Really, what is it with the current Liberal government of B.C. and this seemingly never-to-end HST process?
How simplistic and gullible do they interpret the voters of B.C. to be?
Did the electorate not make it abundantly clear that they were opposed to both the HST and the sneaky way it was brought into legislation?
The former Premier, Gordon Campbell, saw the writing on the wall on this issue. He heard loudly the genuine wrath of an already-wavering electorate over the government’s duplicity in the introduction of the HST.
After wobbling on a loose tightrope over a long and bold series of self-aggrandizing and steamroller tactics that stuck in the craw of voters and the opposition, he simply took his bag or marbles and jumped ship.
Christy Clark saw an opening — catapulted off the radio talk show desk and jabbered herself ahead of a uninspiring lineup of candidates, into the party leadership role — eventually taking over Campbell’s safe seat with a much closer margin than expected.
Clark precipitously jumped with ads proclaiming the government had listened and was responding to concerns. Then the focus became, quite simply, the re-selling of the HST.
If you thought Campbell was opportunistic, he was a slow reader (read, lips moving) compared to the more volatile Clark, who can see a bandwagon to jump on a day away in dusky conditions.
She blathered on breathlessly about listening to the concerns of B.C. families and said she’d fix the problems. I have to say if the pamphlet “HST Referendum Voters Guide” is an example, she’s already reneging and stumbling. What a load of Orwellian double-speak … plus.
Now, seeing little blue signs now in place in local ditches up and down Haisla Hill and en route to Terrace, seems to suggest the HST opposition group that wants us to extinguish the HST has managed to last the time lull and remains active.
Meanwhile the government’s extravagant but child-like $6 million stick-figure TV advertisement campaign asking us to say “no” to the return of the PST, demonstrate that the state of confusion set up by the “question” will likely lead to a lot of people voting mistakenly for something they don’t want. Neither sides’ efforts, so far, to clarify the question seem to be terrible effective.
I hope I’m not seen to be under-estimating the voters but it takes a reading or two of the pamphlet to absorb the oh-so-logical arguments of both sides and that of the so-called “independent panel” of four citizens appointed by the government to show their “hands-off” intentions in the debate.
The panel concedes there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation in the debate about the HST, but notes it isn’t appointed to “tell you how to vote.” But it proceeds to do just that in the remainder of the two pages allotted to its views. The panel expands on the government’s long-term approach with guesstimated job creation and economic growth numbers, created by maintaining the HST. It’s embarrassingly obvious that the panel is not exactly “independent” in making its case. If it was, perhaps it could have quoted us some of the evidence that has emerged since the election to prove how well the HST was working.
Nowhere, anywhere, does the panel address the choke points that electrified and generated the outraged opposition to the HST — that huge grab of added taxation to so many important items that were PST-exempt for years for sensible reasons.
But there’s always a rationale or two around to explain the benefits of newly-introduced taxation. Usually it applies to specific groups, not the general voter. In my view this pamphlet doesn’t do that for me, either.
Every time I walk out of the grocery store (or any other store, for that matter) and look at the tax component of my bill, I’m ready again to help fight the fight.
That sense is heightened when I see government explain that it has heard the voters and is now offering to bribe me with my own money! On top of that, the amount of money so blithely and arrogantly spent to argue me into a different point of view just makes me more determined.