Our View: Tax policy rejection portends election

Let’s face it, the HST referendum and debate wasn’t really over an unpopular tax.
People didn’t vote to get rid of it because they loved the PST-GST combination, much less preferred the way it was administered.

Let’s face it, the HST referendum and debate wasn’t really over an unpopular tax.

People didn’t vote to get rid of it because they loved the PST-GST combination, much less preferred the way it was administered.

It was, like so many elections fought over the years, a vote of confidence in or lack thereof in the government and its policies.

What the resulting vote to extinguish the HST  indicates is that the Liberals’ time in power in British Columbia, unless some very drastic steps are taken to woo voters, is fast coming to a close.

The HST referendum acted as a kind of dry run to the provincial election. It had very similar elements to a political campaign: dislike for the current government, fanned by the way the combined tax was introduced; an ambitious politician anxious to champion the cause of the so-called “working people” – Bill Vander Zalm; and a simple method of changing things: vote against it.

The HST had pockets of support: Oak Bay-Gordon Head residents voted to keep it. But those in NDP-held constituencies overwhelmingly chose to get rid of it.

Regardless whether peoples’ reasoning for voting for or against the HST was sound – the complexities of tax policy are lost on most people – it was based on trust.

While many have celebrated the result, we all need to brace for the aftermath. The province, having committed to restoring previous PST exemptions and looking at $360 million less in tax revenue annually, will immediately seek ways to make up the difference – the Liberals have no appetite for operating deficits.

By the time the province returns to the GST-PST combo in 2013, the B.C. government will have spent hundreds of millions backtracking and recreating tax infrastructure. Then there’s the point of repaying $1.6 billion to the feds.

The ironic part of this “people’s referendum” is that we may well have put the Liberals in a similar financial mess to the one they inherited from the NDP back in 2001.

Just Posted

VicPD officer answers the call from Canada Revenue Agency phone scammer

Officer politely asks questions, frustrating scammer

Body found in Central Saanich waste recycling facility deemed non-suspicious

Coroners Service investigating circumstances of death

West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

RCMP say stay put once you’ve called for help and listen to instructions

Saanich mom on a bike turned away in Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

Film crews in downtown Victoria producing upcoming TV series

‘Significant economic contributions to the area’ coming from production

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

B.C. man gets life with no parole until 2042 for murder of Belgian tourist near Boston Bar

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchres

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Most Read