An opinion editorial by Alan Samuel
It appears the BC’s current regime is sufficiently rattled, that they have launched a public relations war on behalf of themselves and big business over the HST. Smart observers have noted that all the opposition needs to do is wait on the sidelines and watch the governing party self destruct. The hope that the public will forget this new tax three years forward will come back to haunt them once the HST’s full impact is felt.
The government rhetoric is posted on their website. Liberal campaign contributors promote the tax as good for British Columbia. It may be good for big business, but the tax shifts billions of dollars away from them and onto the backs of consumers. Small business has seen the light and is opposed to this tax. So now are the restaurant association members and the home builders even though they were specifically told that the government was not “considering at this time” implementing the tax.
Not to be forgotten is the vehement denial by officials of their desire to bring it in despite the urging of the federal government. Yet, three days after their reelection, bureaucrats with the Ministry of Finance in Victoria were already in deep discussions with Ottawa over implementing the HST. Now Colin Hansen is trying to gloss over this saying it’s just the typical function of government. Really! He must think that we are all stupid.
Citizens can expect big tax increases that may never be offset by any increases in local business. It’s dreaming in Technicolor that new firms will relocate to B.C. and offer new employment. Some economists say a consumption tax is a good thing. These same bright lights did not predict the recession or the sub prime mortgage debacle. Should we accept their opinion just because of their university credentials? Can they correctly predict what’s right, what will happen and above all else that this will be a “good thing” for people on the west coast?
Some argue that other provinces have this tax. Supporters suggest a look at the Maritimes. Do they want the west coast to be a ‘have not’ region requiring heavy equalization payments just to stay afloat? Let’s hope not.
In the massive campaign to sway voters who are fighting back on the tax initiative, what is not said clearly is that as of July 1, British Columbians will pay 7% more on things not previously taxed. Every time you eat out, get your haircut, go on a trip, take the bus, hire a babysitter, go bowling or skating/skiing, work out at a gym, ride a taxi, get a message, get buried, hire a plumber, get your lawn cut, get buried, take your family to an attraction, movie or sports event, get away to a camping trip, or take in a movie, see an accountant/lawyer/engineer – or use any other service you will pay an additional 7% for this “privilege.” If air was taxable, no doubt some bureaucrats would vote for that too.
Those opposed to the HST and what is perceived as a unilateral action, can sign the petition currently circulating. Locations to sign can be found at www.fighthst.com Organizers have even agreed to take the petition to neighbourhood homes for signing and are available by phone to those without computers.
The option to demonstrate citizen opinion against the HST is a clear signal of the democratic process at work.
Citizens need not feel disempowered by politicians or their civil servants. History shows that when Conservatives brought in the GST, their numbers were reduced in the very next federal election to only two seats. Each person’s vote, or in this case, signature, counts.
British Columbians can (and should) send the government a message to heed the public will. If enough people sign this petition and if the government ignores it, then just seven members of the ruling party need to be recalled to force a new election. To some members of the public the anti-HST action is seen as an end to the arrogant rule of an uncaring party.
Yet, those same citizens remind us not to let the other politicians off the hook either. Many are calling for a total overhaul of how out government representatives get paid. Have your say and take action against the HST
Go to www.fighthst.com and send the message that government officials should listen to their paymasters. By doing so you’ll be affecting future generations who care about B.C.