SURREY, B.C. - Ross Dayton considers himself one of Canada's biggest fans, but no amount of true patriot love can keep him loyal to the loonie now that the harmonized sales tax is on the bill in British Columbia.
"I don't shop up in Canada anymore," the Surrey, B.C., resident said as he watched cars settle into an hours-long holiday lineup at the Pacific border crossing near Vancouver.
From July 1 onwards, the 44-year-old school maintenance worker plans to make one to two southern shopping trips every week for upwards of 30 per cent savings on everything from motorcycle parts to clothing to products for his wife's hair salon.
Combined with already lower American prices, a jug of milk in Washington state now rings in at about half the price it costs a mere 15-minute drive away in Dayton's home province of B.C.
"(The HST is) absolutely a huge motivator, I'm amazed that this law has gone through," he said Thursday. "I'm a fool not to take advantage."
While the nation was celebrating its 143rd birthday, consumers in B.C. and Ontario were unwrapping the new tax that shifts costs from business to the individual's purse. The HST merges the federal Goods and Services Tax with provincial retail tax, meaning shoppers must now pay a levy on many items they never have before.
While government asserts the tax will spur investment and create jobs, many waiting patiently in idling vehicles mused that escaping the hot-button levy could have the opposite effect.