Chris Delaney: Gordon Campbell's HST is a costly betrayal

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      By Chris Delaney

      “Nobody really likes Gordon Campbell, and nobody really knows why,” a former British Columbia premier once observed about the current officeholder. With Campbell’s recent announcement of the harmonized sales tax, now we know why.

      Having won a third majority after promising no new taxes, the premier slapped struggling British Columbians with this new tax, and in so doing, slapped them in the face just weeks after they trusted him. In an economy that is already fighting for its life, the damage of this tax—to tourism, the restaurant industry, housing, construction, manufacturing, forestry, consumers, families, charities, and renters—will be devastating.

      We are told this tax will make B.C. more competitive. Competitive with whom? Newfoundland and Labrador? New Brunswick? Nova Scotia? The three poorest provinces in Canada which already have the HST? When has increasing taxes ever made an economy more productive or competitive?

      If you answered “never”, move to the front of the line.

      And just what are the federal Conservatives doing proposing an HST for B.C. anyway? Didn’t they promise to eventually eliminate the GST? If so, then why propose a way to collect sales taxes on behalf of the provinces? Or is the HST their tacit admission that we are stuck with the GST forever?

      To get us to “buy in”, the feds are offering B.C. a $1.5-billion “free” gift. When was the last time a federal government gave a province anything for free? With the HST, the feds have simply found yet another way to rape the B.C. treasury. Try to imagine what the remittance calculations will look like once federal accountants determine what our “portion” of that tax will be. Better still, try to imagine what will happen if there are any ongoing disputes between B.C. and Ottawa that could temporarily “delay” B.C.’s cheque when it comes due.

      The Liberals say this will help business by allowing them to receive “credits” for PST the same as with GST. But can’t that be done without combining the two taxes, and without applying PST to everything the GST applies to?

      If you answered “yes”, move to the front of the line again.

      The HST has only one purpose—to increase taxes by applying PST to goods and services that were previously exempt. It is a naked tax grab for both the federal Conservatives and the B.C. Liberals. Governments that really want to stimulate business and consumer growth look for ways to cut or eliminate taxes, not create new ones.

      Ask yourself, do you want B.C.’s economy to be more like Alberta’s with no PST, or more like Nova Scotia’s with an HST?

      This latest Campbell government betrayal is just one more in a long line: the sale of B.C. Rail and the resulting influence-peddling charges by the RCMP, the Recognition Act, the carbon tax, cap and trade, shady lobbyists, the Doug Walls affair, German-built ferries, Olympic boondoggles, the convention centre, the RAV Line, the carving up of B.C. Hydro, the destruction of e-mail evidence in the B.C. Rail criminal trial, and now the HST.

      So what is the solution?

      If you answered “the NDP”, move to the back of the line.

      It took the NDP eight days to come out in opposition to the HST. And that’s not because Carole James forgot her cellphone while on vacation. We all know that socialists love new taxes like the HST. And as much as I hate this tax, I would have even paid the extra seven percent to be a front-row fly on the wall during James’s caucus meeting on it: “What a great idea!” “Think of all the money we could spend!” “Why didn’t we think of that?!” Then Carole chimes in: “But wait, the people hate it.” The room groans: “Aaaaaawwww.” Carole: “I know! How about we oppose it, for now?” Wink. Wink.

      The HST is proof positive that the B.C. Liberals and the NDP are two sides of the same coin of “big government”. The NDP is big government on behalf of big labour, and the Liberals are big government on behalf of big corporations—and in both cases, you pick up the tab.

      We need labour, we need corporations, and we need small businesses and jobs, but we also need a government that acts on behalf of the general interest. A government that knows its proper role is as a referee between competing interests, not an advocate for one over the other.

      B.C. Conservatives want to conserve what is best about B.C., but make government smaller. Not so you fall through the cracks, but so you can get ahead and grow and prosper. The B.C. Liberals’ wasteful, profligate, and counterproductive spending and increased tax burden to pay for it all are signs of a failing, dictatorial government that is totally out of control.

