We are pleased to post the following letter that was submitted by one of our loyal followers, Bryan Llewellyn. As always, you are welcome to submit letters and we will publish the ones we see fit to post. And, we do not necessarily agree with each letter that is submitted or posted. For what it is worth…
Now the imposition of the HST has been rejected by the people of BC, many of its supporters and supporters of the provincial Liberal government are blaming the voters who rejected this tax, saying they are responsible for BC being required to repay $1.9 billion which the federal government paid as an inducement to impose the tax. In additon, they claim, the same voters are responsible for another $1.1 billion shortfall in provincial revenue which will either a) cause a huge budget deficit, or b) require “belt tightening” to reduce the cost of social programs, or c) both.
Really, this is self serving fear mongering. Lets take the $1.9 billion. This was paid by the federal government as an inducement to introduce the HST. Why would the federal government want to do that? Quite obviously, it was because they could increase tax revenues by more than that amount. What would be the point otherwise? My question, then, is how much more money has the federal government taken from BC as a consequence of the introduction of the HST? How much will it be by the date targeted for its removal? Is it more than $1.9 billion? I bet it is.
Here’s the thing, though. We are being told that the federal government will want the money back because the province cancelled the HST, and we have no choice but to return it. If the HST is cancelled, then surely the federal government has no right to keep the increased tax revenue from its introduction, do they? If we must pay back the $1.9 billion, then surely they must pay us back the increased taxes they raised from the cancelled tax, must they not? Perhaps the proponents of the HST are expecting the people of BC to continue paying taxes which the federal government now has no right to collect, since the agreement has been overruled by the people and cancelled. Otherwise, we will be in a position where the federal government is both keeping the returned inducement and keeping the revenue from a now, unauthorised tax. It should be one or the other, surely?
Let’s take the $1.1 billion “shortfall” in revenue. This does not come into effect until after the HST stops being collected. Until then, a year and a half in the future, the HST will contine to generate an excess of revenue. That revenue can be used to pay this $1.1 billion shortfall, if there really is such as shortfall. Even if it is the case, we are being assured that we will return to the old system. That old system did not include the tax breaks given to corporations and businesses, so that portion of the HST revenue stream should now go to provincial revenues, being augmented with a return to taxation levels from those businesses that existed before the HST was imposed. I presume that when Premier Clarke proudly proclaims a return to the old system that it will be a complete return, and that she will not engage in any jiggery pokery to give exemptions to her Liberal Party supporters among the business community.
Even if I am wrong and the money has to be returned, and there is a shortfall in revenue, I take exception to the statement made by HST proponents that the people of BC are to blame for that fiasco. The people are not to blame. Gordon Campbell, Kevin Falcon, the Liberal Party caucus and Premier Clarke are to blame. This situation arose as a consequence of those people treating the voters with gross contempt, believing they could do anything they wanted and the sheep would bleat, then go lie down and shut up. Well, the sheep turned out to be wolves.
Those Liberal leaders who made this agreement must take responsibility for the consequences of their contemptuous and contemptible action. When the $1.9 billion was first offered, can’t you just see them drooling over it as a way out of their financial mismanagement of this province. In addition, Premier Clarke tried her best to keep the HST instead of bowing to the will of the voters, as she should have, and she is responsible for authorising and condoning the distorted funding which was used in an attempt to sway voters.
The provincial Liberal Party has a well established penchant for deflecting blame for its incompetence onto other people and other groups, particularly the NDP, but in this case responsibility falls squarely on their heads. These billions of dollars, basically thrown in the sewer for partisan policy reasons are a stain on the Liberal Party. When coupled with other fiascoes, such as BC Rail, overpriced run of river electricity projects, gas guzzling foreign ferries which lay idle, overpriced outsourcing of services and so on, the Liberal Party may well be responsible for wasting more of this province’s money than any other government in our history. It should also be noted that they have done this while racking up the two largest deficits in the province’s history and, reading between the lines, may be on their way to a third.