Monday, August 17, 2009
Initiative against Harmonized Sales Tax could force BC Liberals to drop it.
Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column
18 August 2009
By Bill Tieleman
"Never relinquish the initiative". -- Charles de Gaulle
Wow! My Facebook protest group NO BC HST now has over 94,000 members and rising fast!
Thanks to 24 hours, The Tyee readers and others signing up, that makes it one of the largest Facebook groups in B.C., and likely the biggest protest group in the province.
And with good reason -- the Harmonized Sales Tax will add a 7 per cent tax to a long list of goods and services currently not subject to the Provincial Sales Tax -- only the 5 per cent GST.
But if the 12 per cent HST is implemented in July 2010, you'll pay 7 per cent more on everything from haircuts to restaurant food to office rent to funerals to newly-built homes! And the $1.9 billion a year raised all goes to big business -- none to public services.
Last week I wrote that the surest way to block Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen's HST plan is by recalling enough B.C. Liberal MLAs that they would lose their Legislative majority.
But something else could stop the HST -- the B.C. Initiative process.
The beauty of an initiative against HST
It's not foolproof or simple. However, an Initiative can start immediately, while recall can't begin until 18 months after the election.
And while recall demands collecting the signatures of 40 per cent of registered voters in that riding during the last election in just 60 days, an initiative is easier.
Initiatives require the signatures of just 10 per cent of all registered voters in every one of B.C.'s 85 ridings over 90 days -- much simpler than recall.
The problem with the Initiative process is that while the public can force a piece of legislation to be introduced and debated in the Legislature, an Initiative vote could be delayed until September 2011 and there is no obligation on the B.C. Liberal majority to actually pass the bill.
However, if enough voters signed up to make the initiative legal under Elections B.C. rules, the B.C. Liberals would be committing political suicide if they refused to introduce it sooner or defeated the No BC HST bill in the Legislature.
Rally on September 19
What's more, if Campbell and Hansen went ahead despite such a strong public statement that B.C. doesn't want the proposed HST, a recall campaign would be far more likely to meet great success as angry voters lined up to sign a recall petition.
The Initiative challenge is clear -- can HST opponents get organized enough in every single riding to obtain the magic 10 per cent of legitimate voter signatures? I say we can!
And to kick things off, join myself, former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm and other political and community leaders at a NO BC HST rally on Saturday September 19 at 12 noon outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.
More on that when I return from holidays September 8.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Please stay tuned for when I return - the battle to stop the Harmonized Sales Tax will take a major step forward - I'm working with former Premier Bill Vander Zalm on some significant efforts.
So mark your calendars for a significant protest in Vancouver at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday September 19 with Bill Vander Zalm, myself and other political and public figures! Starting at 12 noon.
More details here as they become available.
Meanwhile - NO BC HST - the Facebook protest group I created - has crossed the 90,000 member mark! Keep passing it on and tell all your friends to join!
And watch The Tyee and 24 hours newspaper for my column on Tuesday August 18 about how we can use the BC Initiative process to block the HST!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
John Les and Ida Chong - two BC Liberal MLAs with the lowest vote percentage - and potentially easiest to recall over the HST.
Tax Revolt! HST Hatred Keeps Growing
Tuesday August 11, 2009
By Bill Tieleman
The HST is going to be good for all concerned, but there are exceptions.
- B.C. Tourism Minister Kevin Krueger
There is only one way to stop the B.C. Liberals’ plan to impose a Harmonized Sales Tax on British Columbians -- a recall campaign that ends their legislative majority.
Premier Gordon Campbell is clear -- despite enormous opposition and more than 65,500 people joining my Facebook protest group NO BC HST -– that he will go ahead despite the fact that 85 per cent of BCers despise the HST.
Those Ipsos Reid polling results show that people realize anything currently taxed with the five per cent GST will get an extra 7 per cent tax added on in July 2010 for a total 12 per cent HST.
