By Bill Tieleman
- Colin Hansen, as opposition MLA, July 2, 1996
After they sprung a Harmonized Sales Tax they said they wouldn't consider, tabled a budget deficit six times bigger than they swore to and slashed public services they promised to protect, there's only one way to describe Premier Gordon Campbell's and his B.C. Liberals.
It's why a new Ipsos Reid poll shows that 72 per cent of British Columbians believe Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen "intentionally misled" voters during the May election.
And it explains why 75 per cent polled in an Angus Reid Strategies survey don't want Campbell to run again for premier -- including 51 per cent who voted B.C. Liberal only four months ago -- giving the B.C. New Democratic Party a decisive 45 per cent to 31 per cent lead.
It's also why my Facebook protest group No BC HST now has over 118,000 members -- that's a huge number and a stunning increase of over 24,000 since I went on holidays three weeks ago! If you haven't yet joined, please do so.
France's HST: Don't go there
The response to the HST, the massive $2.8 billion deficit -- it was supposed to be $495 million -- and health authorities cutting thousands of surgeries pretty much guarantees that Campbell's tenure as premier ends long before the 2013 provincial election.
But regardless of Campbell's political fate, it's now critical that British Columbians demand the HST be dropped immediately.
I've just returned from Paris, where I have seen the future of the B.C. HST and it isn't a pretty sight -- France has a punishing 19.6 per cent version of the HST.
Like the proposed HST, the French Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée, or TVA, is a value added tax that is regressive to lower income earners -- since a much higher percentage of total income is paid in sales tax on basic expenses.
That means one-fifth of the total price of most goods and services is sales tax, discouraging consumers from spending money and creating jobs.
And when the B.C. Liberals propose an HST of 12 per cent anyone but a fool can see that rate is the floor, not the ceiling, for future HST rates. The French TVA is a harbinger of things to come -- unless the HST is killed.
Protest rally September 19
That's why I strongly urge you to attend a major rally against the HST featuring former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm, NDP leader Carole James, B.C. Conservative Party deputy leader Chris Delaney, independent MLA Vicki Huntington, B.C. Refederation Party deputy leader Jordan Braun and others on Saturday September 19 at 12 noon outside Canada Place in downtown Vancouver.