Aside from the where’s-the-pea feeling while completing the ballot and mailing it, the HST referendum sure felt like an election.
A single-issue election.
Although the Comox Valley was among the Liberal-held constituencies opting to reject, every riding that elected the NDP just before the HST was rammed down our throats spurned the tax, sometimes by wide margins.
Some people who hated the way it was introduced — and/or were concerned it favoured corporations at the expense of middle-class consumers — held their noses while voting to retain the Hated Sales Tax.
A clear example of democracy and politics inseparably in action, the referendum led immediately to a government “action plan” to restore a combined 12-per-cent GST/PST tax system, as Finance Minister Kevin Falcon promised to reinstate “all permanent PST exemptions.”
For details about the plan, visit www.fin.gov.bc.ca/pst-return.htm.
Falcon estimates the process will take 18 months and cost B.C. taxpayers about $3 billion, including repaying the federal government’s $1.6-billion bribe.
That damages B.C.’s economy, and gives the provincial Liberals an excuse and an even better reason to be stingy. Good luck with your ludicrous contract demands, B.C. Teachers’ Federation.
Meanwhile, at a time when government has a massive tax restructure on top of all the usual complications of governing 4.5 million people, our premier is not inspiring confidence.
Instead of pretending to be surprised when reporters asked her about a fall election possibility that she broached in the first place, Christy Clark should have put the matter to rest.
Was Clark not listening when Falcon said how much the tax transformation will cost? If she triggers a costly and unnecessary election for this fall, voters might just fire back.
The Liberals ignore at their peril the still-disgruntled mood of much of the electorate.