      It’s time for it to stop. Government is no longer the solution; it has become the problem. The HST is all the evidence we need of that.

      Chris Delaney is the deputy leader of the British Columbia Conservative Party.



      George Wilkins

      Aug 7, 2009 at 2:52pm

      1) Competitive with Ontario. Good job for missing this important fact.
      2) The HST is a significant tax reduction for businesses, which provide jobs and run the economy.
      3) The "TAXES ARE EVIL" position makes no economic sense. Please educate yourself and your party.

      Jim Wexley

      Aug 7, 2009 at 3:30pm

      Very well written article. I will vote for Chris Delaney in 4 years. Also, Gordo can suck ballz.

      William Baillie

      Aug 7, 2009 at 6:10pm

      In reference to Wilkins's "fact" about Ontario, I understand it is a "fact" that Ontario does not currently have the HST, so it would not be possible to compare how competitive the HST will make BC with them. We only know how its done where it has been implemented, and that ain't too good. And you missed the point about reducing PST for business without harmonizing it. I hope the premier didn't review the HST concept as sloppily as Wilkin's did this article.

      you know "Bob"

      Aug 7, 2009 at 6:46pm

      the man who wrote this article should be elected premier. nuff said.

      David Wade

      Aug 7, 2009 at 11:16pm

      "The "TAXES ARE EVIL" position makes no economic sense. Please educate yourself and your party." ~George Wilkins
      Taxes in times of economic recession or depression have time and time again proven to have negative effects on the economy by increasing leakages and the amount of money that circulates in the economy. A tax like the HST could devastate an already fragile economy and Chris Delaney makes a valid point. Screw premier, lets let this guy run our country, better yet lets send him south cause we all know they need a lot more help than us.

      boris b. bray

      Aug 7, 2009 at 11:36pm

      Has Mr. Cambell even passing with the Laffer curve?
      ( At a certain point, government attempts to get more revenue result in less).
      Less funds and less votes, especially from what might be regarded as the usual Liberal constituency.
      Was the carbon tax mentioned?
      Does somebody need their medication adjusted? Wouldn't it be better to stay drunk in Hawaii? Don't you wish someone could?

      Norman Farrell

      Aug 8, 2009 at 12:03am

      I heard one Liberal claimed that $8 billion is (was?) to be spent building private power generation facilities. These capital assets would under existing rules attract 7% PST that is not recoverable as is 5% GST. After HST kicks in, the owners get all the sales tax paid returned to them.

      If indeed the private power producers were spending $8 billion, Premier Deceiver is gifting them $560 million, the amount of eliminated PST.

      We don’t know all details of the BCR sale. Perhaps that has a relief clause hidden under the redacting ink to eliminate PST.

      The most open and accountable government in history, it was to be. Lucky for them the main press in this province is corrupt. A strange exception happened at a small Canwest paper:


      Aug 8, 2009 at 9:10am

      Hoping to separate out the Neocons from the BCLIberal party send them to join up with you guys at the BC Con party. Sort like a giant emetic.

      Would you support Kevin Falcon for Leader?

      I'm with you Chris. You go guy!!!.

      Jim Gnazium

      Aug 8, 2009 at 9:21am

      Delaney has no idea what a socialist is if he thinks NDP'ers are socialists. We need someone with brains and an open mind as premier, not him or Gordo or sold-out James.
      What's really wrong with the HST is that it hits low- and middle-income citizens harder than high-income and corporate types. The BC Liberals love that idea because they are right-wing BigCorp elitists who look for ways to pamper business by screwing the rest of us; they need to go, and we're the ones who need to do the shoving.


      Aug 8, 2009 at 10:11am

      Mr. Delaney should be aware that the NDP was attacking the BC Liberals as soon as the HST was announced. It appears he doesn't know what he is talking about as it is his federal counter-parts that are pushing this tax. This is just political fluff from him.