Monday, August 17, 2009

One Way We Can Say 'No!' to the HST

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.



Lee said...

Strangely coincidental that Madame Justice Bennett receives a cushy appointment that forces her to remove herself from the much will you bet me that the prosecutor selected by Gordon Campbell goes straight for the judgement and drops all efforts to be fair and all things Campbell, sneaky and under the radar til it's too late to stop him. If we let him continue he'll walk away smelling like a rose. I smell something fishy myself Bill and I bet there's a trail of slime back to the leaders.

Lee said...

1.6 Billion from the feds to prop up health care and he's announcing how much in cuts?...1.6 B should have mitigated the need to make those cuts, shouldn't it?

How come gaming revenues haven't been distributed to their programs???? where is the money going Gordo?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion the Liberal gov of BC is a collection of very sick and mentally disturbed people.When you see this psychopathic head case on TV his eyes are spaced out and his skin looks like the underside of a farm fish. Does he have a medical problem or a mental problem .The mental problem is running rampant with his cabinet clones.
How could any landed immigrant vote for this very corrupt party.?
When these immigrants are told how to vote is there anything in it for them.?Any immigrant that supports this corrupt gov will have some very tough times down the road. Mentally ill Campbell and his supporters do not do anything for working people .I do not plan on supporting any immigrant.anonymous

Anonymous said...

only an effectively organized campaign can do this work.

after seeing how the NDP organized the last election campaign, I do not think that they have what it takes to get the job done.

I remember how Campbell organized a petition over the fudge it budget.

It would be nice for him to taste his own medicine but good luck.

Anonymous said...

The NDP couldnt organize a lemonade stand

Temujin said...

How can you say the extra $1.9 billion will go straight to big business? Businesses will still have to remit the taxes to the government quarterly (or monthly), it's not like they get to keep that money.

The benefit to big business is in reduced paperwork, but we aren't talking about a billion dollar windfall for business. I run a small business which currently charges 5% GST to customers. the HST will not help me at all, but will make it so that I have to charge my customers more via taxes, and make it tough when it comes time to remit the taxes back to government. I'll be remitting nearly 2.5 times the amount I currently remit.

I hate the proposed HST, but it's a little disingenuous to say businesses are going to reap a $1.9 billion windfall.

Anonymous said...

The HST and its billion plus federal pay-out is nothing but a desperate quick-fix by a sociopath to pay for the over blown security costs of his 1936 Berlin Olympics, sorry I mean Vancouver 2010.

BC's glorious "Leader", will do what is ever necessary in order to stand on the podium and take the party salute.

Over the next six months,there will be an endless run of governments cuts to pay for this propaganda circus so that Adolf Campbell can be seen as the greatest Leader in all of BC's history.

And CanWest/Global will be there to tell and sell the myth.

Oh, and don't forget the thousands of state-security-forces who will do their "usual best" to protect the Genius of Cascadia.


PeterB said...

Anti HST video - going viral on Youtube.

Anonymous said...

The Green Party today issued a press release announcing that they Support the HST with amendments. Apparently, it was in their policy manual.

At least one of our political parties thinks about how to pay for things before announcing them ... hey!

Henri Paul said...

Anonymous..10:05 AM Said in part,
At least one of our political parties thinks about how to pay for things before announcing them ... hey!
Aah could you run that one by one more time, me no understands your language.

Anonymous said...

People need to review the HST themselves and make their own decisions good or bad. Tax any tax is a bad word that gets people all worked up. Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil for our social state that we seem to want but do not want to pay for.

Things you mention on your facebook posting that are not necessarily true. You mention businesses get the PST returned to them in the way of a tax credit. True some businesses do usually manufacturing businesses, however if you do not purchase goods for manufacture then you don't get a tax credit. How many businesses are in this situation? I don't know, but your information is not entirely correct. With the HST for companies making less than $10 million a year they will be entitled to intput tax credits (ITCs) whether in manufacturing or not so the cost of the tax is not passed on and taxed again as it is with the PST. Business with revenues over $10 Million ("Big Business"), will not have this for the first 5 years or however long it will take to phase in. That is substantial for those businesses, and a substantial gain for the government not having to pay to tax credits out, hopefully BC residents will see the benefit.

