Re: Surrey ridings divided over HST, Aug. 30.
Kudos to Labour Minister Stephanie Cadieux, of the defeated Liberal HST group, for having the sensibility of her job to comment responsibly on the fact that clearly people have spoken and are upset at the government – a government that lied in putting the HST after being re-elected on a platform that clearly said they would not do that, then followed it up by lying even more in their HST referendum signage, which proclaimed the HST at 10 per cent, rather than the current 12 per cent.
As Churchill said, “A lie spoken, and not responded to, becomes truth.”
Shame on the government for having the gall to reinforce their earlier poor judgment, and shame on Elections BC, which, far from the guidelines that clearly stated that false political advertising would not be allowed much less tolerated, stood on the sideline and allowed this disgraceful signage to continue.
No surprise that perennial dour Finance Minister Kevin Falcon refused to even comment.
A wise adage in politics is we get the government we deserve. Let us hope John Q. Public will keep up even half the attentiveness as the government actions in taking an inordinate amount of time –18 months – to rescind what they should not have contemplated in the first place.
Steven Faraher-Amidon, Surrey
• • •
I – as one who voted to keep the HST – am now so very relieved that the HST was voted out.
In retrospect, I am only now realizing that the reason I voted to keep the HST was simple – I was bullied by people who claim to have more power, more knowledge and more authority than myself.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up to people in such formal authority when they are wrong. And the HST was wrong.
The government tried everything in the bully handbook to force this HST through, including trickery, intimidation, manipulation and even resorting to threats, such as the $1.6-billion payback.
Whatever the consequences are of returning to a GST/PST system, returning to our original tax system is the right thing to do. There is absolutely no reason why people should be paying the same amount of tax for the necessities of life – like restaurant bills and clothing – as they are paying for non-necessities of life, like a new plasma TV.
In this way, the PST/GST system has always allowed the poorer people some relief. Maybe it is a bit more paperwork, but there needs to be some kind of exception allowance that the HST did not incorporate. In the end, the HST was recognized as what it truly was, a government money-grab.
Even though I didn’t have the courage to vote the HST out, I want to thank the people who did.
This really has been a victory for ethics in our province. Way to go, people, for voting out this screwed-up tax.
Colin Fletcher, White Rock
• • •
Previous to the HST referendum, the B.C. government had repeatedly pledged to reduce the 12 per cent HST by two per cent if voters opted to keep the ‘amalgamated’ federal/provincial HST.
Unfortunately, subsequent to this ‘commitment,’ there was next to nothing reported by most of the province’s and Canada’s major news media outlets regarding exactly what sort of effect this would have had, if implemented, on B.C.’s finances.
In reality, what a two per cent reduction in the HST would have meant for this province’s finance ministry was an approximately 30 per cent reduction in B.C.’s $4.8-$5.7 billion in annual sales-tax revenues.
Why? Because the 12 per cent HST generates two separate revenue streams: a seven per cent stream that goes to the B.C. government, and a five per cent stream that goes to the federal government. B.C. can only reduce – or raise – the level of its portion of the HST.
So, if the B.C. government had lowered its seven per cent portion to five per cent, that’s two-sevenths – about 30 per cent, or between $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion that the B.C. government would not have received, if the HST referendum had failed, and if the B.C. government had, indeed, kept their word.
Is B.C. better off with the seven per cent PST and five per cent GST?
We are better off with a populace that has the integrity to not be bribed into endorsing what was an egregious breach-of-the-public’s trust and two-facedness by members of the provincial government.
Roderick V. Louis, White Rock
• • •
I, a White Rock entrepreneur and formerly a Socred MLA candidate for Surrey-Green Timbers, celebrated the death of the B.C. HST with friends in a restaurant on the waterfront of Marine Drive.
I was happy to see all the food business owners celebrating the good news as well.
It was insane the way Liberals have shackled the HST on food restaurants. I have experienced the pressure on families with two or four kids coming to my premise to eat lunch or have an ice cream, to add 12 per cent tax on the bill.
We have to go back to the previous system; we don’t have to pay tax in food or utility bills.
The HST does not benefit any ordinary British Columbians.
The Liberals, during the 2009 campaign, explicitly told voters it was not going to harmonize the GST and PST tax. Nine months later, the HST was introduced by an extremely unpopular Gordon Campbell, who was perceived to have lied to British Columbians about his intentions regarding the tax.
So, the entire debacle is a triumph of democracy and a failure of leadership for the Liberals. They will never recover the trust of voters.
It took a leader of great vision to help to obtain a triumph of democracy in B.C. Congratulations to Bill Vander Zalm for his tenacity, hard work and perseverance to end the HST. Today, he shine like a star.
Victoria Kedzierski, White Rock
An open letter to BC Liberal and New Democrat Party MLAs.
There has already been a lot of gloating and pouting in the hours since the referendum results.
Get over it.
There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the cost. This too is just another form of pouting.
With the HST on its way out, why don’t we all stop, take a breath and recognize this as an opportunity of our own making.
• Let’s use this as an opportunity to address the problems in the PST;
• Let’s use this as an opportunity to rationalize government services and expectations of government;
• Let’s use this as an opportunity to review what government charges for royalties on natural resources.
• Let’s use more of the most precious non-renewable resource – the creativity of all British Columbians, and not just a bunch a academic economists – to produce a PST for the 21st century.
Rob Scagel, Surrey