Consumers would pay an extra $1.9 billion a year –- with all that money going to big business. Not a dime of the HST will pay for healthcare, education or social services.
Reasons to recall
It looks like the only way to force Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen to drop the HST is to threaten their legislative majority and, if necessary, recall enough B.C. Liberal MLAs that they cannot remain in government.
The appropriate response to abuses of power is to remove that power. Taking out just eight B.C. Liberals would defeat the government.
It’s not easy. Despite promises to improve recall legislation -- sound familiar? -- the Campbell government did nothing.
But it’s also far from impossible.
First, the recall campaign cannot start under Elections B.C. rules until 18 months after the election -- November 2010 -- but organizing can take place now to identify voters who want to recall their B.C. Liberal MLA.
That’s important because once the recall petition process begins you only have 60 days to collect the signatures of 40 per cent of voters who were registered voters for that riding during the May 12th provincial election.
A tough task -- but recall pre-organizing can happen without spending limits until petitions are filed.
Liberals most vulnerable to recall
Successful recall pre-organizing could panic the government into dropping the HST, because if not, Campbell and Hansen would lose power long before the 2013 election.
That may be enough, but if not, here are the unlucky 13 B.C. Liberal MLAs easiest to recall, in order of their percentage of votes won in 2009:
Eric Foster -- Vernon-Monashee, 37 per cent; John Slater -- Boundary-Similkameen, 37 per cent; Pat Pimm -- Peace River North, 43 per cent; Bill Barisoff -- Penticton, 44 per cent; John Les -- Chilliwack, 45 per cent; Murray Coell -- Saanich North and the Islands, 45 per cent; Marc Dalton -- Maple Ridge-Mission, 46 per cent; Ida Chong -- Oak Bay, 47 per cent; George Abbott -- Shuswap, 47 per cent; Terry Lake -- Kamloops-North Thompson, 47 per cent; Margaret MacDiarmid -- Vancouver-Fairview, 47 per cent; Don McRae -- Comox Valley, 47 per cent; Donna Barnett -- Cariboo-Chilcotin, 48 per cent.
And one more for good measure. At 17th place, there is Gordon Campbell -- Vancouver-Point Grey, 50 per cent.
If you haven’t joined the Facebook group NO BC HST you can do so here.
The B.C. NDP also has an online petition against the HST, as do a few other folks, even more folks and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Tieleman on Global TV and A-Channel with over 59,000 members of NO BC HST as of early Monday afternoon!
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Reporter St. John Alexander of CTV interviewed me today and disclosed that YES BC HST - a Facebook group that actually supports imposing the HST - has only about 100 members - and 6 are BC Liberal MLAs!
If you haven't yet joined NO BC HST please do so by hitting the links here.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Basi-Virk - Justice Bennett written decision on disclosure of Premier Gordon Campbell, cabinet emails
While I reported on this decision at the time, I believe the full version is of sufficient interest to my readers that I am pleased to include it in full below.
Lastly, while as always this is a free speech blog, I caution any and all posters from drawing conclusions or making comments that are defamatory about any of the information below - they will not be published.
* * * * *
Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi, Bobby Singh Virk
& Aneal Basi
Before: The Honourable Madam Justice Bennett
Oral Ruling on Application for Third Party Records
July 20, 2009
Counsel for the Crown
W.S. Berardino, Q.C.
& J. Winteringham, Q.C.
Counsel for the Accused, Dave Basi
M. Bolton, Q.C.
& C. Hatcher
Counsel for the Accused, Bobby Virk
Counsel for the Accused, Aneal Basi
& E. Dance
Counsel for the Executive Council and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia
G. Copley, Q.C.
Place of Hearing:
 THE COURT: This is the second in a series of applications by the defence for the disclosure of third party records. The application relates to the records of the Executive Cabinet. The application was filed on June 11, 2009, in response to an order I made on March 12, 2009, requiring that the application that was then presently before the Court be narrowed and defined.
