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

Greater Victoria-based digital crisis line sees spike in chats

Service allows youth to chat with volunteers through instant messaging services, text message

UVic chemist claims international prize for ‘reversible’ preservative

University of Victoria green chemist and civil engineer Heather Buckley led a… Continue reading

Impaired driver crashes into Victoria police vehicle, injures officer

Cook Street collision occured in the early morning hours of Tuesday

Get ready for the 39th annual Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Up to 9,000 particpants are anticipated for this year’s three-day race weekend

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Saanich mayor and council will usher in new year with a pay cut

Saanich council to wait and see what other cities do with federal changes to tax exemption

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Most Read