HST Extinguished – Are Christy Clark And Her BC Liberals Next?

1
286

NDP MLA Sue Hammell’s Surrey-Green Timbers Has The Highest Number Of YES Votes With 75 Percent

The voting results showed only 25 of 85 B.C. ridings voted to keep the HST, and all of them are held by the governing B.C. Liberals. Many other Liberal-held ridings voted to reject the tax. While the HST has been extinguished – it looks Clark and her hapless BC Liberals are next in line to be extinguished if she calls an early election this year or next. The HST defeat has further burdened the lacklustre Clark, who’s short term at the helm can be best described as wishy washy or incompetent. Clark can thank her former boss Gordon Campbell who while left in disgrace but tied a noose around little Christy as a small going away present!

By R. Paul Dhillon With News Files

SURREY – British Columbian voters gave new Premier Christy Clark another headache by voting down the BC Liberals’ ill-conceived and badly laid out Harmonized Sales Tax, which put much of the tax burden on lower and middle class families while helping their big business friends.

While the media was saying it was a close vote but it was not close as a large majority, 54.73 per cent of voters, sent in ballots to turn down the tax.

While the HST has been extinguished – it looks Clark and her hapless BC Liberals are next in line to be extinguished if she calls an early election this year or next. The HST defeat has further burdened the lacklustre Clark, who’s short term at the helm can be best described as wishy washy or incompetent. Clark can thank her former boss Gordon Campbell, who’s now on easy street in London thanks to his Conservative friends from the Harper government, who while left in disgrace but tied a noose around little Christy as a small going away present!

Given the results and pressure from her big business supporters, she may not any option other than to call the election, perhaps wanting to run on a 10 percent HST rather than completely abolishing the current tax in favour of the old PST/GST taxes.

More than 1.6 million people — or 52 per cent of registered voters — mailed in referendum ballots during the eight-week voting period that ended earlier this month. The number represents almost as many people who voted in the last provincial election, reported Canadian Press.

NDP MLA Sue Hammell’s Surrey-Green Timbers riding posted the highest anti-HST votes at 75.5 per cent, followed by the Vancouver-Kingsway riding of NDP leader Adrian Dix at 72.4 per cent and Harry Bains’s Surrey-Newton riding with 72.2 per cent.

A jubilant Hammell told the LINK by phone that she didn’t want to brag but it shows that people in Surrey were really opposed and they overwhelmingly voted against it.

The voting results showed only 25 of 85 B.C. ridings voted to keep the HST, and all of them are held by the governing B.C. Liberals. Many other Liberal-held ridings voted to reject the tax. This spells doom for the BC Liberals if an election is called soon as voters are angry that the BC Liberals wasted precious resources and millions of dollars on something that should never have been brought in.

The province will now return to a GST/PST system, in a process estimated to take between 18 to 24 months.

Opposition NDP leader Adrian Dix calls the results a victory “over the arrogance of the BC Liberals.”

Dix says a return to the old system will make life more affordable for the average B.C. family.

The NDP has long maintained that the HST would hurt the economy and businesses because the average person will have less cash to buy goods.

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm, who spearheaded a movement against the HST, calls the results a victory for democracy in British Columbia.

“It sent a message to politicians that they can’t simply do things because it’s the will of a premier or a party, they have to consult the people,” he told reporters. “It’s been two years coming.”

An anti-HST petition garnered more than 700,000 signatures from across the province, and paved the way for the referendum.

During the voting period Premier Christy Clark tried to sweeten the pot by promising to cut the tax back to 10 per cent by 2014 if it was supported.

Clark said earlier this week there is a “Plan B” if the tax is extinguished, but has not said what that is.

Vander Zalm said the provincial government should tread carefully when rolling out any new tax plan to voters who have proven to be skeptical about new taxes.

“If Plan B goes the way of Plan A they’re in trouble,” he said, laughing.

The B.C. government will now have to plug a $3-billion hole in its finances. The province is now forced to repay the $1.6 billion it received from Ottawa to switch to the HST.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said he is disappointed in the results but the government must respect the will of voters.

He said there is an action plan in place to reinstate the PST and GST system, including some possible “common sense administrative improvements to streamline the PST.”

Falcon said the PST will be reinstated at seven per cent with all permanent exemptions.

Some political insiders have speculated that the tax would be voted down, partially because of the way it was introduced.

Many likened the BC Liberal party’s introduction of the HST two years ago to a sneak-attack on citizens.

Mario Canseco, pollster for Angus Reid Public Strategies, says while public anger towards the HST fallen since last year, the idea of it just wasn’t popular enough for the majority of people to vote to keep it.

“In June our polls showed that 56 per cent of people would kill the tax. So this is sort of what we all expected,” Canseco told ctvbc.ca.

The HST was first announced on July 23, 2009, just two months after the Liberals were returned to power under Gordon Campbell. The legislation to blend the seven-per-cent provincial sales tax with the five-per-cent federal GST was tabled eight months later on March 30, 2010.

By law, a successful petition must be either voted on in the legislature or sent to a non-binding referendum. Much to the dismay of the Fight HST campaign, the Liberals announced last September that the petition would go to a binding, mail-in referendum.

The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation B.C. director, Jordan Bateman, said the HST vote proves direct democracy is powerful.

“The sad thing is that had the government engaged taxpayers in the first place and asked for their approval for a reduced 10 per cent HST before unilaterally enacting a 12-per-cent HST, taxpayers, businesses and the economy would all be better off today.”

Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, said the HST represented an unfair tax shift of $2 billion from large corporations to B.C. families.

“In the end, common sense and the desire for fair taxes prevailed.”

The LINK with News Files

Comments are closed.