Critics say HST will put kids' sports on ice
Every year in B.C., tens of thousands of young people play minor hockey, but now the costs are about to go up.
The new HST is expected to hit minor hockey hard. Associations used to pay five per cent on ice rentals -- that tax burden will climb to 12 per cent.
"We're not too pleased, as you can imagine," Lochie Bell of Abbotsford Minor Hockey told CTV News.
In Abbotsford, the Minor Hockey Association estimates their costs will climb by $32,000 next season.
Surrey's club is looking at about a $50,000 increase.
Bell said that most hockey associations already do extensive fundraising to keep fees down for families.
"Now we're kind of out of ideas, really, and now it's just a case of raising the registration fees," he said.
The changes won't just affect hockey. Field fees for soccer and ice costs for figure skating will also be subject to the new HST.
The NDP says Gordon Campbell's Liberals are making sports less accessible.
In the legislature this week, opposition MLA Scott Fraser accused Finance Minister Colin Hansen of putting a tax on Canada's national pastime.
"This is Canada. This place should have a penalty box and that minister should be in it," Fraser said.
Hansen bristled at the accusation that his government was attacking hockey.
"We are the government that has provided more support for amateur hockey around the province than any other government prior to us," he said.
But in Abbotsford, the hockey association says the province recently cut its $60,000 gaming grant -- making the HST just one more reason that some kids might not get to play.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro