Bill Vander Zalm: Defeating the HST is about restoring our democracy

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      Gordon Campbell and Colin Hansen did not tell the truth about the HST in the last election. Freedom of information documents showing the B.C. government was in talks with Ottawa for six months prior to the last election prove this unequivocally.

      The big business lobby (who finance the B.C. Liberals) did everything it could to stop the people from stopping the HST. In an unprecedented display of greed and selfishness they pressured the acting chief electoral officer to withhold the people’s petition from going to the legislature while they tried to kill it in court. Fortunately we won, and the chief justice ordered the CEO to obey the law.

      Under unbearable pressure from the electorate, Premier Campbell was forced to allow a binding, simple majority referendum on the HST. This was not an act of benevolence on his part. It was a hard won concession to a people united against him. When his approval ratings continued to drop, he made another desperate attempt to save the tax by going on TV and trying to bribe the people with a tax cut. (Sound familiar?)

      When his approval rating plummeted further, he was forced to resign in disgrace.

      The B.C. Liberals replaced Campbell and Hansen with new faces—but gave us the same politics—hoping a cosmetic change would be enough to save their tax and perhaps their government. But the polls show the resolve of the people continues to be greater than the government—and the HST is headed for the ash heap of history.

      Premier Christy Clark is now clinging to the HST just like Gordon Campbell. But this time the HST is going over a cliff into the political abyss and if she hangs on too tight, she’ll go with it.

      So now they are getting desperate. They are going negative after pouring millions of tax dollars into a propaganda campaign that is not working. The more they tell us the HST is good for us, the more people don’t believe them.

      The finance minister says economic calamity awaits us if we vote down his tax. It is as though B.C. was somehow a third world country under the PST. The absurdity of his statements is matched only by his arrogance.

      Recently, he went to New York to “reassure” the big international bankers that B.C. could survive if the HST was repealed. He won’t reassure the people of B.C., but he tells the bankers we’ll be fine. Just who is he working for?

      Now Clark and Falcon say they may not abide by the results of the legally binding referendum to return to the PST with the same exemptions as before.

      Putting aside for a moment the further economic damage this would do to the economy, it would be an act of outright law breaking. The chief electoral officer has confirmed to us in writing that the referendum to “Extinguish the HST and reinstate the PST” means to restore the PST to its former position with the same applications and exemptions. For Falcon or Clark to ignore that is to ignore the law as deliberately and willfully as the hooligans and looters in Vancouver did after the Stanley Cup.

      If we don’t defeat the HST we will get more lying, more betrayal, and more deceit. Elections would become meaningless because governments would know they simply have to wait us out and bribe us to get away with lying.

      But if we stay united, the biggest concession of all is at our doorstep—true democracy!

      A win in the referendum means the people will forever after control their government—not the other way around. The stakes are much, much higher than the tax itself. We must defeat the HST to let them know the people are more principled than the government. To tell them that trying to bribe us with our own money is a hideous insult, not a good deal. To let them know they work for us, not we for them.

      B.C. is unique in Canada to have this historic opportunity for the people to hold their government to account on a major policy betrayal before the next election. If the tax is not defeated, this opportunity will never come again. But if we seize this moment and defeat the HST, we will save not only our province and our economy—we will restore our democracy.

      That is certainly worth voting Yes to.

      Bill Vander Zalm is a former premier of British Columbia, and the leader of Fight HST.



      B. Park

      Jun 22, 2011 at 2:51pm

      Thank you Bill

      Regressive tax:

      - Lost jobs
      - No decreases in prices
      - No economic growth

      Vote YES to extinguish the HST


      Jun 22, 2011 at 2:57pm

      Here is the irony. Our soldiers went to war to restore democracy to countries like the Nederlands from where Mr. Van Der Zalm comes from. Now he is here in Canada and showing us and leading the way to restore democracy in British Columbia.

      We are fortunate to have someone to help us see how we are being led down the path of slavery to big business and banks. Thank you Mr. Van Der Zalm.

      Vote YES to EXTINGUISH the HST!

      Arthur Vandelay

      Jun 22, 2011 at 3:39pm

      Are our collective memories really that short that we are trusting Zalm for lessons in the corruption of democracy and self-serving policy? Anyone under 45 years old should really ask someone over 45 about Zalm's record.


      Jun 22, 2011 at 3:53pm

      Yeah, you're right, Bill VZ.

      A referendum about tax policy is... totally not about tax policy. We should ignore the fact that we're voting to keep or scrap a tax. Because this tax referendum is totally not about tax policy. At all.

      ... right?

      Long memory

      Jun 22, 2011 at 4:12pm

      I remember Vander Zalm's record very well. In fact, I campaigned hard to get him out of office.

      Now tell us, Arthur, what does Vander Zalm's record from more than 20 years ago have to do with the matter we are discussing today - the HST? Nothing in your comment refutes anything he wrote above, it's simply a personal attack on the man who wrote it.

      If you're so bothered by Vander Zalm's record as premiere, you should be absolutely horrified at what the the BC Liberal government has done over the past ten years.

      glen p robbins

      Jun 22, 2011 at 4:28pm

      ABL - VZalm didn't say it wasn't about tax policy. His premise is that the matter of the HST tax policy has a tainted and disgraceful history attached to it -- it is an ugly blemish on democracy - the will of the people - reflected in VZ's Petition that got us here - after the Campbell lies.

      The article says the vote is about more than the tax - to say "NO" to bringing back the BC Provincial Sales Tax/and Goods and Services and Tax -- would reward those who have tried and continue to try to deceive us.

      It is never wise to frame a position of response in absolute terms---ie "totally not about tax policy" or "this tax referendum is totally not about tax policy.----At all .. right?"-----------unless the writer explicitly states in his or her thesis that the HST and PST/GST isn't about tax policy.

      It is based on tax policy but it involves so much more--particularly the will of the people of the Province of British Columbia is the theme here as I witness it.

      Dan Clay

      Jun 22, 2011 at 5:09pm

      I plan to vote yes and then photocopy or scan my ballot both sides, showing my address,, just in case my yes vote goes missing in the mails...

      The HST is good policy

      Jun 22, 2011 at 5:48pm

      Mr. Vander Zalm - this actually has been awful for our representative democracy.

      "[California's] citizen legislature has caused chaos. Many initiatives have either limited taxes or mandated spending, making it even harder to balance the budget. Some are so ill-thought-out that they achieve the opposite of their intent: for all its small-government pretensions, Proposition 13 ended up centralising California’s finances, shifting them from local to state government. Rather than being the curb on elites that they were supposed to be, ballot initiatives have become a tool of special interests, with lobbyists and extremists bankrolling laws that are often bewildering in their complexity and obscure in their ramifications.


      The debate about the merits of representative and direct democracy goes back to ancient times. To simplify a little, the Athenians favoured pure democracy (“people rule”, though in fact oligarchs often had the last word); the Romans chose a republic, as a “public thing”, where representatives could make trade-offs for the common good and were accountable for the sum of their achievements. America’s Founding Fathers, especially James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, backed the Romans. Indeed, in their guise of “Publius” in the “Federalist Papers”, Madison and Hamilton warn against the dangerous “passions” of the mob and the threat of “minority factions” (ie, special interests) seizing the democratic process."


      Jun 22, 2011 at 9:46pm

      Look at the rating. I dont like the HST regardless of Vanderzam. Would the pro HST people understand that this is not able Vanderzam. a lying Liberals govt or principle its about reality. Nothing about the HST is good to the average person. Of course big business would love it when consumers pay all thet tax. Business have had 1 year to show us these saving instead they havent.

      Taxpayers R Us

      Jun 23, 2011 at 1:53am

      Vander Zalm has no interest in personal gain from this, he's doing it for the same reason most of are voting Yes to get rid of the HST.

      The BC government screwed us over when we were at our worst. They lied to us, pretended they didn't lie, and went about picking out pockets.


      Anyone who supports this tax is either a direct beneficiary or a complete idiot.