Opinion

Tax Revolt! HST Hatred Keeps Growing

More than four out of five BCers oppose it; 65,000 join Facebook protest group.

By Bill Tieleman 11 Aug 2009 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. Tieleman can be heard Mondays at 10 a.m. on the Bill Good Show on CKNW AM 980 or at www.cknw.com. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog.

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Angry enough to recall Libs? Image by Nora Kelly.

"The HST is going to be good for all concerned, but there are exceptions."

-- BC tourism minister Kevin Krueger.

There is only one way to stop the B.C. Liberals’ plan to impose a Harmonized Sales Tax on British Columbians -- a recall campaign that ends their legislative majority.

Premier Gordon Campbell is clear -- despite enormous opposition and more than 65,500 people joining my Facebook protest group NO BC HST -– that he will go ahead despite the fact that 85 per cent of BCers despise the HST.

Those Ipsos Reid polling results show that people realize anything currently taxed with the five per cent GST will get an extra 7 per cent tax added on in July 2010 for a total 12 per cent HST.

Consumers would pay an extra $1.9 billion a year –- with all that money going to big business. Not a dime of the HST will pay for healthcare, education or social services.

Reasons to recall

It looks like the only way to force Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen to drop the HST is to threaten their legislative majority and, if necessary, recall enough B.C. Liberal MLAs that they cannot remain in government.

The appropriate response to abuses of power is to remove that power. Taking out just eight B.C. Liberals would defeat the government.

It’s not easy. Despite promises to improve recall legislation -- sound familiar? -- the Campbell government did nothing.

But it’s also far from impossible.

First, the recall campaign cannot start under Elections B.C. rules until 18 months after the election -- November 2010 -- but organizing can take place now to identify voters who want to recall their B.C. Liberal MLA.

That’s important because once the recall petition process begins you only have 60 days to collect the signatures of 40 per cent of voters who were registered voters for that riding during the May 12th provincial election.

A tough task -- but recall pre-organizing can happen without spending limits until petitions are filed.

Liberals most vulnerable to recall

Successful recall pre-organizing could panic the government into dropping the HST, because if not, Campbell and Hansen would lose power long before the 2013 election.

That may be enough, but if not, here are the unlucky 13 B.C. Liberal MLAs easiest to recall, in order:

Eric Foster -- Vernon-Monashee, 37 per cent; John Slater -- Boundary-Similkameen, 37 per cent; Pat Pimm -- Peace River North, 43 per cent; Bill Barisoff -- Penticton, 44 per cent; John Les -- Chilliwack, 45 per cent; Murray Coell -- Saanich North and the Islands, 45 per cent; Marc Dalton -- Maple Ridge-Mission, 46 per cent; Ida Chong -- Oak Bay, 47 per cent; George Abbott -- Shuswap, 47 per cent; Terry Lake -- Kamloops-North Thompson, 47 per cent; Margaret MacDiarmid -- Vancouver-Fairview, 47 per cent; Don McRae -- Comox Valley, 47 per cent; Donna Barnett -- Cariboo-Chilcotin, 48 per cent.

And one more for good measure. At 17th place, there is Gordon Campbell -- Vancouver-Point Grey, 50 per cent.

If you haven’t joined the Facebook group 'NO BC HST' you can do so here.

The B.C. NDP also has an online petition against the HST, as do a few other folks and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.  [Tyee]

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