Bill Vander Zalm calls transit referendum defeat “wonderful”

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      The man who led the campaign to scrap the harmonized sales tax in B.C. is thrilled by the outcome of Metro Vancouver’s transit referendum.

      “It’s nice to see the people have a voice,” Bill Vander Zalm told the Straight in a phone interview today (July 2).

      “I like it,” continued the former premier, following’s Elections B.C.’s announcement that voters rejected a proposed 0.5-percent increase in the sales tax to fund a $7.5-billion regional transportation plan.

      Voters delivered an overwhelming 62 percent “no” vote, and according to Vander Zalm, that sends a strong message.

      “The voters are fed up with high taxes and taxes in so many different ways that they’re really saying, ‘We can’t take it anymore,’” he said. “It’s not big business, it’s not the wealthy people, it’s the average person that bears the brunt of all of these. So you know, I think the people are saying, “Enough is enough,” and governments are going to have to look at changing things. That’s all there is to it. I know it may not be popular with the bureaucracy, it might not be popular with the high up, but they’ll have to change things.”

      Vander Zalm also had something to say about voters rejecting the “yes” campaign mounted by a formidable coalition of businesses, labour unions, nonprofits, and politicians.

      “Isn’t that wonderful that all of these influences that really don’t relate to the average person enough anyway were wrong?” he asked.

      Vander Zalm continued: “Big business, unions, governments, they’re not the ones that are paying the bills. It’s the average person that pays the bills. They want out.”

      According to Vander Zalm, asking for voters’ support for a new tax hike could have been done differently.

      “If you make it too easy for government agencies or governments, they don’t look at where it is they might save and there’s a lot of places where they can cut corners, do things more efficiently, and eliminate waste,” the former premier said. “And that’s what they should have been emphasizing and they were not. They were simply, the message was, ‘We need more money, you’ve got to pay.’ I think had they instead approached it differently and looked at saving money, cutting costs, and eliminating waste, then they could have reasonably asked for money if they still ran short.”



      Vancouver Watcher

      Jul 2, 2015 at 11:49am

      Who cares what this self promoting idiot thinks? Why is this even news?

      Richard S.

      Jul 2, 2015 at 12:04pm

      Businesses, labour unions and non-profits "don't relate to the average person enough anyway"??? Really? If anyone ever needed proof that Mr. Fantasy-Gardens lives in the weird wacky world of neo-con rhetoric, this is it.


      Jul 2, 2015 at 12:39pm

      Yeah he's a bit of weirdo.

      Meanwhile Wikipedia Says

      Jul 2, 2015 at 1:39pm

      "Vander Zalm resigned as premier in disgrace in 1991 when a provincial conflict of interest report by Ted Hughes found he had mixed private business with his public office in the sale of the gardens. He was charged with criminal breach of trust, but found not guilty in B.C. Supreme Court in 1992. The judge ruled that Vander Zalm had acted a manner that was 'foolish, ill-advised and in apparent or real conflict of interest or breach of ethics'. The judge however found that the prosecution had not proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It was revealed that during the sale of Fantasy Gardens, Premier Vander Zalm has accepted $20,000 payment in cash from Tan Yu (buyer of Fantasy Gardens) to which Vander Zalm said he took 'for innocent reasons'. Vander Zalm was never really did explain why he took the money, nor did he take the stand in his breach of trust trial."


      Jul 2, 2015 at 4:42pm

      Who cares what Vander Zalm thinks?


      Jul 2, 2015 at 6:16pm

      Then I'm sure he'll be happy to help pay for improved transit and cycling around BC. The Provincial Government should cancel the tax cut for those earning over $150,000 per year and use the funds to improve transit and cycling in communities across BC. Sign the petition at:

      Thank you NO side...

      Jul 3, 2015 at 11:14am

      You people who voted yes are so damn stupid. I work for the government and you people have no idea how slack and easy it is in this job. They could cut so much back in order to provide and not charge a higher tax, but the general public are too stupid to know this...

      pradeep raj takhar

      Jul 3, 2015 at 11:59am

      A no win was imminent...I had predicted this result...weeks ago !
      Plus..the results.. says a lot ! Particularly the mistrust from awakened folks...about big money & arrogance in welfare rates measures with high cost of living deaf free enterprized...bc liberal govt..THAT WAS EASY..quote;! the cost of living rises...but many big money wallets...seem to hate any charitable help on doled vulnerable folks...that struggle daily to get by ..from one welfare check to another..incl ...BC's..disabled ones..! BUT ..Jimmy Pattison's input payer onus purse keeper is a joke of al times...! he looks like an auditor.. lol not investor and the threat of turning translink.B.C.. .as a pvt entity by creating a vacuum of excessive money & resources in RED ink ..has been thwarted on the whole ..! the bigger picture a relief !
      no assurance for no waste no CEO gold plated contracts.. & clear vision for pun far as.. a just fair spending is another matter sidetracked with onus on enlarged a tragic fair takes...!

      Vander Zalm for Transit Boss

      Jul 3, 2015 at 12:43pm

      Yea, he did some wacky things and had stances I didn't agree with, but he KNOWS HOW TO GET STUFF DONE - remember the HST Harper/Campbell ploy? He organised the resistance to that dirty scam, forcing a referendum - remember the petition tables everywhere and the informed volunteers - that was organisation and you just have to forget the partisan baggage sometime and decide issue by issue. Knowing how to get things done is one of the only things that politicians are good for. Here's a radical idea: get Vander Zalm a position in Translink - that would scare the crap out of them as they would know they couldn't bs him. What a joke that was to put billionaire Patterson in Translink - wonder if he has bought enough land along the proposed subway line yet - he'll know where the stops are to build towers for the millions of people coming to Vancouver. That was something in the campaign that never added up: we have to tax YOU because millions of people will be moving to Vancouver living along the subway lines and transit will get even more terrible. The obvious question was why are the millions not paying taxes and fares?