Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fight HST denounces "biased and unfair" funding and rules on Harmonized Sales Tax referendum announced today

Former Premier Bill Vander Zalm & Bill Tieleman launching successful Fight HST Citizens' Initiative in April 2010 to extinguish the Harmonized Sales Tax

The BC Liberal government has today announced and outrageously biased set of rules and funding decision for the Harmonized Sales Tax - here is the Fight HST news release in full, with links to the BC government news release and backgrounder.
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News Release Thursday April 14, 2011


VANCOUVER – Fight HST is calling today’s BC government announcement of rules and funding in the provincial referendum on the Harmonized Sales Tax biased and unfair to consumers opposed to the HST.

HST leader and former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm said it’s blatantly unfair that the BC Liberal government’s decision and big business HST supporter will spend many times as much promoting the HST as the inadequate amount it will give to HST opponents.

Vander Zalm says the government’s failure to place meaningful restrictions on third party advertising means big business will likely spend millions in advertising to keep the HST, which benefits them through a $2 billion a year tax shift onto the backs of consumers.

On top of that, the BC government will give $250,000 to business groups to spend promoting the HST.

“The government’s announcement today means everything is stacked against ordinary citizens who want to eliminate the HST,” Vander Zalm said. “It is totally unfair, totally biased against the consumers who are paying this terrible tax and want to get rid of it.”

Vander Zalm said that the BC government will spend $700,000 on a mailing to every household that will contain pro-HST propaganda “explaining” the HST, plus give $250,000 to a group opposing extinguishing the HST, plus let business spend as much as it wants privately to keep the HST.

But Fight HST, the grassroots group that led the successful petition signed by 557,000 Elections BC-validated voters to repeal the HST, is not even guaranteed any funding and at most could receive $250,000 – a tiny fraction of the amount government and business will spend to defend the HST imposed by the BC Liberals.

“All we have asked for is a level playing field and what we’ve been given instead is a steep hill to climb with a ball and chain around our ankle – that’s just not right,” Vander Zalm said.

“We will have to depend on the people power that allowed us to succeed with the first successful Citizens’ Initiative petition to extinguish the HST in 2010,” Vander Zalm said. “We will reactivate our nearly 7,000 Initiative canvassers and other volunteers in every one of BC’s 85 ridings and take this fight with government and big business to the people.”

“I am still convinced we will win this Referendum even with outrageously unfair rules because ordinary people know the HST is hurting our economy, hurting restaurants, hurting tourism, hurting new and vacation home sales and so much more,” Vander Zalm said. “People can’t be fooled by a slick government and big business campaign no matter how much they spend.”

Fight HST strategist Bill Tieleman pointed out that the funding for both sides of the HST Referendum is $250,000 each – just half the funding provided to both sides in the Single Transferable Vote Referendum held during the May 2009 provincial election.

And Tieleman says despite the fact that Fight HST is the only organization opposing the HST and led the Citizens Initiative campaign with Bill Vander Zalm as the legal proponent, the government has made no commitment to provide it with any funding.

“There is only one group – Fight HST – that publicly opposed the HST from the beginning, organized the Citizens Initiative, signed up nearly 7,000 volunteers through Elections BC as canvassers and is led by the Initiative proponent – Bill Vander Zalm,” Tieleman said.

“But we fear that the government could even further stack the deck in favour of the HST by denying us the limited and inadequate funding it says is available or giving us only a small portion of that amount and giving the rest to other groups who have not been involved with the Citizens Initiative campaign,” Tieleman said.

Tieleman was President of NO STV, the group which received $500,000 in provincial funding to advocate its position opposed to the Single Transferable Vote in the 2009 referendum.

“If you are going to have a fair debate and let both sides present their views to the public through television, print, radio and Internet advertising, outreach, public events around the province, information leaflets and websites, $250,000 is simply inadequate based on my experience with the STV referendum,” Tieleman said.

“This is a huge province, advertising is very expensive and we are going to get outspent by government and big business by a factor of probably 10 to 1 or more – that’s an unfair fight in the extreme,” he said.

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DPL said...

So the Liberals are at their old tricks again. Guys like Phil Hockstien will be running around collecting big money support for the HST. Who was it said"If you can't win fairly,cheat?

Anonymous said...

Could a complaint be made to Elections BC? Worth giving it a shot...yes I know what will probably happen but....

Anonymous said...

Do you think it's possible to get on a "no-junk-mail" list with the BC Government? I am so sick of this government spending NO money on services for the PEOPLE Of BC or the LAND of BC, but suddenly coming up with enormous amounts of money when it suits their needs.
I don't need your stinking propaganda about the HST, BC Liberals! I'm able to research issues relevant to my life on my own.

Ron1 said...

So the fix is in.

BC Fiberals at their best - a profoundly ethically-challenged party and gov't.

Grant G said...

Hey Bill T....I heard the bird yip yapping and musing about dropping the HST a point or three in the future...

If I`m not mistaken, the agreement the Province inked with Stevie John Lennon Harper doesn`t allow for that until after the 5th year of the deal...

Can you confirm, if true.....

If true that MUST be made known to all...

It`s real easy for Falcon to muse about something like that, then after the HST vote Falcon and Crusty Clark merely say...

Well, we really wanted to drop 1 ..2..3...points off the HST but the Feds won`t let us out of the deal.

Anyway...Bill...I saw you on the TV and heard you on the radio today..

I wouldn`t worry about the HST vote, the HST will be voted gone, the people of BC might have believed the Government and fell for an advertising blitz but not this time...