 The present application reads as follows:
1. That all records, documents and information, including information in electronic form (collectively "the Records") held in any office, storage facility or repository by or on behalf of:
a. the Office of the Premier located in Victoria and Vancouver, particularly the records of Premier Gordon Campbell, Martyn Brown, Mike Morton, Lara Dauphinee, Ken Dobell, Brenda Eaton, Cynthia Haraldsen, Jay Schlosar, Dave Cunningham, Neil Sweeney, Tom Syer and Jessica McDonald;
b. the Public Affairs Bureau, particularly Stuart Chase;
c. the Ministry of Finance, particularly the records of Minister Gary Collins, Paul Taylor, Chris Trumpy, Dave Morhart, and Yvette Wells;
d. the Ministry of Transportation, particularly the records of Judith Reid, Minister Kevin Falcon, and Dan Doyle;
e. the Ministry of the Attorney General, particularly the records of Geoff Plante, Allan Seckel, and Rob Lapper;
f. the Ministry of the Solicitor General, particularly the records of Minister Coleman and Assistant Deputy Minister Kevin Begg;
g. the Ministry of Education, particularly the records of Minister Christy Clark and Ministerial Assistant Kim Haakstad;
h. the Ministry of Advanced Education, particularly the records of Minister Shirley Bond; and
i. the Ministry of Energy and Mines, particularly the records of Minister Richard Neufeld;
which relate to the divestiture of BC Rail Freight Division (hereinafter "BC Rail") and the proposed divestiture of the Roberts Bank Port Subdivision (hereinafter "Roberts Bank") and the bidding process related to same, including but not limited to the BC Rail Steering Committee and the BC Rail Evaluation Committee. The applicants seek such records during the time period from June 5, 2001 to the present;
(ii) the selection of, and duties assigned to Ministerial and Executive Assistants and, in particular, all records relating to efforts of Ministerial and Executive Assistants to influence public opinion through the media with regard to Provincial Government policies or initiatives. The applicants seek such records during the time period of June 5, 2001 to the present;
(iii) the strategy policy and any related decision-making pertaining to the influencing, gauging or monitoring of public opinion through the media and other public forums. The applicants seek such records during the time period of June 5, 2001 to the present;
(vi) public opinion polling reports, including those provided by the B.C. Liberal Party to the Executive Branch of Government, including the Executive Council and the Office of the Premier which pertain to public opinion on transportation, finance and budget surplus and deficit issues, and further, including but not limited to the divestiture of BC Rail and the balancing of the provincial budget. The applicants seek such records during the time period of June 5, 2001 to the present;
(v) the provision by the Executive Branch of Government to Members of Cabinet and their Ministerial and Executive Assistants of cellular telephones, Blackberries, computers and other personal digital assistants, email accounts and other communication devices. The applicants seek such records during the time period of June 5, 2001 through to the cessation of employment of the individuals named at paragraph 1(a) through (i) above, with the Executive Council;
(vi) the provision by the B.C. Liberal Party to Cabinet Ministers and their Ministerial and Executive Assistants of cellular telephones, Blackberries, computers and other personal digital assistants, email accounts and other communication devices. The applicants seek such records during the time period of June 5, 2001 through to the cessation of employment of the individuals named at paragraph 1(a) through (i) above, during the same period of June 5, 2001 through to the cessation of the individuals' employment with the Executive Council;
(vii) any communications between Cabinet Ministers and their Ministerial and Executive Assistants and lobbyists Brian Kieran, Eric Bornmann, Jamie Elmhirst, and their companies, including but not limited to Pilothouse, Kieran Consulting, Pacific Public Affairs, K&E Consulting and their respective staff. The applicants seek such records during the time period of June 5, 2001 through to the cessation of the employment of individuals named at paragraph 1(a) through (i) above, with the Executive Council;
(viii) the acceptance or receipt of any gift or benefit by a Cabinet Minister, Ministerial Assistant or Executive Assistant, including but not limited to:
(1) Vancouver Canucks tickets or seating in private boxes;
(2) B.C. Lions tickets or seating in private boxes;
(3) the use of any facilities at General Motors Place;
(4) tickets or admittance to the Cirque de Soleil; and
(5) Famous Players "Big Card".
