Tuesday, April 06, 2010

BC Liberals HST Legislation is "longest political suicide note in history"

What the BC Liberals don't want you to know about the disastrous HST - find out and what you can do about it tonight - Kits Secondary 7:30 p.m.!

Bill Tieleman speaks at Fight HST rally - Sept. 19-09 Vancouver

BC Liberals write 'Political Suicide Note' with HST legislation

Fight HST launches campaign Tuesday April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Kitsilano Secondary School with former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm, Chris Delaney, Bill Tieleman

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/
The Tyee column

Tuesday April 6, 2010

What Premier Campbell won't tell you about the disastrous HST. How to help stop it.

By Bill Tieleman

"We do not support harmonization because of the $400-million burden of taxes that is going to go from business to consumers in this province and we think that's entirely inappropriate."

Given that Premier Gordon Campbell didn't tell you he would jam an HST down your throat before last year's election -- even telling the restaurant and development industries in writing that the B.C. Liberals would not do that -- it's important British Columbians know the facts.

And you can hear them for yourself tonight, Tuesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. when I speak at a town hall meeting at Kitsilano Secondary School at 2550 West Tenth Ave. and Larch Street in Vancouver, featuring former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm and ex-Unity Party leader Chris Delaney to launch the
Fight HST citizens initiative to stop the HST.

But here's what you haven’t heard, certainly not from the B.C. Liberals.

Why a right-wing party rejected HST

First, the right-wing Saskatchewan Party government last month strongly rejected the idea of an HST because the HST's enormous tax hit would flatten consumers while transferring all the extra money raised to big business.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall made that
clear last August: "You know in an election campaign in 2007, I was asked about harmonization and I said that we wouldn't be going in that direction if we were elected... we don't think it's right."

That's refreshing to British Columbians, a premier who tells voters the truth both before and after an election -- and keeps his word.

Maybe that explains why Wall has a 56 per cent approval rating in Saskatchewan while Campbell only has the approval of 23 per cent of British Columbians, according to a recent Angus Reid Public Opinion
poll, barely ahead of Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty's 21 per cent.

Hmmm. The popular Wall rejects the HST while the unpopular Campbell and McGuinty are about to impose a hated new tax on July 1 -- coincidence?

A left-wing party rejects HST, too

Second, Manitoba's left-of-centre New Democratic Party government has also ruled out the HST for the
same reasons.

And while the B.C. Liberal government only produced a
study of the impact of the HST a full eight months after announcing it would be imposed -- and it was a 13-page paper by a known HST supporter saying jobs would be created over ten years -- Manitoba actually researched the issue before making a decision, something unheard of here.

report concludes that if the HST were adopted: "Manitoba would impose $405 million in additional sales taxes on families, increasing their share of the sales tax burden to 86 from 54 per cent."

Said Rosann Wowchuk, Manitoba's finance minister: "With the global recession causing so much economic uncertainty for Manitoba families, we don't think it makes sense to impose $405 million in new sales taxes. We are not prepared to risk the economic recovery by undermining Manitoba's growing consumer confidence."

It's worth noting that Jack Mintz, the professor who produced B.C.'s slim report for $12,000, and also produced a similar study for Ontario, previously said two years ago that introducing the HST would actually
cost Ontario 38,000 jobs.

$2 billion annual taxes shifted to consumers

So, both a right and left wing government reject the HST for exactly the same reasons -- because an HST will dramatically shift taxes from big business onto consumers, causing an economic disaster at the worst possible time.

For British Columbians, that means consumers will pay an extra $2 billion a year in order to give that same amount of money to large corporations.

You likely have heard, because B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen and others keep repeating it, that three Atlantic provinces have done just fine since introducing the HST there in 1997.

But what Hansen doesn't tell you is that the sales tax in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick actually dropped when the HST came in -- while in B.C. it will
rise on hundreds of goods and services!

Newfoundland's sales tax went from 19 per cent to 15 per cent initially and later to 13 per cent, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick's went from 18.7 per cent to 15 per cent initially and later to 13 per cent.

So for those Atlantic Canadians, the HST meant a significant tax cut, not a painful increase.

But in B.C., when the seven per cent Provincial Sales Tax is combined with the five per cent GST to apply a new 12 per cent HST tax, it will be levied on consumer goods and services like restaurant food that were not previously subject to the seven per cent PST.

And you probably haven't heard that Saskatchewan briefly adopted the HST in 1991 and -- after the defeat of the Conservative government which introduced it -- the new NDP government of Premier Roy Romanow
rescinded it immediately.

