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COMMENTARY · 14th June 2011
MLA Gary Coons
Last year something amazing happened. For the first time in our province's history, an Initiative Petition was successful as more than 700,000 British Columbians showed their determination to stop the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). On the North and Coast, many thousands of people signed the petition, and I was one of the many volunteer canvassers who worked on that effort.

From the first days of the BC Liberals' announcement that they were breaking their promise not to implement a HST, my office has been flooded with calls and emails from constituents who are absolutely opposed to this tax.

As you know, you will shortly be receiving a referendum ballot in the mail asking you whether or not you are in favour of extinguishing the HST. I believe the majority of British Columbians will vote 'Yes.'

There has been a great deal of talk about 'fixing' the HST. Premier Christy Clark and her government have made the decision to stake their political futures on whether or not the people of British Columbia will be fooled by her promises of rebates and rate reductions. They, along with many big companies and corporations, are spending millions of dollars to convince you that the HST will be good for you….don’t be fooled.

These promised 'fixes' do not deal with the fact that the HST was brought in under false pretences. The BC Liberals campaigned on their promise that they would not implement an HST. They broke that promise.

Now they are promising a rebate and rate reduction, but in order to partially fund these new promises, they've had to break previous promises of tax cuts. This is a government that clearly cannot be trusted.

And it is also a government that is not capable of managing the books. If the government were to proceed with these rebates and rate cuts, we would see a massive hole in the provincial government. Arguments that we can't cancel the HST because we can't afford to give back the $1.6 billion to the federal government become moot if the cost of 'fixes' are so much greater.

The HST, both the current version and proposed version, still constitutes a massive shift of taxation away from large corporations and on to the backs of average residents. And it no longer allows British Columbians to make tax policy for themselves.

As we prepare to vote in the HST referendum, we need to remember how we came to be in this place. It is only because of the strong voice of regular British Columbians showing their opposition to the HST that we are getting this opportunity to make this decision.

I will be honouring the fight and determination of so many British Columbians, and I will be voting 'Yes' to scrap the HST.
Well, why would they...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 16th June 2011
...when the figures used are based on a discredited study by Jack Mintz and there are lots of studies that add a very definite "MAYBE" to the exaggerated claims.
Comment by H.Sanou on 16th June 2011
I will be voting in favour of the HST, but will vote against the Liberal party next elections.
The Ndp will not admit that the HST will be good for the economy, therefore it is a cynical political decision and catering to the disgraced previous premier van de Zalm and his ilk, who when not screwing us with the property transfer tax, was picking up envelopes with cash from a Taiwanese billionaire.
'nough said.
Why am I not surprised.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 15th June 2011
"This particular tax takes the tax off business, it takes $1.8 billion off businesses and puts it on consumers, and so that shift is a shift that is ideological as well as factual." -- Former BC Liberal finance minister Carole Taylor on the HST.

Now if the shift was the reverse - from consumers to businesses - I might like it as much as you do now..The tax is also on hundreds of items not taxed before. Trying to avoid them in a normal household is impossible.
Of course you are voting to scrap the HST....
Comment by Brad Opheim on 15th June 2011
When in the history of government has an opposition MP ever came out and publicly supported an initiative of the opposing ruling party?
Your job is to say "white" when they say "black"weather it makes sense or not. The NDP taxed and spent British Columbia into record debt. The HST is a consuption tax. If I choose to limit my consumtion I limit my tax payable. The HST will give both business and tax payers an advantage. there is a reason why most countries in the G8 have HST ( they call it VAT). Ontario has it , Quebec wants it. It's a more progressive tax system and now the BC Liberals have said business will fund the tax reduction to 10%. Over 75% of what the average consumer buys today had/has 12% taxation on it. Having that go down to 10% will offer a cost savings to those consumers. The biggest hit is to new home purchasers which based on the average price of a new home in BC, can afford the HST, because if they are building a new house they are earning a pretty good living.
Those in lower income groups will actually make out better with the HST.

I don't want to pay more tax than I have to,no one does, but the reality is the Government is running a deficit. Health care and education costs are rising and will continue to do so. How would you propose BC pay for these rising costs? The NDP way of taxing businees out of business or out of the province? BC needs jobs. Business creates and provides those jobs.
The NDP 's history of fiscal respnsibility is infamous . Calling those in Government un-trustworthy is like calling the kettle black don't you think. All polititions "adjust the truth" to suit their own needs or agenda's irregardless of party affiliation.
The HST protest was based on Bill Vanderzalms half truths, misconceptions, errors and outright lies. He has no real data to back up his claims. He was a corrupt premier and was run out of office over numerous scandals justly pointed out by the NDP.( They didn't call him Vanderscam for nothing) For the NDP to now embrace his anti HST movement shows just what a bunch of hippocrites you guys really are.
I think the correct term in your circles is "opposition critic". What ever policies the Liberals come out with it is yours and your fellow MP"s job to bitch about them. It doesn't matter if it's good sound policy that benefits BC as a whole or not.
An opposition MP's job is to "oppose" and it seems at any cost .