes to Parliament Hill to support the cause.

"Even I've been surprised by the incredible support we've been getting since we announced this," Churley said. "It's awoken people."

Women's Issues Network co-ordinator Nicole Nelson said she found the proposal "funny," but added it will demonstrate a good point.

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