EDITORIAL: Still seeking HST answers

Whom do you trust?

As the campaign for voters’ hearts and minds in the provincial HST referendum reaches its final stage, most of us seem to have heavy hearts. And according to a recent Angus Reid poll, some of us have such clouded minds we’re not even clear on what the basic question means any more.

Whom do you trust?

As the campaign for voters’ hearts and minds in the provincial HST referendum reaches its final stage, most of us seem to have heavy hearts. And according to a recent Angus Reid poll, some of us have such clouded minds we’re not even clear on what the basic question means any more.

It can’t be doubted that some of the confusion comes from a chorus of raised voices – not to mention stick figures – who accost us daily.

Do we trust Fight HST organizers Bill Vander Zalm and Chris Delaney, whose travelling town hall meeting show comes to Kent Street Activity Centre in White Rock Sunday (June 12, 1 p.m.)?

They play well to the emotions, particularly locally (a point that Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, an Ocean Park resident and Surrey-Cloverdale MLA might want to give closer attention). But while their successful grassroots initiative resulted in the referendum in the first place, they have not been immune to charges of misleading the public on facts.

Neither has the provincial NDP, which has launched a campaign to extinguish the HST and return to the GST-plus-PST structure.

Do we believe their claim that going back to the GST/PST will help balance the budget sooner, as well as save taxpayers $2 billion?

Falcon has attacked NDP Leader Adrian Dix for faulty math, saying the 10 per cent HST rate promised by the Liberals by 2014 is clearly less than the 12 per cent GST/PST rate championed by Dix. Falcon also wonders where the money will come from to “fix the $3-billion hole extinguishing the HST would create?” – possibly forgetting that, for taxpayers, this begs the question of who actually dug the hole.

In the current believability stakes, the BC Liberals come off about as popular as a teen who – not content with taking the family car without permission and wrapping it around a tree – now presents us with the repair bill and a sanctimonious lecture on vehicle maintenance.

Should we believe advertiser-conscious media pundits – who say that what’s good for business is good for the rest of us?

While businesses may be getting a break with the HST, how many have actually passed savings on to the public? They can’t survive on tax breaks alone – the key to business success must be consumers with enough disposable income to buy their goods.

The average taxpayer might be forgiven for wondering if, like Diogenes, one must venture forth with a lamp seeking someone who will give us a straightforward – and honest – answer.

– Peace Arch News

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