Bill Vander Zalm: Fight against HST is chance to take back democracy in B.C.

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      By Bill Vander Zalm

      I have just returned from the first leg of a provincewide tour to promote the Fight HST citizen initiative petition to repeal the harmonized sales tax. The response has been nothing short of phenomenal.

      Hundreds upon hundreds of people have turned up on short notice at meeting after meeting across the north to sign up as canvassers, captains, and organizers for our petition. In my entire 25 years in B.C. politics, as a councillor, mayor, MLA, cabinet minister, and premier, I have never seen anything even remotely like it.

      The campaign to defeat the HST has ballooned into something much bigger and even more significant than protesting an unjust, illegal, and unethical tax. As profound as those arguments are, there is something deeper and even more powerful afoot.

      People are rising up to take back their democracy.

      There is a sense by many, many voters that what precious little democracy we have is rapidly disappearing. A sense that if they don’t take a stand now, they may never be able to hold politicians accountable again in the future. Everywhere, people tell me that, if over 85 percent of the citizens are against something and not one single member of the government will stand up to represent them, there is something desperately wrong.

      They fear that the democratic system is collapsing before their very eyes. They sense that an agenda is unfolding which they neither approve of nor even understand at times. They watch TV, turn on the radio, or pick up a newspaper, and can’t make sense of anything they see or hear. And they sense that it is not an accident. The effort to stop the HST has become an effort to prevent a dictatorial and out-of-control government from running roughshod over the people, their Constitution, and their rights as citizens in a free and democratic country.

      I had no idea when I began my simple “letter to the editor” protest against the HST that I would unleash such a force. I hoped people would get as angry as I was and speak to their MLA or write the premier to let them know how they felt. Instead, they are lining up to make this initiative process work for the sake of their freedom and the future of their democracy. It is both humbling and inspiring at the same time.

      To those who have given up and think it can’t be done, I say come and join us. We have a three-phase strategy to defeat this tax and take back our democracy. First, we will complete the first successful citizen initiative petition in Canadian history. Second, we will launch a legal challenge to the HST, which we believe contravenes Section 92 of the Constitution Act that grants exclusive authority to the B.C. legislature to set and collect direct taxes for the raising of provincial revenues. Finally, we will initiate recalls of specifically targeted MLAs and perhaps even the premier himself should they reject the wishes of those who pay their salaries—the voters—as expressed in the citizen initiative.

      This three-phase plan will only work if we make it work. It is that hard. But when our very democracy is at stake, what do we have to lose by trying?

      It is time for the people to be heard instead of the politicians. It is time for the people to set the agenda instead of the politicians. It is time for the people to stand up and take back their democracy.

      For the first time in Canadian history, that is about to happen.

      Bill Vander Zalm is the leader of Fight HST and a former B.C. premier.

      {poll node='299344'}{/poll}

      Comments

      24 Comments

      seth

      Mar 24, 2010 at 12:33pm

      Make sure Bill that you avoid at all costs getting on the podium with Carol James. By the time she's done most of us are so depressed we feel like drinking that cup of hemlock. Try to get the NDP to send Jenny Kwan along - bright and inspiring.

      A second plank in your battle has to be the vast unreported BCHydro pirate power scam with taxpayer loses exceeding $50 billion.

      People don't realize that Gordo's 33% over three year BCHydro power rate hike is just the slow boiling of the frog technique. Next year it will be 50%, the year after 75%. until it hits the 125% needed to cover current IPP commitments.

      This is a lot bigger than the GST.

      Check out my comment in Will McMartin's column for details.

      http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/03/22/Finavera/
      seth

      0 0Rating: 0

      sean

      Mar 24, 2010 at 5:44pm

      Has everyone forgotten how vander zalm introduced the shock doctrine in bc in the early 1980's? That grade three educated traitor is totally invalid.

      0 0Rating: 0

      glen p robbins

      Mar 24, 2010 at 7:10pm

      Bill Vander Zalm has made it pretty clear that he isn't interested in a political comeback --- so he isn't "valid" insofar as his premiership is concerned, however political initiative and other were introduced to BC by Zalm -- the anti-HST message he leads is very "valid".

      Naturally, I would ask Bill to consider a cabinet position in a glen p robbins BC Conservative government---finance?

      0 0Rating: 0

      Democracy Proponent

      Mar 25, 2010 at 6:59pm

      Sean's comment about Bill is so lame it defies comment - other than to say that only a bought and paid for Liberal could shoot the messenger of a great idea (Bill and his Citizen Initiative) while supporting the messenger of a bad idea (Gordo and his HST). Come on Liberals, you can disguise your pathetic defenses of the HeiST better than that!

      0 0Rating: 0

      glen p robbins

      Mar 26, 2010 at 6:07pm

      A significant amount of time and energy will go into this Initiative. No-one is paying Bill to do this and he has publicly stated he isn't interested in politics. My sources have told me that one shouldn't presume Bill supports the BC Conservative Party--and he obviously doesn't support the BC Liberals.

      Bill has joined with BC NDP Leader Carole James on the anti-HST campaign. He is a private citizen while she is the Leader of the Opposition.

      One -- maybe two in ten voters support the HST---9 out of 10 in this roll-poll do not support it --- similar numbers from pollsters.

      I suspect Democracy Proponent is likely correct---"Sean" must be a Liberal supporter and has inadvertently made the case for Bill Vander Zalms anti-HST 'leadership'--by calling him down personally instead of trying to make the case for the HST as economically advantageous -- which is at the heart of the subject.

      0 0Rating: 0

      Dale R Tortorelli

      Apr 19, 2010 at 6:20am

      The HST will devastate the already damaged development sector of the economy. Most new homes are priced higher far higher in fact than the 500,000.00 limit on taxation levels. The Hst will apply to land, food and other previously untaxed items.
      I was never a supporter of Bill when he was in power but his point that the government should not be proceeding with a policy that is opposed to this degree by the pubic is well taken and more than any other issue could result in Cambells downfall.

      0 0Rating: 0

      L. Adam

      Apr 26, 2010 at 9:01pm

      It's too bad the anti-HST advocates don't understand economics or finance. The HST makes the economy more efficient than the current PST + GST system. A more efficient economy benefits everyone.

      The anti-HST activity only benefits Bill Vander Zalm (who craves the limelight).

      0 0Rating: 0

      keven

      May 4, 2010 at 4:06pm

      you suck if your not on bill vender zalms side!

      0 0Rating: 0

      safista

      May 16, 2010 at 11:46am

      EFF THE HST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE GOVERNMENT DOES WHATEVER THEY WANT AND TAKES EVERYTHING FROM US! DEMOCRACY, WHERE IS IT????

      0 0Rating: 0

      spooky

      May 18, 2010 at 1:34am

      "Star Wars" taught us one thing, that even "Darth Vader" can come back from the dark side. Good on Bill for spear heading this! Get rid of the HST!!!! Just we need to get off our collective duffs and sign that petition (the paper sort that is authorized by elections BC)

      I believe that the HST will hurt the little person, the single parent, the family, and well really everyone. If big industry is applauding this they don't realize that if people cannot afford to purchase their products due to the HST making it unobtainable. This will hurt everyone in the end.

      0 0Rating: 0