The applicants seek such records during the time period of June 5, 2001 through the cessation of the employment of the individuals named at paragraph 1(a) through (i) above with the Executive Council;
be produced to this Honourable Court for review pursuant to the procedures set out in R. v. O'Connor,  4 S.C.R. 411 (S.C.C.).
2. An Order that such portions of the said Records that this Honourable Court may find likely relevant to an issue at the trial of this matter be produced to the applicants.
 The factual matrix for this application and the legal principles applicable are set out in R. v. Basi, June 30, 2009, 2009 BCSC 907, in relation to the third party records of the Members of the Legislative Assembly. I need not repeat them here. This decision should be read in conjunction with that decision.
 This is stage one of the O'Connor application. At this point the defence only needs to show that the documents sought are likely relevant to the case before the Court and then the documents will be produced to me. The threshold is low and the defence need not specify the use to which the document may be put (see R. v. McNeil, 2009 SCC 3; 301 D.L.R. (4th) 1). At this stage, I am not dealing with whether the documents still exist or have been destroyed.
 This application is similar in wording to the application brought for production of the records of the Members of the Legislative Assembly. Although broadly worded, the records sought, I am told, are emails.
 The essence of the charges against the accused is that they accepted gifts from lobbyists Brian Kieran, Eric Bornmann and Jamie Elmhirst, their companies, including Pilothouse, Kieran Consulting, Pacific Public Affairs, K&E Consulting, and their respective staff. When I refer to the lobbyists, it is this group to which I refer. They are also charged with allegations of leaking confidential documents to the lobbyists, again in exchange for gifts and promises of employment.
 The charges, and in particular the fraud charges, are broadly worded and encompass a potentially large factual matrix.
 The defence says that if they accepted gifts, (which is denied), then it was in the ordinary course of business for Government. I pause to say that I am not commenting on the validity of any defence at this point. Further, the defence says that if Government documents were leaked to the lobbyists, then someone else leaked them. Finally, anything that the accused before the Court did was at the direction of their "political Masters", a term that remains undefined. I assume that it refers to the Minister for whom each worked, as well as the Office of the Premier.
 Part of the background for the defence is the contention by the defence that CN Rail was always going to be the successful bidder for BC Rail and that the accused were directed to make efforts to keep OmniTrax in the bidding process to ensure that the bidding process looked legitimate. The lobbyists worked for OmniTrax. This allegation, which has been supported to a degree by documents suggesting that other proponents were concerned about the fairness of the bidding process, makes the process leading up to the sale of BC Rail relevant, including the core review. Further, it is alleged that OmniTrax was to be the successful proponent in the sale of Roberts Bank Port Subdivision (“Roberts Bank”) as a consolation prize for staying in the BC Rail bidding process. Mr. Virk and Mr. Basi are charged with fraud in relation to the Roberts Bank bidding process. As a result, this brings into focus the relevance of the documents relating to the proposed sale of Roberts Bank.
 The Crown concedes that any email communication between the lobbyists and Christy Clark, Richard Neufeld, Gary Collins, Judith Reid and Paul Taylor are likely relevant. The Crown submits that the rest of the application should be dismissed.
 The defence point to a number of emails which it received from BC Rail to or from a number of Government officials, both elected and non-elected, which were not received by the defence as a result of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 165 [FOI] process. This point is well taken. In spite of what appear to be extensive and lengthy efforts by the Government officials to comply with the FOI request, a number of records were not uncovered.
 It is important to understand the thrust of the defence in relation to the fraud counts, and that is the question of whether the bidding process was not legitimate from the outset. As noted, there is some documentation which suggests that others were concerned about the same thing.
