Carole James: We can stop the B.C. Liberals' HST tax grab
By Carole James
Since the B.C. Liberals announced the new harmonized sales tax out of the blue at the end of July, I have heard from people from all walks of life and all parts of the province who are united in their opposition to this tax increase.
Families have every right to be concerned that this new tax will hit them hard. It will drive up the cost of everything from the cost of a new home to hydro bills, haircuts, movie tickets, restaurant meals, vitamins, bicycles, Energy Star appliances, and even funerals.
The impact of this will be a particularly big blow to many businesses working hard to weather the economic downturn. Nine out of 10 restaurant operators think the new tax will negatively impact their business, for example, and as a result 71 percent say they might have to cut back on staff and six percent believe they will have to shut down. And the impact of this tax on the construction of housing in Metro Vancouver could be particularly dramatic, since it will drive up the cost of a new $600,000 home by $22,000, and also increase the cost of renovations to existing homes by seven percent.
The B.C. Liberals haven’t been able to offer any proof to back up their claim this will be good for the economy. On the contrary, a study from the C.D. Howe Institute found that the HST would mean a tax grab worth $4 billion over three years.
It’s not just that the HST will make people’s lives harder and hurt businesses during the recession. They’re angry at the B.C. Liberals’ dishonesty. After telling British Columbians they had no plans to impose the HST, the B.C. Liberal government turned around after the election and did just the opposite.
Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen are trying to claim that they suddenly changed their minds after the election because it was only at the end of May that they learned Ontario was bringing in the HST and that the federal government would allow provinces flexibility. But the B.C. Liberal government’s excuses just don’t stand up to the facts. The premier of Ontario started talking about his plans publicly in January, and the federal government’s January budget signalled to the provinces that Ottawa was so keen on expanding the HST that it was willing to be flexible in negotiating the terms.
After having misled British Columbians during the election campaign, now the B.C. Liberals want to raise your taxes without the mandate to do so and without even a semblance of consultation with business and ordinary taxpayers. Everything about the HST says it’s a tax grab by a desperate government that didn’t tell the fiscal truth during the campaign.
That’s why New Democrats are calling on the B.C. Liberals to scrap this tax. And the response has been amazing. Our petition gathered over 10,000 signatures within the first week, and continues to grow. But it’s going to take more than that. Our MLAs right across the province are meeting with businesses and families who will be impacted by this new tax. We have a year to stop this, and if we work together we can.
Carole James is the leader of the B.C. New Democratic Party.
Aug 7, 2009 at 2:52pm
I vote conservative most of the time and even I think that this is hot air. By using the phrase "tax grab" this comes across as just partisan politics.
Look, all provinces are doing it, and it makes sense. There's less 'business bureaucracy', AND my receipts make more sense. The federal gov't is in favor of this, and is willing to finance the changeover, so, what's the problem?
Mark de Bruijn
Aug 7, 2009 at 6:14pm
hst can't happen, we pay 6 and one half months of our pay cheques to taxes alredy. Get real. Canada is only Country that hasn't had a revolution yet. Taxing us to death, and selling our countries businesses and resourses may just be enough to start one.
Aug 7, 2009 at 6:20pm
Oh Carole, thanks so much for championing the cause of us poor suffering folks! But oh yes, could you also promise that, should you be elected in future, your party will NOT raise any tax at all RIGHT NOW? It's enough to deal with one mega LIE, we need some confidence in your words.
Fed up Middle Class Worker
Aug 7, 2009 at 6:57pm
The federal government is going to pay the extra seven per cent tax on my haircut? On my bike? On my energy saving light bulbs? On my bill for eating lunch on the go?
It is a tax grab. It is an out and out attack on the middle class. If Gordon Scandal hadn't given tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks to the richest people in this province he wouldn't be so broke that he is lapping up the federal government's hush money.
The only reason for this tax is to make the B.C. Liberal's pre election books look less cooked.
Aug 8, 2009 at 1:11am
Why is gordo telling us as tax payers what to think or do, i thought this was a democracy not a dictatorship and his lies, gordo wants it his way and his way only. He doesnt care about any tax payer,but remember one thing, we are all tax payers and now we have gordo here to screw us all,
and tell us all why he brags about his wife, and they are separated and she lives some place else maybe he is pissed off and using that to all the tax payers in B.C.
