by Eva van Loon
The protest petition was wildly successful, garnering more than 150% of the required signatures to take it to the next level.
Vanderzalm’s Fight HST group couldn’t prevent the imposition of the so called Harmonised Sales Tax July 1, but they have every intention of forcing the government to deal with the effects of the petition. For example, two dozen MLAs, from the ridings where the greatest proportions of signatures were gathered, have been listed as potential targets for recall in November. That should light a fire under a few political rumps.
The government has several choices of action once the successful petition is delivered, the simplest and easiest of which is to repeal the HST. But will they take that option, somewhat redeeming themselves—or will their policy of let’s-drag-our-feet-until-the-peasants-get-used-to-the-idea continue?
A recent “report” on the expected effects of the HST must have been commissioned by somebody—somebody who believes the population can still be convinced of the HST’s virtues. Looks as if the government is not yet ready to listen.
Vander Zalm asks, Who paid for the misleading report? His Fight HST team has this to say about this screed we taxpayers probably paid for.
“The once proudly independent Fraser Institute’s recently published report on the HST is so filled with holes it brings into question the credibility of the entire organization,” says former BC premier and Fight HST Leader, Bill Vander Zalm.
Vander Zalm says the report is revealing as much for what it didn’t analyze as for the errors and sloppiness contained in what it did look at.
“For starters, how can a ‘think tank’ publish a paper about such a sweeping tax change without ‘thinking’ about anything but the positive aspects of the tax? Right there you have to question their objectivity.”
Vander Zalm says there are volumes of information regarding the pros and cons of value added taxes in Europe. He says for any report to be credible, it would need to at least address problem areas associated with such taxes.
Vander Zalm says the report assumes a model where business will pass on significant savings to consumers from the input tax credits in the HST.
“This idea is based more on wishful thinking, hoping, and wanting than on reality…. The HST’s greatest impact will be on services, where PST was not previously applied.”
Vander Zalm says the Fraser Institute report is a sham designed to support the government version of the HST.
“The evidence for that is found in the absurd equations used to calculate PST, the ridiculously low estimate of net HST to be paid by consumers, and the fact the report was released just 9 days before the HST is set to take effect...”
What could possibly be the point of such a report other than to prop up a shaky government and its failing policy initiative?
Fight HST’s petition is now under legal attack by a so called “coalition” of business groups, trying to have it thrown out by the court despite 705,643 BC voters signing it. Fight HST have hired a QC lawyer to defend the petition and have the HST declared illegal. HST should be struck down as unconstitutional because the legislature never passed legislation to implement the HST—they only removed the Provincial Sales Tax. Every province with HST passed legislation to implement the tax, except BC, where it became law with a stroke of the finance minister’s pen.
The lawsuit forces Fight HST to raise funds for legal fees to defeat the “Hated Stupid Tax”. Ironic, isn’t it? For the people to have to pay for defeating undemocratic and possibly unconstitutional measures? If you care, any donation is welcome. Send to HST Legal Challenge, 370 East Broadway, PO Box 95023, Vancouver, BC, V5T 4T8 or visit www.fighthst.com. Personally, as one of the poor, I’ll regard Canada Day as the first day of a life with as little buying and selling in it as possible. I’m just so done with the hollow men running this province into the ground.
Gotta hand it to Vanderzalm, though—he’s no spring chicken but he’s got more fight in him than many half his age. Fanta-a-astic!