Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bill Vander Zalm Not For Harmony

TWO FOR ONE USUALLY MEANS a good deal is being offered at the grocery store. What could be wrong with a bargain or, for that matter, a beautiful song performed in harmony? We all know words are important in swaying public opinion. But although “harmonized sales tax” has a nice ring to it, it is out of tune with much of the taxed-to-the-max public. In addition, many shoppers know that two-for-one sales are often a gimmick disguised as a saving.

It is not surprising then that former Premier Bill Vander Zalm, and the general public, have serious doubts about the veracity of the BC Liberal claim that joining the GST with the PST will boost the economy, lower prices and create jobs. This is especially true when we see that the two taxes, scheduled to morph into the 12 percent HST on July 1st, will increase the cost of such basic services as a meal at a restaurant, a movie, haircut, Cable TV, and even burial when the time comes.

Reports from most media suggest a team of wild horses couldn't halt the HST. However, Bill Vander Zalm was much more optimistic when he spoke during a meeting I attended at the Star of the Sea Hall in White Rock on Friday. I wasn't expecting such a crowd and seeing it build was a little like waiting for the Olympic torch to arrive as the line stretched around the block.

Vander Zalm was at the door doing a meet and greet. The hall quickly became packed with an appreciative, almost bubbly, audience eager to hear the former Premier give details about the HST as well as provide history about the realities of yet another tax to the average consumer.

Vander Zalm was quick to remind the crowd that prior to the election the Liberal government said it would not implement the HST. He explained how shocked he was when he first heard a brief report about the HST coming to BC on the evening news. He became so incensed, in fact, that he was ready to give up some relaxing golf games and (I'm guessing) a cruise or two to tour the province. This past while, he has stayed in some nice and also seedier hotels with a handful of other dedicated volunteers to inform and get the petition he launched signed.

Vander Zalm seemed certain that his group will collect the necessary signatures from at least 10 percent of the registered voters in each of BC’s 85 electoral districts by July 5th. Striving to get 15 percent so that the public's objections will be clear, it is a Herculean task that requires footwork from an army of volunteers.

I left the event with the impression that Vander Zalm sincerely believes the HST is bad for BC and that it can be stopped. I couldn't help but admire his late-in-life passion and willingness to sing a different tune.

1 comment:

  1. Timely post, and I love your questioning of the word "harmonized." Great writing, Penelope, with the musical analogy carried right to the last sentence! Bicycles and bicycle repairs will now cost more. That one hits close to home, and denies concern for the earth and for the "little man" on it. I plan to find and sign that petition. Thanks for the reminder.


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