This is no 'done deal'

Lastly, a lot of political commentators and HST supporters are telling British Columbians the HST is a "done deal" and that the citizens initiative process led by Vander Zalm will either fail or won't work because it isn't binding on the government.

Wrong on all counts.

The initiative, first championed in this column on
Aug. 18, 2009 as one way to fight the HST, has a real chance of success.

Fight HST volunteer campaign -- which I am part of -- has nearly 5,000 canvassers signed up to take signatures. And my NO BC HST Facebook protest group has over 131,000 members to draw recruits from.

It is a difficult process to obtain the signatures of ten per cent of all registered voters in every one of B.C.'s 85 ridings -- but not impossible at all.

It is not, unfortunately, binding on the government.

But consider this -- 77 per cent of British Columbians oppose the HST according to the most recent polling. And that's before the tax even starts taking money out of their wallets and purses.

Any government that imposes policies strongly opposed by an overwhelming majority of voters is likely to be removed from office.

Think of federal Conservatives after forcing the GST onto Canadians and going from a majority government under prime minister Brian Mulroney to only two seats in the next election.

'Longest political suicide note in BC history'

As NDP MLA Leonard Krog quipped last week, the 213-section and nearly 100-page HST legislation introduced by the B.C. Liberals is
"the longest political suicide note in provincial history."

With the Orwellian and misleading title the
Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act, the B.C. Liberals' Bill 9 may go down as Gordon Campbell's electoral version of Little Big Horn.

In November, B.C. voters can start the
recall process against MLAs who supported the HST -- and they'll have had five months of paying the HST to give them an incentive.

So will the most obvious and simple political calculations cause Campbell to listen to public opinion and cancel the HST?

We'll soon see, but one thing is clear. If the B.C. Liberals win the HST battle to impose the new 12 per cent tax, they will surely lose the political war that it has sparked.



Gary E said...

I just can't shake the thought that this tax was grabbed by Campbell in order to get the 1.6 billion from Harper to offset all the wild spending he did in the last few years. And that the people won't see a dime of the money in ant way except that it keeps the budget numbers lower.

Anonymous said...

Today, the Nova Scotia's NDP government has kicked off a four-year deficit-busting plan by increasing the harmonized sales tax by 2% to make it 15% — making it the highest combined provincial and federal tax rate in the country. Finance Minister Graham Steele unveiled his $9-billion deficit budget on Tuesday, calling it a "smart, strategic and steady" plan necessary to tackle a painful financial outlook. The NDP expects to end 2009-10 with a deficit of $488 million. This coming year, it expects to finish $222 million in the red. "We wish the legacy of unsustainable spending we have inherited didn't exist, but it does," said Steele. "It is our responsibility to deal with it — to clean up the mess — so that Nova Scotia's future is not compromised. Doing nothing is not an option."

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/04/06/ns-budget.html#ixzz0kNAfNYre

SharingIsGood said...

Futher to 6:17 Anon:

Added to this, they are also increasing the rate of income tax for the most wealthy. Note they are not holding a 7-billion dollar party nor are they building a 1/2 billion dollar dome over a stadium. They are thoughtfully reducing their civil service during a recession by 10% over 4 years through attrition, not though handing out pink slips and shipping jobs out of the province.


Anonymous said...

The HST, may pass provincially, however, it has already been introduced, in Federal parliament. All they have to do, is not to bring it forward. All Harper has to do is, shut parliament down again, and that will kill it. Don't forget about the masters of deceit. Dirty tactics, are their forte. We are up against those, who don't hesitate to lie, deceive, thieve, none of that matters to them. Campbell and Hansen are desperate to stay in office, they are scared to death, they will be lynched, if the public learns just how badly, they have destroyed this province. And also remember, Harper bribed Campbell and Hansen to force the HST through, even though there will be thousands of, homeless people in BC. The budget, seems to be done up by a lunatic. There is no way citizens will survive. Campbell has cost BC, 180.000 job losses, and there are destitute citizens, who have lost everything they had. There is no future in this province, what-so-ever.

Anonymous said...

The HST, may fail in BC. However, it has been introduced in the, Federal House. All Harper has to do is, not to have it brought up. Then all he has to do is, once more, close Parliament down, and that will kill it. People just have to understand, we are dealing with the masters of, dirty tactics. Don't forget, Harper bribed Campbell and Hansen to force the HST through, irregardless, of all the people who, will become homeless. The budget, looks like it was made up by a lunatic. Combine that with the, insane budget, there will be thousands of homeless people. People are destitute and, have lost absolutely everything they had. Underground and the barter system, is growing. Each community will feed everyone, in a 100 mile radius. Evictions, have already begun.