Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Canadian Taxpayers Federation and BC Chamber of Commerce betray members by supporting HST

Canadian Taxpayers Federation and BC Chamber of Commerce won't fight HST for taxpayers and small businesses - they like it!Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday April 27, 2010

By Bill Tieleman

With the overwhelming
majority of B.C taxpayers fighting the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax, you would think a group called the Canadian Taxpayers Federation would be leading the charge.

But you would be dead wrong. They could care less.

And with thousands of restaurants, realtors, developers, accountants, and other businesses facing an extra seven per cent imposed on the goods and services they provide, you might presume chambers of commerce are trying to stop the B.C. government's HST.

Wrong again. They love it.

Who really is the 'voice of business'?

Amazingly, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce actually strongly supports the HST, with its president John Winter one of the only HST cheerleaders in the province.

"The HST has our support... This is the Voice of Business speaking," Winter
said last year.

But wait a minute -- is Winter truly the Voice for B.C. chambers?

Because at the local level, some chamber members -- especially restaurant owners, realtors and developers -- have to be asking why the heck they pay good money for Winter to go around supporting a tax they believe will harm their businesses and the economy.

Nearly 80 per cent of North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce members surveyed
said they are opposed to the HST on their businesses, with 68 per cent saying it will have a negative impact on their businesses.

And a Kelowna Chamber of Commerce member survey found that 64 per cent believe the HST will have a negative impact on the economy while less than ten per cent
think it will be positive.

And as businesses like A&W Restaurants and Serious Coffee in southern Vancouver Island
open their doors to help volunteers gather signatures for the Fight HST citizens' initiative petition led by former premier Bill Vander Zalm, it sounds like the chamber isn't speaking for its members.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation lies down

Then there’s the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's B.C. branch, which is not opposing the HST despite their
slogan, which says they are a “citizen's advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes, less waste and accountable government."

Really? Not from what I can see.

When it comes to the HST: "Simply saying NO is not realistic," says the Federation's website.

"The provincial and federal government have entered into an agreement including a $1.6-billion carrot to the province that is not likely to be reversed."

And B.C. director Maureen Bader
says:"The HST is not going away. It doesn't matter how many petitions there are, or how outraged people are -- and they are really outraged about it -- the government is not going to back down."

Talk about giving up on taxpayers desperately who actually want to stop the HST!

When the HST was first announced last July, Bader even
praised the idea.

"In theory, it's a good thing. In the short term it's bad for families, but over the long run it should help with economic growth and increase incentives to work and invest in the province," Bader said.

Petitions filling up fast

These days the Federation is more concerned with getting a municipal vote for businesses and criticizing MLA pensions than opposing a new $2 billion a year tax that would hit all consumers and devastate small businesses. They do say taxpayers are "rightly" outraged by the HST but that’s about it.

nd despite 145,000 people having signed the Fight HST Initiative petition, and before the planned July 1 imposition date, the Federation has its own campaign online -- to get the HST not stopped but simply lowered after implemented!

Forget about the Federation even posting links to
Fight HST or the NO BC HST Facebook page for its members who actually do want to stop this tax -- they're nowhere to be seen.
But you can find a link to the B.C. government website!

A Taxpayers Federation that won’t fight a terrible new tax and a Chamber of Commerce that won’t represent small business -- no wonder British Columbians are furious at more than just the HST.

* * * * *

Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver residents can sign the Fight HST petition from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday May 1 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


Anonymous said...

Maureen Bader knows politics and how to ;pitch; a line, but she has never done any original research and wouldn't know it if she saw it.

Anonymous said...

"...but you would be dead wrong. They could care less."

No, they could NOT care less. ;)

Brendan said...

Are you blind Bill? Open your eyes and read your own writing. CTF slogan is "...group dedicated to LOWER taxes...". As Maureen says, "Simply saying NO is not realistic,". I totally agree. Liberals are completely in the wrong the way they brought this in but it isn't going away no matter how much wishful thinking there is and the best we can hope for is a compromise on the level of taxation.

Solocanoe said...

when the "haves" and "the have nots" join forces against the "have mores" (the richest)

that makes the HST soo important as a catalyst

Brendan doesnt get it. Every signature that goes on a petition that was a liberal vote in the last election, wont be next time.

Harmony said...

"Because at the local level, some chamber members -- especially restaurant owners, realtors and developers -- have to be asking why the heck they pay good money for Winter to go around supporting a tax they believe will harm their businesses and the economy."

This is hardly surprising. Winter represents big business interests not small businesses.

And why are these the only local Chambers quoted? Is it because they are among the few whose numbers reflect the position taken by FightHST and not truly representative of the business community as a whole?

I question Mr. Tieleman's objectivity in making vague claims. I could just as easily say "some people are in full support of the HST as the best thing BC can do to help it's economy". It's true but outside of Campbell, Hansen and up to 47 other MLA's who believes it?

Anonymous said...

"when the "haves" and "the have nots" join forces against the "have mores" (the richest)"

The Fight HST movement?

Led by a "has-been" joining forces with a "wannabe" and the third a "once-was" to achieve a "remove-it"

Opie Dopie said...

So when the BC government invokes closure and legally ends debate over HST on Thursday, will that apply to just the Legislature or to everyone? Personally I've had enough of the pro/con snoozefest. Let's try to learn from it, like how did we get into this mess in the first place?

B.C. director Maureen Bader says:"... -- the government is not going to back down."

Sounds like she knows what she's talking about. So if we can't do anything but hope the Liberals cave under the pressure, then what is everyone wasting their time for? Does it feel good to stand up and yell "I'M MAD AS HELL and I'm.. I'm.. well I guess I'm going to take it after all because my only option, as a result of my support of our current system, is to write my name on a meaningless piece of paper.

Okay, so not everyone supports the system. Those of us who don't are now standing here, saying we tried to tell you last year but you decided to listen to people like Bill Tieleman instead.

Ironic, isn't it that these words were written by the same Bill Tieleman: "no wonder British Columbians are furious at more than just the HST."

Bill Tieleman said...

Anonymous 12:16 - there is actually quite a debate on the use of "could care less" vs "couldn't care less" going back to at least 1970.

A Google search finds 4.7 million references to "They could care less" and about 1 million on "They couldn't care less".

Those interested in grammar debate can take this up with each other but my view is that both can be correctly used - a position that is taken by many far erudite than myself.

But then again, I could care less!

Anonymous said...

I could care less; but I'd have to try really hard. I couldn't care less means I care as little as I can right now. Simple eh?

Brendan said...

You must be right Solcanoe as I have no idea what it is you're saying I don't get. On the other hand, I don't agree with your prediction for 2013. A lot of them, certainly. Most of them, possibly. All of them, unlikely.

And even so, the HST will still be here. I look forward to more than enough signatures being gathered so that everyone can see what a pointless show this is.

But the same electoral swing would happen with or without this farcical signature gathering campaign. Those formerly Liberal supporters who have seen enough arrogance will switch their allegiance whether they buy into the pipedream or not. Do you get what I'm saying?

mark crawford said...

Brilliant Bill. They are not really opposed to taxes, and they are not really opposed to deficits. It all depends on who the taxes and the deficits are for. This was an opportunity for the CTF to side with the ordinary taxpayer and they failed the test.

The obvious truth is that you can't have Alberta income taxes without oil revenue--unless you shift the burden on to ordinary taxpayers. That is the mistake BC has made