Friday, June 11, 2010

First Casualty of Campbell's HST Gambit

" idea by government that forgot to bring the public along"
BC's minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources, Blair Lestrom, has felt the sting of his constituents' fury over the provincial Libs implementation of the HST, harmonized sales tax. Today Lestrom resigned from cabinet and from the Liberal caucus.
People out here are outraged and, worse, those who seem most upset are the traditional core supporters of the right of centre "liberal" government. My MLA, another Liberal, knows that all too well. He knows that a lot of those who voted him in won't repeat the favour the next time around and, while he won't openly criticize Gordon Campbell, he freely admits the HST initiative was horribly bungled.
What irks opponents most is the hamfisted way premier Campbell sprung it on the public. Campbell didn't even mention it until just a few days after winning his third term in May, 2009 when he announced the BC government was pursuing negotiations with Ottawa.
Are there merits to the HST? Of course there are, some at least. Are there provisions made to offset the impact to the most vulnerable? Sure, sort of. So what's the big fuss? It was keeping the public in the dark about this during the election and then, days later, introducing it as something of a done deal closed to discussion.
BC has a law allowing the public to present a petition calling on the government to reconsider an unpopular bill. It requires 10% of the voters in each of the province's 85-riding to sign up. The anti-HST campaigners say they've got at least 15% in each riding.
The government isn't bound to scrap the HST law but waiting in the wings is British Columbia's recall legislation. The G&M has listed eight BC Liberal MLA's said to be most vulnerable to recall. Depending on how badly Campbell plays his hand, eight could be just the beginning.


Okie said...

This morning I read an article which quoted Campbell as saying they hadn't done well selling the HST.

I thought use of the word selling was interesting and wondered when it's definition had been changed to hit on head with stick, steal purse..?

On investigating I found this dates to post American Civil War and is found in the Carpet Baggers Handbook.

Gathering any loose chickens was also recommended while your host was still compliant.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the big fuss is the keeping the public in the dark.Tho'that is wicked, I think it is a reaction to the thought of paying more taxes.
There was a big reaction to paying the carbon tax and now this is too much for the BC public. Ofcourse Vander Zalm has totally energized the campaign and the NDP has seen it as a golden egg for them, so they are out in force too.
I didn't sign the petition because I wasn't thoroughly convinced either way, and needed to hear more. I was certainly supporting the cyclists in their protest.
For me, the carbon tax didnot go far enough . Carole James was wrong to be opposed to it and got negative feedback from the environmentally concerned.With the oil gushing, now would be a good time to hike the carbon tax.
If it weren't for this HST thing.
Looking at what the final price will be on things it does seem awfully high.
The bills from the Olympics are not in yet.
At first it seemed as tho Vander Zalm was doing a tea bagger thing but he has got the NDP solidly with him.
The billion dollar security costs and the Con Lake have contributed to more public sputterings so the right wing is wounded,somewhat.
Whatever gets the public more democratically reflective and engaged can only be good.
I think that during elections parties should present their projected budgets for us to look at.
I was aware of the petition effect but didnot know about the MP recall. Will have to look further into this. Is Murray. Coell in trouble?
Our local candidate for NDP was well received and came very close to a win.
I could forsee people tipping less because of the HST.
And on CBC Almanac this week, people were lining up for the border crossing to shop in the USA if the HST takes effect.Irregardless of the loonie.
Reminds me of people going off Island to shop and save even tho they have to pay the ferry and gasoline.

LeDaro said...

MoS, fancy new format for your blog but hard to read and hence hard on eyes.