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TMCNet:  Success of Toronto's "One Cent of the GST NOW!" education campaign brings request for payment from the federal government

[October 05, 2007]

Success of Toronto's "One Cent of the GST NOW!" education campaign brings request for payment from the federal government

(Canada Newswire English Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Attention News Editors

TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - The "One Cent of the GST NOW!" campaign, launched in February of this year, has had significant success in educating the public about the needs of Canada's municipalities and has won broad support from across Canada for all municipalities to have funding that grows with the economy.

Presently, when Canada's economy grows, the revenues of the federal and provincial governments go up (through sales and income taxes), while the costs of supporting growth are shouldered by municipalities and municipal revenues remain the same.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (with over 1,600 member municipalities across Canada) endorsed the campaign - calling on the federal government to provide municipalities with the equivalent of one cent of the GST. Likewise, an important committee of the Canadian Senate has endorsed the need for municipalities to have a share of revenues, such as the GST. And most recently, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper encouraging him to share one cent of the GST with municipalities, citing the recently-announced federal government surplus of almost $14 billion.

The campaign has led to extensive media reporting and public discussion on the needs of Canada's municipalities with editorials and news reports appearing in Canada's major daily, community, ethnic and internet media. The website for the campaign, www.onecentnow.ca has had over 40,000 visitors and thousands of Toronto residents have worn the One Cent NOW! button.

"One Cent of the GST" would provide Toronto with approximately $400million per year, funding that would be dedicated to transportation, maintaining infrastructure and helping Toronto keep pace with the pressures for City services brought about by growth.

The Royal Canadian Mint, a corporation of the federal government, has now demanded that the City of Toronto pay $47,680 for the public education campaign. Included in this amount is a request for $10,000 for the use of the words "one cent" in the campaign website address (www.onecentnow.ca) and the campaign email address (onecentnow@toronto.ca), and an additional $10,000 for the use of the words "one cent" in the campaign phone number (416-ONECENT). The remaining $27,680 has been assessed against the City for the use of the image of the Canadian penny in printed materials such as pins and posters. (The Mint has come to this amount by taking the total number of materials printed divided by the approximate population of Toronto, and then using a percentage of that number to arrive at a dollar figure.)

The Mint's request for money from Toronto for a municipal public education campaign is inappropriate. The campaign is public education, advocating on behalf of all Canadian municipalities. Furthermore, the City did not purchase advertising for the campaign. The poster space used was all free - no media was purchased as normally would be the case in a traditional advertising campaign. One government should not be seeking payment from another government for the use of words and an iconic image in a not-for-profit public education campaign.

About the "One cent of the GST NOW!" campaign:

The goal of the campaign is to educate residents and business about the need for Canada's municipalities to have access to a source of revenue that grows when the economy grows. At present, when Canada's economy grows - the revenues of the federal and provincial governments increase through collection of various income and sales taxes - while revenues of Canada's municipalities that must respond to the increased demands for service that come from growth, remain flat. Of all the revenues raised by the three governments in Canada - only an average of 8 cents from every dollar remains with municipalities (6cents in Toronto), while the remaining 92 cents go to the federal and provincial governments. Municipalities, as the economic engines of Canada and the government that delivers the services most important to residents and business, must rely upon this limited revenue to deliver and maintain basic services such as emergency services, transit, parks, recreation, libraries, garbage collection and recycling programs.

The campaign was launched by TorontoMayor David Miller at the Toronto City Summit Alliance conference on February 26, 2007 with the Mayors of Aurora, Brampton, Halifax, Hamilton, Mississauga, Oshawa, Sarnia and Thunder Bay. Since the launch of the campaign, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (with over 1,600 member municipalities across Canada), the Senate Committee on Finance and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty have formally supported the campaign. In addition, municipalities have individually expressed their support, including: Ajax, Aurora, Belleville, Brampton, Carleton Place, Fort Erie, Halifax, Hamilton, King, Markham, Montreal, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Oshawa, Ottawa, Penticton, Port Moody, Sarnia, Stratford, Sudbury, Victoria, West Perth and Wood Buffalo.

For more information, please visit www.onecentnow.ca

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Media contact: Kevin Sack, Director, Strategic Communications, City of Toronto, (416) 397-5277 (office), (416) 919-6500 (cell)

Copyright 2007 Canada Newswire Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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