 Thus, documents in relation to the divestiture of BC Rail and the process affecting Roberts Bank will meet the low threshold established in O'Connor and recently affirmed in McNeil. There is evidence filed to support the request for emails on this point from the following people: Premier Gordon Campbell, Martyn Brown, Mike Morton, Lara Dauphinee, Ken Dobell, Brenda Eaton, Dave Cunningham, Tom Syer, Jessica McDonald and Jay Schlosar. There is not a sufficient basis to order the production of the records of Cynthia Haraldsen and Neil Sweeney.
 Further, in relation to the divestiture of BC Rail and the sale of Roberts Bank with respect to the Ministry of Finance, there is a sufficient evidentiary basis to find that the emails of Gary Collins, Paul Taylor, Chris Trumpy, Dave Morhart and Yvette Wells are also likely relevant. Mr. Collins was the Minister of Finance at the time and involved in the sale. Chris Trumpy was on the Evaluation Committee and many of his emails have already been produced through BC Rail. Mr. Morhart was also on the Evaluation Committee and advised the police that he retained thousands of his emails. The police did not seek to recover the emails at that time. Ms. Wells has already produced a number of documents through the FOI process, and if she has emails on this subject they also meet the threshold test of likely relevant. Mr. Taylor was the Deputy Finance Minister at the time and was apparently a friend or neighbour of Brian Kieran.
 With respect to the Ministry of Transportation, Ms. Reid was the Minister of Transportation at the time of the sale and the Minister who was thought to be in charge of the sale of BC Rail. This concept is challenged with some support. In any event, any email communication by Ms. Reid regarding the divestiture of BC Rail and the sale of Roberts Bank also meets the likely relevant standard. However, the same cannot be said for Mr. Falcon or Dan Doyle. The evidence is insufficient to show that either of these people would have emails that would be likely relevant to the matter before the Court.
 The records of the then Attorney General Geoff Plante, the Deputy Minister, Allan Seckel, and Robert Lapper are also sought. The evidence does not support a finding of likely relevance for these records. There is nothing in the documents to suggest that any of these three people communicated information by email that would be likely relevant to any issue before the Court.
 The defence also requests the emails of Solicitor General Rich Coleman and Assistant Deputy Minister Kevin Begg. The material filed shows the involvement of some degree by the Solicitor General and Mr. Begg in the search of the Legislature. The evidence supports the fact that any email communication by either of these two individuals relating to the search of the Legislature with anyone, including the RCMP, is also likely relevant.
 Ms. Clark was the Deputy Minister and may have expressed concern over the CN Rail dealing at a Cabinet meeting. Further, there is some evidence that indicates that she may have had some dealings with Pilothouse. Emails of Ms. Clark relating to the divestiture of BC Rail and the sale of the Roberts Bank, as well as any contact with Pilothouse, are likely relevant. However, there is insufficient foundation to order that emails of her assistant, Kim Haakstad, be produced.
 Ms. Bond and Mr. Neufeld both had significant interest in the BC Rail deal as part of the Northern Caucus and may have been lobbied by Pilothouse, thus any email relating to either the areas of the BC Rail and sale of Roberts Bank and Pilothouse are likely relevant.
 A number of documents were obtained by the defence from a news reporter who obtained them pursuant to an FOI request. These documents relate to the conduct of the Public Affairs Bureau of Government and the coverage of this case by Stuart Chase on behalf of the Public Affairs Bureau. Much was made of the fact that Mr. Chase was covering the applications in Court. However, nothing in the material suggests that Mr. Chase's conduct is likely relevant to the issues which will eventually be raised at trial. Simply because something is characterized as political does not make it relevant.
 The same may be said for the extensive requests by the defence for the Government's media policy and public opinion as set out in paragraphs 1(ii), (iii) and (iv). Whatever the Government's plan was with respect to the media and the public opinion has little, if anything, to do with the charges before the Court and the defences put forward.
