Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yes Means No To HST

THERE ARE SIGNS OF POLITICAL shenanigans in my world. It is taxing to keep up with BC Liberal Government maneuverings when it comes to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) put into effect on July 1, 2010, without public consultation.

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


  1. Thank you for this post. It is far more understandable than the shenanigans put forth by the Liberals.

    I live far from any place where I must deliver my vote in person. It takes time and expensive gas to do so, and I'm certainly not alone in the huge Cariboo/Chilcotin district.

    I have my doubts about that 10%. It's easy to promise. I'll vote yes to abolish the HST.

  2. Very sneaky. The BC Liberals sound as dedicated to convolution as the federal Conservatives.
    Lots of people are going to vote incorrectly, I'm sure.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. It's like the old "apology" for rape: "No" means "Yes".


  4. Marion, just to clarify, I believe the ballot packages can be returned by mail. However, if the expected postal strike does occur, delivery will need to be in person at the centers I mention in my postscript.

  5. oh all these propositions need to be read line by line thoroughly.

  6. I can see how people would be confused! Yowser!

    Funny, I posted a stop sign today, too!

  7. That is very confusing indeed! I bet a lot of people get it wrong.

  8. Ballot rigging for the modern world.

  9. It sounds both sneaky and confusing.

  10. It does look confusing.
    I wonder why they didn't set it up for internet voting? i hope the people who vote YES will make the effort during this strike.

  11. Political shenanigans seem to be the way of the world. An honest desire to run the country fairly should be the given in any government decision. Sigh. Thanks for so clearly outlining both the history of the HST and the choice (however convoluted) citizens are now given to abolish or keep it.


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