Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vander Zalm legal action against HST wraps up; business coalition attacks citizens Initiative next in court

Fight HST lawyer Joe Arvay made an impassioned final argument in BC Supreme Court this afternoon, calling on Chief Justice Robert Bauman to strike down the Harmonized Sales Tax agreement to "ensure accountability for taxation exists."

Arvay's summation - after the court heard provincial government and big business coalition lawyers arguments that the HST was imposed by the federal government and cannot be overturned by the province - came down clearly for responsibility of elected representatives to voters for their actions.

Arvay said the HST agreement signed by BC Liberal Finance Minister Colin Hansen should have been ratified through an Act of the BC Legislature - as HSTs were in every other province that has the tax - but was not.

"If the Executive [cabinet] can enter into this agreement, there is no accountability," Arvay said.

"If in the next election you voted the entire provincial government and the entire federal goverrnment out of office and you still couldn't get rid of the tax - where is the accountability?" Arvay asked, incredulously.

"They're not going to be accountable for giving away BC's taxation ability and not being able to get it back?"

Arvay said it was clear why the BC Liberals didn't pass HST legislation and instead only repealed the provincial sales tax - and he argued that Section 53 of the Constitution Act makes that illegal.

"The government was afraid to go to the Legislature - and that's exactly why Section 53 exists," he said.

Then addressing Baumann very directly, Arvay said the Chief Justice should rule that the BC government Order In Council imposing the HST is unconstitutional.

"Strike down the OIC , strike down the agreement and ensure accountability for taxation exists," Arvay concluded.

A mostly sympathetic courtroom of observers broke into applause for Arvay after Bauman departed.

Earlier, provincial government lawyer George Copley argued that the Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement that implemented the HST is not a law and therefore did not need to be the subject of provincial legislation.

“CITCA is not coercive. It is not a law....It is a federal-provincial agreement, a common understanding,” he said, calling it a perfect example of co-operative federalism. “CITCA does not impose a new tax on British Columbia," Copley said, according to the Globe and Mail's Rod Mickleburgh.

Following Copley, big business coalition lawyer Peter Gall argued similarly that provincial legislation was not necessary because the HST had been approved by federal legislation.

"It is an act of Parliament that imposed the tax and not the agreement that was entered into between the province and the federal government.
"Parliament has the jurisdiction to include B.C in the HST. It's really that simple," Gall told the court, according to Province newspaper reporter John Bermingham.

Note: I was only able to attend the final portion of today's hearing - please follow the links above for full accounts of the Copley and Gall arguments.

The big business coalition begins a separate legal action Wednesday to have the citizens Initiative petition thrown out, arguing that it is a federal matter.



Anonymous said...

From "The Straight Goods"

" The federal government isn`t pushing the HST on any province,the decision to adopt the HST is completely a provincial decision,it has nothing to do with the federal government" snip

Stephen Harper October 13/2009 Port of Vancouver.

Here is what George Copley said in the B.C. Supreme court today......

VANCOUVER - The B.C. government insists the HST is Ottawa's progeny but does not violate the constitution because it is a child of cooperative federalism.

In its response to the B.C. Supreme Court challenge of the legality of the blended tax, lawyer George Copley said Victoria had properly authorized the agreement that led to the HST and legitimately implemented it through legislative measures.

But it is crucial to recognize it is a wholly federal tax, he added.

Copley said the new value added tax framework created by Ottawa is designed to build a stronger economic foundation for Canada and B.C.

Unknown said...

Copleys argument that the HST is not a new tax seems to forget new items which were previously exempt. That is,more goods and service which were exempt from the GST are now included under the HST. That is more taxes are being applied in the process of production. That sounds to me like a a new tax therefore the G&M quote CITCA is not coercive. It is not a law. ... It is a federal-provincial agreement, a common understanding," is a contradiction. It has been enforced without common understanding.

Anonymous said...

you forgot to report that the AG office acted in a perverse manner when it came to the HST

Ed Seedhouse said...

How can Parliament impose a tax on a single province that will be paid only by the residents of that province? How can they call a tax a Canadian tax when it is imposed on only those who purchase goods in a single province? If that is constitutional the country is crazy and we might just as well eliminate the provinces altogether.

How can an agreement, not signed by the crown, nor ever approved by the legislature, made in secret and never ratified by the people, be allowed to stand as law?

Claiming that a tax imposed only on British Columbians and paid only by British Columbians be considered a Canada wide tax? It cannot, and to claim it can is to stand reason on it's head.