You mention input tax credits (ITC) but do not mention that any ITC in excess that have to be paid back to the government. Thses 'excess ITCs' can help the cash flow of the business, because it ( the business) holds the funds (cash) for at least one month before having to remit. For some businesses it can be a substantial amount of cash that can be used without interest, like a credit card.

Do you know with certainty that all the money from the HST will not be used towards health or education?

Is not attracting more business to BC a bad thing? Many of BC people are employed by business big and small, remember when BC was a wasteland under the NDP because big business did not want to touch BC? What happened to mining in BC? It was dead, many northern communities disappeared. What about those people? Do you care, apparently not.

Why don't you inform people and let them make their own decisions instead of telling them one side of the story. News does not sell if it does not stir up contreversy which is what the media and yourself do because it is good news.

Have you checked your personal income tax, notice that you have been paying less that last few years, did you write about that with such enthusiasm? I think not because it is not interesting. Well as a business owner you should know if a revenue stream dries up you have to find another to replace it to stay in business, same with tax.

Everyone harps on the restaurant industry and paying more for a meal, but servers in the industry give bad service and EXPECT a tip of 15-18% or more???? I know people in the food service industry some days they make more tips in a night than I do in a day or two working a regular job that pays well, and they don't declare that income, or only declare a portion.

At this date the rules have not even been finalized, how do you know what will be exempt and what will not?

Politician and Tax do not go together and just tends to make people angry. They are a necessary evil and the NDP are the same as the Liberals, any political party is bad because of the systems and people in place to support and advise them. If we want the social programs and a better BC someone has to pay for it,and that is us the people of BC. If you don't want to pay the taxes then we lose something, I am sure people to understand that but they seem to forget when you throw tax and increase into the conversation

The real story always gets lost, as the most vocal only tell one side of the story, it is up to each of us to sit down read about the HST and make our own informed decisions instead of reading and listening to others.

David in North Burnaby BC said...

Vander Zam keeps saying the rally is at Canada Place, Bill, not the Art Gallery. Please double check your info as we don't want people going to the wrong location on the day, we want the maximum crowd we can get out there.

Unknown said...

It seems to me that there are two possible scenarios regarding Campbell's decision to bring in the HST.
#1 His government truly did not know the extent of the shortfall in government revenues before or during the election.
#2 They lied about the HST etc.
If #1 is true, then they are obviously financially incompetent to rule. And, if #2 is true, then they are obviously morally incompetent to rule!

Anonymous said...

From your blog:

"Tieleman, who marries a considerable journalistic talent with one of the smartest political minds in the province, has been writing more web-exclusive material. And his coverage of the Basi-Virk trial is a must-read -- whether you're an insider or an outsider."

- Sean Holman, editor,, columnist, Glacier Media
This also from Sean Holman:

Don't blame the politicians - blame yourselves!

Are you angry with the provincial Liberals over their decision to introduce a harmonized sales tax? Are you questioning whether the New Democrats have what it takes to form government? Well, recent polling suggests you might be. So I bet you're thinking, "Wouldn't it be great if British Columbia had a viable third or fourth political party? Wouldn't it be great if there was an alternative to the province's predictable left-right politics?" To which I respond, "Wouldn't it have been great if you had voted for electoral reform?" Because, in the last election, most of you didn't.

Most of you voted against an opportunity to put the province's political parties on notice - an opportunity to give an opportunity to smaller parties and independent candidates - keeping both the government and the opposition honest between now and 2013. So maybe you should think about that the next time you vote against electoral reform.
Not that YOU will give it any thought but it's something for everyone else to think about. There's a video also at Public Eye. Short and sweet but oh so true.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:56

Your so-called lemonade stand had a 323B debt upon Liberal inheritance under Gordo. Your master now has 'managed' it to a projected debt in 2012 to ......waitforit.....64BILLION!!!! Most of which were easy times served up at no cost or effort to the Liberals.

Thank God for truth seekers like you to point out such facts.