Aug 8, 2009 at 6:21am
I think all of us should quit whining about the new improved hand in our pockets. Think about it for a minute
in 2001 Gord and company promised not to tear up contracts, improve public services, and he did just that. The courts showed (and we paid ) that the contract he tore up should not have been done. We believed him and his promises then. We all should remember the hospital wait lines, splitting of families to different or distant care facilities, Closing of public facilities, court houses, and I could go on for a long time. Then by some miracle just prior to the next election he rolled out the cash truck and (where he found the money just prior to an election is a good question) we told us a story we wanted to hear, we believed him and voted him in again. This past election, he stated along with other members of his party that he had no intent to go to the HST, and we believed him, Hanson stated a magic number for the deficit and once he was elected the number changed. but we believed him. Olympic costs 600 or so million ( I support the olympics). All one had to do one night was watch Question period when Hanson did his cheerleader act and stuck to his 600 of million story. When question about the 2 or so billion being spent on the ?RAV or Canada line, MLA Hawes made it clear the only 600 million of the 2 billion was an olympic cost, by my math that is 1.2 billion. And they expect us to believe then , for some reason most of us do. We must because we have elected them three times, and I would be hard pressed to say we chose the lesser of a number of evils. this list could go on, deputy ministers etc: pay increases, MLA pay increases, BC rail, contracting out our personal information to US companies, and the so called revenue neutral carbon tax.
It will be interesting to see what magic he will work leading up to the next election, and what will be more interesting to see is if we are daft enough to swallow it again. We picked this government with our eyes open, and we got it. We got the government we deserve so quit winning
as a wise man once said, politics is the second oldest profession in the world, and with what Gordon and Company are doing to us , is sure bears a remarkable similarity to the oldest..
Aug 8, 2009 at 10:04am
Wasn't it the NDP's Dan Miller who said the BC government can do anything it wants?
For the next five years, The Gordo has almost absolute power to carry on his environmental and economic destruction of the BC economy until all that is left is rocks and water almost devoid of life, giant corporations, multimillionaires and servants. You with your abysmal campaign highlighted by your inability and/or refusal to fight the Gordo on economic issues bear much of the responsibility for this.
Fact is Carole there are three ways to stop the Gordo. One is Total Recall - ask Kevin Falcon how well that works. With extreme luck maybe a charismatic leader could arise from the ashes you left of the progressive movement who could pull it off. Bill Vanderzalm ain't he.
The second is the faint hope that enough angry and pragmatic NDP and Green party members will abandon their chosen political movements, buy BCLiberal party memberships and join the progressive members of the BCLiberal party in throwing out the Neocon pestilence that has overwhelmed that once "liberal" party. Send The Gordo and his gang over to the BC Con's for Chris Delaney to deal with.
The third and most destructive would be some kind of a massive never ending general strike. This also would be doomed to fail without some sort of charismatic leader.
It would be nice to get some effective support from the NDP but without new leadership there is zero chance of that happening.
Aug 8, 2009 at 10:06am
The BC Liberals have an ideological agenda to defund the government so that social services, including health care, can be diminished while taxes on corporations and the wealthy are cut. But now they realize that they've gone too far. The massive highway expansion they're pushing on us, for instance, couldn't be financed by private banks after the financial meltdown, so now they need some more revenue. They can't raise income taxes on their wealthy patrons, so instead they will enact a regressive consumption tax.
They have shifted the tax burden from the rich to the middle class and poor and have cut services to those same groups. In other words, they're giving most of us THE SHAFT. And only a few months after people were duped into reelecting them.
Aug 8, 2009 at 2:23pm
The 'ndp' are just as corrupt as the 'liberals' or else the ndp would file a "class action law suit against the lying liberals on the behalf of all in B.C.".
I "challange the 'ndp' to make a move that counts"!
Aug 9, 2009 at 9:44am
I just love the Talking Point folks for the Liberals showing up and spouting their brand of quick talking BS. I also love the snide; oh and promise that the NDP won't raise taxes too stuff. Folks, the HST is only the tip of the iceberg with Gordon Campbells Liberals; 2010 is going to cost BC BILLIONS of dollars, The Millennium Line too, as well as his PPP deals and Run of River deals, not to mention BC Rail. People are only upset about the HST because they realize that they are directly being screwed rather than backdoored as the Liberals usually nail them.
Fact is; nothing the NDP ever did (fast ferries, ICBC, bingogate) is anywhere near what the Liberals have been doing to BC since 2001, yet I constantly hear the Liberal supporters go on about how badly the NDP ran things, or how much the FF's cost us. When are they going to face the facts that their beloved leader is selling BC off lock, stock and barrel?
Fight the HST, but remember the real issues too, the Liberals are the worst thing to ever happen to BC.