Suppose the Canadian Parliament were to impose a dollar per head tax to be paid to the Government of Newfoundland only be the people living in Newfoundlad. How could such a tax stand? It could not.

And suppose that the Canadian govenment collected this tax and sent it all to the government of Newfoundland against the will of the Legislature of Newfoundland. How cold such a tax be legal?

It couldn't! But essentially the same thing is happening here in BC without the approval of the legislature and against the will of the people.

Such an act cannot be legal and we may go further and call it treasonous, for it perverts the order of Government in Canada.

Anonymous said...

10 steps to turn a province into a banana republic:
(how many have we seen with Scampbell?)

1. Rising unemployment and poverty

2. Economic dependence (debt)

3. Declining civil rights

4. Increasing political corruption

5. Militarizing police

6. Failing infrastructure

7. Disappearing middle class

8. Devalued currency (how much is a loaf of bread?)

9. Controlling the media

10. Capital Controls (find out how much your credit union / bank will ALLOW you to withdraw)

Anonymous said...

I hope what I heard is wrong, you guys can not wait to start the recall process untill the spring, that just gives this government more time to lie, steal, and damage this province!!, all you need to do is start on the 5 weakest liberals, and this government will be gone in time for the new year....dont play a waiting game, it will just fall into their hands

Anonymous said...

Without Prejudice ____________________ TCLS ____________________ Errors & Omissions Excepted
Since 1975

QUESTION : Is the Canada HST in BC beyond the law ? ANSWER : Yes !

Dear Bill / NO BC HST :

To VIEW details, please see our HST Ultra Vires BLOG.

Today NO BC HST reported: "Earlier, provincial government lawyer George Copley argued that the Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement that implemented the HST is not a law and therefore did not need to be the subject of provincial legislation.

“CITCA is not coercive. It is not a law....It is a federal-provincial agreement, a common understanding,” he said, calling it a perfect example of co-operative federalism. “CITCA does not impose a new tax on British Columbia," Copley said, according to the Globe and Mail's Rod Mickleburgh."

So, why would TCLS say that this tax implementation is ULTRA VIRES !?

Rod Mickleburgh [Globe and Mail] reported "...The HST is imposed by an amendment to the federal Excise Tax Act, Mr. Copley said. " And, John Birmingham of the Province noted : "George Copley said the agreement between the province and the federal government setting up the controversial harmonized sales tax was “validly enacted.”

Again, to understand the vulnerability of the implementation of this "HST" - please, see our HST Ultra Vires BLOG.

A CLUE : Beyond Whose Law ??? ... The United Nations would have the answer.

SIGNED : TCLS Chairperson RCG

Anonymous said...

Campbell is not about, the good of the people and the province. He is about, giving himself a, 53% wage hike, and walking away with, a $2 million per year pension. His corrupt sale of the BC Rail, which he lied about, feathered his and his business friends, nests very nicely. He also had stolen, our rivers and sold them to his business buddies. Don't forget, Harper's part in the HST. He is a snake in the grass, and, Campbell is his best friend and works for him. Campbell controls, the Judicial system. We have seen too many, serious crimes, swept under the carpet.

kootcoot said...

It will be interesting to see what comes from these suits.

However, I'm not holding my breath as I've come to realize, with no great joy, that justice and/or the law have little to do with what transpires in BC Supreme Court.

The Campbelloids did lose over the issue of tearing up the HEU contracts, but maybe even the Campbell mastery of legal system manipulation couldn't be allowed to extend that far, for that may have threatened the sanctity of ALL contracts upon which their corporate buddies depend to bleed the public - some wise guy might decide to tear up his contract with his credit card provider, or his private natural gas re-seller, or.........

Anonymous said...

There are a good many BC people, who think Campbell controls the Judicial system. The trial of, Campbell's corrupt sale of the BC Rail, is such an obvious farce. Too many crimes, have been swept under the carpet. We are people of little faith in, Campbell and Hansen. We know, anyone opposing Campbell, gets a vendetta. I think our next battle should be, stopping our government from giving, billions of our tax dollars, to banks, large corporations, gas and oil companies. I saw that motion passed, by the entire House, on TV. They also get huge tax reductions. Now the bottomless pits of greed, want the HST as well. This country, is rotten to the core with corruption. BC is the most corrupt province in Canada. This country, has fallen in grace, in the eyes of the world.