Premier Gordon Campbell, during his election campaign, clearly stated he would not implement the combined tax of 7% Provincial (PST) and 5% Federal (GST) that taxes goods and services previously exempt. He changed his mind soon after getting re-elected.
The unexpected HST would likely have received grumbling but little action from the public were it not for Bill Vander Zalm, a former Premier who came out of retirement to fight the tax.
Gordon Campbell eventually resigned leaving the interim Leader of the Party to finesse the situation. Forced to include the public in their decision, the BC Liberals will mail some 3.5 million forms to voters using taxpayer dollars. People must deliver their ballots in person to limited locations, making voting inconvenient for working people and difficult for many housebound elderly. Taxpayers are also funding expensive Government ads promoting the HST.
The wording of the Referendum seems designed to confuse. People expect to vote NO to the tax but should vote YES to "extinguish" the tax, if they want to abolish it. People opposing the HST put out signs to warn the public about potential confusion. A June 9th article at straight.com by Dermod Travis cites an instance when 54% of the ballots were incorrectly cast due to word manipulation.
In addition to word-twisting, the public is being tempted by an HST tax reduction to 10% by 2014. If this turns out like the broken promise not to implement the tax in the first place, it will likely never happen. Of course, a rebate for all the money the BC public has spent throughout the year paying the HST will not be on the table, IF the HST is voted down.
Postscript: Ballot packages can be returned by mail providing they are received by Elections BC, a Service BC Centre, or an Elections BC Collection Centre before 4:30 p.m., Friday, July 22, 2011. However, people might need to deliver their ballots in person, if the potential postal strike occurs within this timeframe. If BC Liberals had not moved up the date for the HST Referendum from Sept. 24th to June 13th the looming strike would not be an issue.
This article linked to signs, signs.
Postscript, Aug. 26, 2011: The referendum resulted in 54.73 per cent of voters rejecting the HST.
Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms