Trust issues with BC Liberals eclipse merits of HST

It’s not necessarily the HST that’s upsetting, but how it was introduced.

This was a fairly common sentiment among British Columbians when the B.C. government introduced the harmonized sales tax about a year ago.

Of course, public outcry ensued and, as the result of an unprecedented, largely volunteer-run campaign to axe the tax and those who brought it into being, former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell decided it best to step down.

The thing is, while Campbell may be gone, the, er, pile remains the same.

Yes, current Premier Christy Clark has recently come out with an HST redux, with bribes in the form of $175 cheques for seniors and families (that Clark herself qualifies for), and a promise to reduce the HST by two points, from 12 to 10 per cent, by 2014. But there’s the rub: this is the BC Liberals we’re talking about – the same party that promised restaurateurs that the HST wasn’t even on the radar prior to the last provincial election.

And in that vein, the Christy Clark Liberals continue to treat voters to an ever-growing list of mistruths and flip-floppery in their attempt to win over voters by the 2013 provincial election.

Case in point, let’s go back to March when Clark noted in a radio interview that her government was uninterested in talking about reducing the tax by a point or two, stating people “will see that as buying them with their own money.”

Not only has she since offered up a reduced HST, she’s spending another $7 million of our own money to promote the tax.

This is the same government that recently lambasted NDP leader Adrian Dix for promising a two per cent cut to corporate taxes, the same amount now being proposed by Clark.

We’ve seen this government overshoot estimates for job creation as a result of the HST, while we’ve yet to realize the promised reductions in costs of consumer goods realized by the savings to business.

With the upcoming referendum, the B.C. government is now asking us to judge the HST based on its merits alone – not an easy thing to do given the source.


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