 The defence also requests information regarding the supplying of electronic communication devices to Cabinet Ministers and their Assistants by either the Executive Branch of Government and the B.C. Liberal Party. There is insufficient evidence to support this request.
 In summary, the emails from the following persons in relation to the divestiture of BC Rail and the proposed sale of Roberts Bank are likely relevant:
the records of Premier Gordon Campbell, Martyn Brown, Mike Morton, Lara Dauphinee, Ken Dobell, Brenda Eaton, Jay Schlosar, Dave Cunningham, Tom Syer, Jessica McDonald, Gary Collins, Paul Taylor, Chris Trumpy, Dave Morhart, Yvette Wells, Judith Reid, Christy Clark, Shirley Bond and Richard Neufeld, but not Cynthia Haraldsen, Kevin Falcon, Dan Doyle, Kim Haakstad or Neil Sweeney. The dates within which these records are to be found likely relevant is the parameter of January 1, 2002, to December 31, 2004, for the same reason as stated in the MLA application.
 Likely relevance has not been established for the records of Stuart Chase from the Public Affairs Bureau.
 Likely relevance has not been established for Geoff Plante, Allan Seckel or Rob Lapper. Likely relevance has been established for the records of Rich Coleman and Kevin Begg from December 1 to December 31, 2003 in relation to the obtaining and execution of the search of the Legislature.
 The records of the following are likely relevant with respect to communications with Pilothouse: Christy Clark, Richard Neufeld, Gary Collins, Judith Reid, Paul Taylor and Shirley Bond.
 The remainder of the application is dismissed.
This morning when I gave these reasons I overlooked Premier Gordon Campbell’s emails, if any, with the lobbyists. These were found likely relevant on June 30, 2009, in his capacity as an MLA. I intended to include the emails as a member of the Executive Cabinet.
“E. Bennett J.”
The Honourable Madam Justice Bennett
Monday, August 03, 2009
Now BC's nanny state wants to ban cell phones in cars, even my hands-free model.
Bill Tieleman's 24 hours and The Tyee column
Tuesday August 4, 2009
"Cell phones are a distraction. But so is coffee, screaming children, adults quarrelling, and reading the newspaper. Are you going to ban them as well?"
- Former Canada Safety Council President Emile Thérien
Has the B.C. Liberal government gone completely mad?
Has the summer heat melted their marbles?
Because Premier Gordon Campbell and crew seem to have lost their senses.
First it was the outrageously unfair Harmonized Sales Tax suddenly announced last month without consultation and after the B.C. Liberals expressly rejected the idea of putting a new 7 per cent tax on most goods and services currently exempt from the Provincial Sales Tax.
And a hearty thanks to 24 hours readers, Tyee readers and others who have already joined my Facebook protest group NO BC HST -- more than 18,000 people signed up in less than six days! More on the HST in future columns.
Then on the Friday afternoon of a long weekend the government announced it was cancelling the program that has loaned nearly $700 million to leaky condo owners, helping them pay billions in repairs and saving them from losing their homes. Housing Minister Rich Coleman gave anyone who still needed a loan a generous two hours to apply or forget it.
Bigger worries for cops
But there's something else that's got me steamed up. Solicitor General Kash Heed is considering banning cell phone use in our cars.
B.C.'s Top Cop is worried using a cell phone in your vehicle is too dangerous and should be outlawed -- and he's given us until only August 7 to tell him what we think.
Here's my response. Get your hands off my hands-free car cell phone!
In case you haven't noticed, Kash, there's a bloody gang war going on, sex trade workers are being murdered, drunk drivers and street racers are killing people, and your priority is to take away my cell phone?
Wake up! We don't need more laws telling us what to do -- we have more than enough already!
If I crash my car because I was distracted by my cell phone -- and I always use my hands-free car kit -- then charge me with existing laws -- driving with undue care and attention or dangerous driving.