I suggest to everyone who receives a Government mailer advertising the HST to return it to the mail box with return to sender written on it.

Maybe that would make a good campaign Bill...

The return to sender slap back.


Crankypants said...

Any HST propaganda that finds its way to my door will be unopened and marked "return to sender" and thrown back into the mailbox.

I also have no faith that this proposed mail-in ballot, especially with the current temporary Chief Electoral Officer still holding down that job.

At least we now know that no matter who is at the helm of the BC Liberal Party, it will still be business as usual. "Families First" should be changed to "Families First to Feel the Pain"

Anonymous said...

Are they spending money on NEW mail outs?

Chrusty needs to go!

RonS said...

Clearly this government has to go. I've been saying that since 2001. Corruption at everly level of our provincial government. I'm disgusted!

Gary E said...

Personally Bill I think it's time to stop all this pussyfooting around and restart the recall.
My reasons are that in some ridings the people got complacent thinking that the government was going to have a fair playing field.
There are still some recalls that haven't been started and they should be started now. All of them together. And I am going to look into restarting Cariboo Chilcotin. No more game playing. Start a massive recall.

off-the-radar said...

I was actually thinking about voting yes for the HST (worried about the BC Liberals slashing spending on government services and cutting the public service even more).

Now after this latest evidence of stacking the deck and another stark reminder about the Libs not having an ounce of integrity I will be voting no to the HST (and the $2 billion tax transfer onto the backs of citizens).

Plus the BC Liberals will be hacking and slashing government services no matter what we vote on HST.

DPL said...

Great idea Grant, but unless the Post office has changed things since I left, any such mail does not get returned to sender. May I suggest you email a few Liberals to really comment on the tax.

Anonymous said...

"Clearly this government has to go. I've been saying that since 2001. Corruption at everly level of our provincial government. I'm disgusted!"

So where was this person when we in the NDP needed him in 2005? In 2009?

Let's get some real leadership.

Vote Mike Farnworth

Anonymous said...

I have heard that the HST offers a rebate to low income earners. Is this a new rebate or does it replace the GST rebate? I have hear HST supporters claim that it is a new thing rather than replacing an old federal plan.

Anonymous said...

The Liberals old, dirty tactics or tricks never did stop.

Appealing to Elections BC, will go nowhere, they are a part of the BC Liberal crime family. Have the BC citizens forgot, all of the dirty tactics, Campbell and Craig James pulled regarding the recall? There is no way in hell, we can trust Craig James and Elections BC.

Christy does not have to accept the referendum, even if it is won. What happened to the stacked HST panel, Hansen set up? Not that it matters, all of them are pro HST anyway.

We should have done what was suggested, long, long ago. A general strike, to shut this province down. We have to stop being so civilized, we are dealing with BC Liberal monsters.

Some Egyptian action, is what it will take. You just can't rationalize with someone, who isn't rational and try to go through proper channels. Campbell and the BC Liberals are, sick, sick, sick. And no, Campbell isn't gone. He would never allow Christy to finish all his underhanded, sneaky projects, he and Harper are working on. Christy is only Campbell's mouthpiece.

Whatever the case, Christy Clark, is no different in personality, than Campbell. What has she done so far? Nothing other than, looking cute in a hockey jersey, and saying, aren't I ever a good mom?

She called us, who were opposing Campbell's insanity, the Taliban. Now, isn't that cute, coming from the BC Liberal crime family.

Bill Tieleman said...

Grant G - there is a 5-year deal but no prime minister will refuse to negotiate the end to the HST if a majority votes to do so.

ANON - yes, there is an HST rebate for low income earners that combines the previous GST rebate - but I draw your attention to the word "rebate" - it is intended to compensate for the additional costs of the HST on consumer goods and services.

It is not a "gift" from the BC Liberal government to help the poor - and remember the HST has to be paid up front, while the rebate comes later.

Removing the HST will reduce the cost of basic cable, telephone, restaurant food, haircuts, etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

Not that I'm in favour of more taxes, but ... remove the HST and watch the continued decline of public services.

I ride the bus in New West/south Burnaby and there's a radical reduction in night service starting tomorrow Monday ... post-9 p.m. service is being chopped in half on almost every route. Further, this change was enacted with only two week's notice.

Thanks, Bill ... thanks alot!

Anonymous said...

"Removing the HST will reduce the cost of basic cable, telephone, restaurant food, haircuts, etc, etc."

No it won't.

Bill Tieleman said...

Yes, it will reduce costs for those items just mentioned above - because the extra 7% HST will no longer be applied.

To the previous poster - bus service has nothing to do with the HST! But the HST doesn't provide an extra cent for other public services.

Lee A. Wood said...

The HST referendum is a smoke screen.
They are giving us a choice of HST, which is simpler, or GST and PST which is more complicated, and more costly.
The public doesn't want either one.
What the people want is NO HST, which means no GST, and NO PST.
Less complicated, less expensive, more productive, making B. C. more attractive to outside purchasing and investment.
However, as B. C. isn't a democratic society, what the people want is not on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

How will we know if our votes actually get counted? Will the anti-HST side have any scrutineers there to make sure that it is done fairly? I see the pollsters are already saying it is very close. I can see our votes getting thrown in the garbage and the government being so surprised by their squeaker of a win. I don't trust this bunch at all, especially with Craig James, et al, Liberals controlling the outcome. And even if the no, pardon me, yes side wins, the Liberals say we will not go back to what we had. Isn't that part of the question that we are voting on? What a joke!!!!