Canaccord chair Peter Brown claims HST outrage will pass

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      Business tycoon Peter Brown snapped, “Why don’t you ask me about the stock market?”

      It was September 10, two days after the cofounder and chair of Canaccord Financial Inc., the country’s largest non-bank-owned investment dealer, received a lifetime-achievement award from the financial-services firm Ernst & Young. On the phone, he was being pressed for his opinion about Gordon Campbell.

      Brown—who also chairs the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based free-market think tank—eventually relented and recalled some words spoken by his late friend Jack Poole, the developer who helped Vancouver win the 2010 Winter Olympics.

      “From a business perspective, I think that we have been very fortunate to have Gordon Campbell as premier,” Brown told the Georgia Straight. “Following the last NDP government, we were a very demoralized population. As the passed [deceased] Jack Poole said, ”˜Gordon Campbell gave us our swagger back,’ which is a phrase I like a lot. I like to use that.”

      Brown, one of the most influential business leaders in the province, was an early supporter of Campbell. He’s also among the biggest financial backers of the B.C. Liberals.

      According to Elections B.C. records, Canaccord contributed at least $230,000 to the party between 2005 and 2009. As an individual donor, Brown gave the B.C. Liberals $55,000 during the same period.

      In the interview, he said that Campbell and the B.C. Liberals have done a better job compared to other provincial governments of managing public funds and building infrastructure amid serious global financial challenges.

      Brown thinks the public outrage over the harmonized sales tax will pass, “because the HST is a vastly superior and fairer tax than the PST [provincial sales tax]”, he said.

      A former fundraiser for the Social Credit party, Brown is contemptuous of ex–Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm, leader of the Fight HST movement that’s hounding Campbell.

      “I envy Vander Zalm,” Brown said sarcastically. “It would be nice to go through life not anchored by the truth. That’s why he smiles so much.”

      When reached by phone, Vander Zalm told the Straight that he’s no fan of Brown. “I guess he’s fighting the premier’s fight because first of all, when you got his kind of money, you’re not bothered by taxes,” the anti-HST leader said, “and you’ve got friends in government that other people don’t have. That’s the difference.”

      According to Brown, Campbell may even win a fourth term. “Every time government does something, it pisses somebody off,” Brown said. “There are very few people that go four terms, because people say, ”˜Oh, it’s time for a change. You know, we’re getting used to that guy. We don’t like some things he did.’ Well, you know what? There will never be a premier that we like everything he did. On balance, this guy has given us very good government and restored a positive attitude in the province that would have been seriously damaged by the previous administration. So, you know, is it going to be easy for him to be elected a fourth term? No. But if people look at his record, they will reelect him.”

      A recent on-line poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion showed that Campbell’s approval rating had nose-dived to 12 percent, making him Canada’s least popular premier.

      But Brown isn’t alarmed by the polls. “It [HST] won’t be the issue three years from now,” he said. “I guarantee you.”

      Although Brown’s faith in Campbell remains solid, the same can’t be said of some B.C. Liberal supporters. According to the Angus Reid poll, 45 percent of people who voted B.C. Liberal in the 2009 election are now supporting other parties.

      As B.C. Liberal leader, Campbell is also facing a confidence vote by party members in ongoing constituency-level meetings held in the lead-up to the party’s November convention.

      Brown said he has no idea if Campbell will run in the 2013 provincial election. “But if he gets credit for what he’s done, he will be reelected.”




      Sep 16, 2010 at 6:58am

      Wow, just wow.

      I can't believe what I just read. I just can't stand the Fraser Institute and that Brown guy. Talk about living in an enclosed, bias, hypocritcal bubble.


      The Liberals did some good things, the NDP did some good things, the Socreds did some good things, but they also all did some awful things. The issue is the Liberals this time have lost all credibilitiy.

      Bottom line: CAN'T BE TRUSTED. I hear a RECALL coming our way.


      Sep 16, 2010 at 8:20am

      Brown is having y'all on. He is protecting the millions he's making ripping of the taxpayer with Gordo's Pirate Power scam.

      Willl McMartin's work at the Tyee shows the NDP were far better at managing the economy than Gordo's fascista.

      For example, every day this government of cretins buys millions of dollars in power at 12.6 cents a kwh from Gordo's stockbroker buddies in the IPP industry that yesterday at peak California demand was selling for 4 cents during the day and Cali was getting paid to take it at night.

      These hundreds of millions down the tube soon growing to billions do not show up in government deficit figures.

      This government has run our on the books debt up from the $34B the NDP left to $45B this fiscal but also has added around $50B in off the books debt to Gordo's stockbroker pals in the three P and Pirate Power/IPP industries for a total of almost $100B

      $34b in debt to $100B in 9 years through the biggest resource boom in BC history. Now that takes real incompetence and just plain theft.


      Evil Eye

      Sep 16, 2010 at 9:38am

      Quote: “I envy Vander Zalm,” Brown said sarcastically. “It would be nice to go through life not anchored by the truth. That’s why he smiles so much.”

      Oh yeah, and Gordon Campbell is the paragon of truth and moral conduct?

      Mr. Brown, on Vancouver's East side we call your sort political whores, who sell themselves to the highest bidder.


      Sep 16, 2010 at 12:08pm

      Must be nice to have your swagger back, Mr. Brown.

      If voters really do forget about HST then I hope that it's because they are mad about the far bigger problems Campbell brought us: BC Rail, gambling and privatization of power generation.


      Sep 16, 2010 at 1:11pm

      Ok well thats nice.

      By the way Peter Brown's vote is still only worth one, and he does not speak on half of any voter but himself. Thanks for your input, but it means nothing to me.


      Sep 16, 2010 at 2:43pm

      Even Hitler had friends I guess. lol

      glen p robbins

      Sep 16, 2010 at 7:15pm

      I have no idea why Peter Brown would think the average citizen finds his comments relevant given his partisan financial and other support of Campbell?

      Vancouver $$ is going to lose control of the province -- and I bet alot of these people are going to be investigated in the coming years.

      Jaded in Vancouver

      Sep 16, 2010 at 8:31pm

      I cringe at the word " tycoon "; usurper sounds more like it. However, he is correct in his observation that "It [HST] won’t be the issue three years from now,” he said. “I guarantee you.”

      If the referendum on the HST is held next year, it will be defeated; then the provincial elections will be shortly after and Gordo won't be re-elected. Thanks, high-flyer, but you'll eat your words.

      How Wrong

      Sep 16, 2010 at 9:25pm

      Time is making people more and more mad from what I have seen. The last stunt from Gordan Colin and the Liberals has made people even more mad at the HST. They continue to stall and play games, stall and play games.


      Sep 17, 2010 at 6:53am

      All big money and and big buisness people are more than happy with hst as they get 12% back on everything they buy and you can bet that the majority of personal items are purchased through thier buisness; normal taxpayers cannot get anything back-therefor this extra tax falls right on the backs of the working people to give big money people more in their pockets and they will keep it. The only thing worse than hst is the arrogant lies that Campbell and his group keep telling so they can live in their big houses on the hill and look down at the rest of us; but if we are all on top who would do the work to keep BC going. Campbell has failed in keeping the taxpayers happy. Last election liberals got in by less than 25% as voter turnout was so low; I guess people are so discusted with our goverment system that they feel nothing will change no matter what party gets in. The Gordon Campbell liberals are without a doubt the worst for arrogant lies that BC has ever had...