But no, Kash may make it a crime to use your cell phone when driving. Like that law will be obeyed. Seen any bicyclists without helmets lately? Ha.
The true risks
So here's an idea, Kash. While you're at it, why not ban all these in our cars: drivers arguing with their partners; screaming kids; drinking hot coffee; dogs; transporting Little League teams; playing AC/DC's Highway To Hell at maximum volume; smoking a cigar -- ban anything that could possibly distract a driver!
Kash, take a look at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research study that analysed five years of highway accident data.
It discovered that "the most frequently reported sources of distraction for drivers involved in tow-away accidents were outside persons, objects or events (29.4 per cent), followed by adjusting the radio, CD or cassette (11.4 per cent), and then by other occupants in the vehicle (10.9 per cent). Using a cell phone ranked far down their list with a frequency of 1.5 per cent."
The truth is, Kash, that life is unsafe -- and what's worse, it always results in death!
And if living a long life is your big concern, you should also ban being fat, drinking anything but light beer, not exercising daily, eating red meat, watching too much TV and putting cream and sugar in your coffee! No more double-doubles, British Columbia!
But until then, keep your hands off my hand-free cell phone!
Common sense, please
I agree that drivers should use either a hands-free car kit or a Bluetooth headset if they want to drive and talk on a cell phone.
I agree that texting while driving is a dangerous activity.
I agree that restrictions on new drivers should include using cell phones while on the road.
And there are definitely times when any use of a cell phone while driving is just too distracting.
But can we really just legislate compulsory common sense? I think not.
Fortunately, until Friday you can tell Kash what to do right here.
Here then is Bill Vander Zalm's view of the HST:
* * * * *
Bad news it is, but Premier Gordon Campbell tries to have us believe it's a good news story.
The premier tells us that a new 12% consumer tax will create jobs. He tells us it's good for business because it simplifies things.
Not too surprising some of the liberal media go along with this deceitful line and report it in this vein.
A tax is never a good thing – only true Liberals believe taxes are good.
They thrive on taking a lot, redistributing most, and keeping some for the politicians for such desirable things as expensive perks, travel to distance places for studies, severance pay should
they decide to quit or be defeated because they did a poor job, and bigger pensions,
We now also have bureaucrats making over $ 1 million per year and you must contribute to that too.
Imagine a new 12% tax announced only 3 months after the Liberals were elected on the charge that the NDP were the “Taxers”. They told us, time and again, that they would never introduce a new tax during an economic downturn.
We're now also being told that they had to do this because their Liberal counterparts in Ontario have done this too – hogwash!!!
This new tax will impact everyone and everything. Some may think that because we've heard complaints mostly from prominent restaurateurs that the wealthy will be hardest hit, because they'll now pay 12% tax on a restaurant meal.
They forget that a hamburger and a cup of coffee will also have a 12% tax added. The reality is that practically everything will cost more and the government in Victoria will rake in extra billions of dollars.
The sad part is that the poorest people will be hardest hit – with this type of tax the poorest pay most as a percentage of their income.
Everything will cost more and the only wage increases will go to the politicians and top bureaucrats. It seems its always been this way, but nothing near or comparable to what we see now.
So what about the economy? Anytime a government does a two billion dollar tax grab it's going to cost jobs – not make jobs - except for more government and bigger bureaucracies.
What do you think this will do to tourism? Will it encourage visitors to come and pay 12% more? What about house building? Will a 12% tax on houses encourage more building? The answers are obvious.
What may not be so obvious is that this was probably a one man decision.
What may not be so obvious is that the government faces embarrassing budget over-runs with the Olympics and elsewhere, and more money from you may overcome this.
By the time the next election comes around you'll probably have forgotten who did this to you.
My friends are calling for a revolution or recall of the entire government. I tell them British Columbians don't revolt very easily.
If any of you reading this have any suggestions about what we might do, and where and when we begin, I’d like to hear from you.
Send me an email via my website at:
Bill Vander Zalm
Former British Columbia Premier