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And some special Torontonians, too

October 17, 2009 . Page 4

Death, taxes, ghosts and pianos
And some special Torontonians, too

 
By Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun
 
"The HST would not apply to funeral services where the contract is entered into before July 1,
2010." -- Government of Ontario news release. Thanks for the tip, Dalton! Eight months, 14
days and counting! That's how much time you have to get your funeral paid for to avoid
Premier Dalton "Mr. Sensitive" McGuinty's new harmonized sales tax scheme. So caring and
generous of him to let us know.
 
Yes, on July 1, the province is set to implement the new HST which combines the 5% GST
with the 8% PST -- a huge windfall for a fiscally irresponsible government which will then be
able to get their filthy fingers on untaxed areas.
 
"Now is the wrong time to add 8%," says an outraged Kevin Gaudet, of the Canadian
Taxpayers Federation, who provided a list of what will be affected. On there is: Gasoline,
diesel, propane, home heating fuel, home electricity, natural gas, home TV service, home
Internet service, home phone service, cellphone charges, haircuts, ballet lessons, rink rental
fees, tailoring, magazine subscriptions, mutual fund fees, massage, chiropractic, audiology,
train fares, plane fares, taxi fares, bus fares, vitamins, dry cleaning, grass cutting, snow
removal, camping fees, firewood, meals under $4, new homes over $500,000, gym fees,
home renovation labour, and real Christmas trees.
 
And don't forget funerals! It's a deplorable and unnecessary cash grab at the expense of your
family. But I am sure they will spend it well. Perhaps get the eHealth consultants on board to
make sure it's fair. Of course such an historic change in tax collection should require an
election. If you agree, let your MPP (of any party) know you will not vote for them next time if they pass this.
 
It's not easy watching such an incompetent lightweight as McGuinty, and his gutless "yes"
people, treat Ontarians like numbers. There are said to be more sin taxes and levies coming
with talk of social responsibility -- all coming from people who collect billions from cigarette
sales, liquor, beer, lottery tickets, sports betting and gambling halls. For the HST you only
have 257 days to urge your MPP to stop them -- and of course save 8% on your funeral.
 
* * *
 
I was disappointed to hear this week that talented and popular Janette Luu is
leaving Sun TV's Canoe Live show, of which I am a weekly panelist with editorial
page editor Rob Granatstein. Word is she is moving on to new opportunities in TV
and perhaps theatre and screen.
 
It's a huge loss and I have to say I have never met a nicer, kinder, steadier, calmer 
and more professional person than Janette, who is a University of Michigan alumna
with a bachelor of science in biology and Latin. She came here from the ABC affiliate in Indiana with her husband four years ago and fit into Toronto immediately.
 
She loves it here. She's all class and while tremendous on TV is even a better
person. As far as I know Rob and me are still on our Friday segment but agree we
will miss seeing Janette's smiling face and bubbly personality -- as will the viewers.
 
Tough loss but I am told that's showbiz so we wish her the best meteoric rise
because you won't find a better person than Janette Luu. I'll update you where she
ends up landing!
 
* * *
 
No pressure on the Leafs tonight, eh? I don't know about you but I wasn't buying that smiling
dodge ball/having fun routine GM Brian Burke and Coach Ron Wilson were pushing. And nor
should the players. It reminded me of the Sopranos.
 
All I know is they had better start winning some games or there will be some one-way bus
tickets purchased. Burke, a guy who has a Stanley Cup ring but most of the time seems to
wear his AHL Calder Cup ring, is not going to sit around and watch this season go to dust
easily -- especially without a draft pick at the end of the rainbow.
 
At the heart of it, he is a hard hat, and dodge ball or not the Leafs understand you wouldn't
want to get on his bad side. So the players can relax and have fun if they want but my advice
to them is to win tonight. Like I said, no pressure.
 
* * *
 
Condolences to those close to cabbie Mori Laufer, who died Oct. 5. Having driven taxi for 30
years he is already is missed on the street. The son of Holocaust survivors, Mori was a
mainstay outside the King Edward Hotel.
 
"Mori was a good man with a good heart," said doorman Sean Loughran. He was.
 
Congrats to Original Ghostbuster Peter Aykroyd on his terrific new book, "A History of Ghosts." Fun watching the gregarious and wise 87-year-old author steal the spotlight from his legendary son, Dan, this week. I could tell Dan was getting a kick out of that, too.
 
Sometimes you need a piano bar to cheer you up and there is a great one at Casa Mendoza on Lake Shore W. with Tomanel Raposo on the keys every weekend. Great singer, too, and if he has time will tell some cool stories about playing piano on the cruise ships.
 
Whatever you do this weekend, time is precious so enjoy. Scrawler out!