Better ways than HST to spread the wealth

Re: NDP’s problems go deeper (B.C. Views, Jan. 25)

Tom Fletcher says the HST is the cure for inequality in British Columbia. But few will agree with such a claim, given that the HST is a $1.9 billion tax shift on to the backs of consumers. According to Statistics Canada, the average household will pay $521 more under the HST.

A recent editorial from the international magazine The Economist (The Rich and the Rest, Jan. 22, 2011) – hardly a bastion of left-wing thought – makes the compelling case that the best way to combat inequality and increase mobility is by investing government resources in raising the standard of living for the middle and lower classes, particularly through education. As the editorial states, “Oddly, the urgency of these kinds of reforms is greatest in rich countries, where prospects for the less-skilled are stagnant or falling.”

The B.C. Liberal record for helping low and middle income earners is abysmal. Middle income families found that between 2001 and 2009, B.C. had the lowest growth in average hourly wages and the second-lowest growth in weekly wages in Canada. Since 2001 the minimum wage has been stagnant at $8 per hour — the lowest in Canada – and job growth has been much slower. In fact, B.C. had the worst job loss record in the country last month, losing 22,000 jobs in December.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals have made low and middle income earners pay more in hydro rates, Medical Services Plan premiums and countless other expenses. It’s no wonder that in the past 10 years fewer Canadians moved to British Columbia than in the decade before.

If the B.C. Liberals really want to “combat inequality and increase mobility” then they’ll stop wasting millions of dollars trying to convince British Columbians the HST is a good thing. Instead, they should raise the minimum wage, invest properly in education and stimulate job growth in a green economy.

Bruce Ralston

New Democrat Opposition Finance Critic

Surrey

Just Posted

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Illegal dumping pushes BC Conservation to the tipping point

Terrace office may bring violators to court to seek higher penalties

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day two of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Demand for legalized cannabis in early hours draws lineups, heavy web traffic

Government-run and privately operated sales portals went live at 12:01 a.m. local time across Canada, eliciting a wave of demand.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set to make parole pitch today

Paul Bernardo, whose very name became synonymous with sadistic sexual perversion, is expected to plead for release on Wednesday.

Hero campaign raises $1.1 million for Canada non-profits

Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign was held throughout September

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Streamlined pardon process for pot possession convictions in Canada

Feds say legalization is first step towards objectives of getting pot out of the hands of kids and eliminating black market

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

Most Read