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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
B.C. cabinet minister quits over HST

B.C. MLA Blair Lekstrom, who represents Peace River South, has unexpectedly resigned as energy minister and quit the Liberal caucus due to public opposition to the coming HST.

"It is clear to me that the residents of Peace River South are opposed to the harmonized sales tax and are unhappy with the way in which our government moved forward with this policy," Lekstrom said in a statement released Friday morning.

"This is not about being right or wrong; in fact, I firmly believe that government is making a decision they believe will help the province, but as we have been unable to bring the public along, I acknowledge there is a need to re-evaluate this decision," he said.

"In light of the widespread opposition to the HST, I believe it would be prudent to bring the move toward the HST to a halt and immediately engage British Columbians in a dialogue about our taxation policy.
Gordon Campbell, well known for being tone-deaf to the public's mood, is really blowing it with this one. It looks like the public anti-HST campaign is going to succeed. If the Campbell government ignores a successful petition result, there will be individual recall campaigns and I predict they will succeed in some ridings. I think we are looking at the beginning of the end for Gordon Campbell's government.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It occurred to me reading my post that some non-BC ehMaccians might not be familiar with what's happening.

In BC we have unique laws that allow for a registered petition with Elections BC to run a campaign that can result in changes to the law. Canvassers registered with Elections BC have to collect a minimum of 10% of the signatures of registered voters in every riding to trigger a process where the petition can either be adopted as legislation introduced in the Provincial Legislature or put before the entire province as a referendum.

It's a limited form of direct democracy that so far has been extremely difficult for any group that has tried to achieve the minimum result. But the HST is so widely hated, polls say 80+%, that this one has already met the 10% according to the organizers and is close to at least 15% in almost all ridings. Many ridings have figures that are far higher.

Once the campaign ends, the signatures are sent to Elections BC for verification.

The organizers have vowed that if the Campbell government ignores the result, likely by putting it before the Legislature and simply voting it down with their majority, the group will move towards recall campaigns against MLAs in individual ridings. BC also has recall legislation, again very difficult to meet the bar, but in this case quite likely to succeed. In Blair Lekstrom's riding, he would have been recalled for sure, as the tax has its greatest unpopularity in that area of the province.
 

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I have always felt that recall abilitities were absolutely vital for democracy to really work.

Good luck when you're out hunting rats!
 

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I don't pretend to be an expert in the minutia of this issue, but in BC there are two factors at work here:

1. It's a tax increase in a time of recession. Dumb move.

2. The government here has been completely tone-deaf to public opposition, which is enormous and growing due to the arrogance of the Campbell government.

I've met the man himself (once bumped into him grocery shopping!), and he seems a nice enough guy -- but this is just the last straw on a long string of things even his supporters are uncomfortable with.

It should be noted for know-nothings outside the province that "BC Liberals" are not to be confused with the similarly-named national party. "BC Liberals" are their own party and their own brand name. They have nothing to do with the (Federal) Liberals and are viewed here as centre-right in their views and policies.
 

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By the way Dalton...Thanks for the $100. but I still don't want the HST.

What is going to happen with my GST kickback?

Will I still get that 4 times a year too?

Or will I have to just get less with the HST kickback 3 times a year instead?

This whole thing stinks of clawback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
chas_m said:
1. It's a tax increase in a time of recession. Dumb move.
Yup, it's a tax increase. The Campbell gov line is that it's not because the tax savings that businesses will realize will be passed along to their customers. Of course everyone knows that is unadulterated BS.

The main businesses who are pushing for this are the largest corporations who will see some significant savings with the HST. They will be able to claim an additional 7% as input tax credits that they just had to eat before. No one is stupid enough to believe the government propaganda that this will result in lower prices.

For small businesses like mine the effect will be minor at best. And the red tape savings will be miniscule. It takes me about 10 minutes per month to file my PST form now, whoop-de-doo.

I do however think the concept of the HST is a good one. It's just that this government's method of implementing it was deceptive and will result in more taxes paid by consumers and less by corporations, as well as more taxes paid by citizens in total. Services that were only subject to the 5% GST will now had 12% added on. Restaurant meals will also see the additional 7%.

There was an entirely reasonable proposal made by the BC Green Party that if an HST is brought in the total rate should be reduced somewhat, possibly to 9 or 10% instead of 12. Then the additional tax that people would be paying on services and restaurants would be offset by an overall lower rate. But Campbell said that couldn't possibly happen because the terms that Harper laid down precluded that. I don't believe that.

Under that proposal the businesses would be happy with their savings, citizens would see no increase to their overall tax burden and there would be less red tape with only one sales tax. I would have supported the HST under that scenario.

But I'm happy to see the Campbell gov finally shooting themselves in the foot badly enough that it will cost them.
 

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If the Campbell-Harper HST goes ahead in BC, I will be reducing spending as much as possible and will be bringing business to Washington State where it will be tax-free for BC residents!

Why not just leave the GST and PST as is... so I know where my taxes are going to federal and provincial. It is clearly a tax grab and shift to consumers. I highly doubt that businesses will pass on their savings or hire more employees as a result of less red tape.

I was thinking that Campbell may have been good for BC, but not anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If the Campbell-Harper HST goes ahead in BC, I will be reducing spending as much as possible and will be bringing business to Washington State where it will be tax-free for BC residents!

Why not just leave the GST and PST as is... so I know where my taxes are going to federal and provincial. It is clearly a tax grab and shift to consumers. I highly doubt that businesses will pass on their savings or hire more employees as a result of less red tape.

I was thinking that Campbell may have been good for BC, but not anymore.
There's no question that the HST is going ahead. It's due to come into effect July 1st.

The frantic hope for Campbell and his boys is that once people start to pay it, we'll all calm the hell down. I'm not sure when the referendum campaign is slated to end, but I believe it's at some point after July 1. Then the results have to go to Elections BC for verification and then if it passes that, sent to the Legislature.

If Campbell decides to be cute, he may delay the referendum result being brought before the Leg. He also might decide that no Legislative schedule will happen in the fall — he's already pulled that one before. So even if the referendum succeeds, it might be a long time before it gets near being voted on. They're hoping beyond hope that we'll all have gotten used to the HST by then. Their plan would be to then vote it down with their majority.

I would bet that it's possible that Campbell's big corporate Board of Trade supporters might even try and make some of their partners implement a few high profile price reductions that they will make sure is well covered in the media, in an attempt to make their case that the HST will be fabulous for all. I also think that they'll be sending out some juicy HST rebate checks to poor and lower middle class folks to hopefully quieten them down.

But the Zalm is pretty cunning as well. He was playing backroom politics when Gordon Campbell's most exciting event was getting drunk and driving for the first time. I think he'll manage to keep up the pressure with MLA recall campaigns to come. In the meantime, I wouldn't be surprised if we see more nervous Lib MLAs fleeing the sinking ship.
 

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Coming to Ontario too

People in Ontario are not happy about HST either. We do not have the referendum or recall legislation that BC does, so there is not alot of noise right now.

For the most part, I provide service ( programming) which currently is taxed at 5%. This will rise to 13%. For business clients, it probably will not be a great problem as it will be a wash tax<->Input credit. But I also have not for profits and the odd private person. Not sure what will happen there.

The public will definitely be hit on all fronts. Utilities will now be taxed and so will other items.

As a previous poster said, the combination is a good idea in that it reduces administration and does provide for simpler input accounting. But again, as in BC, it is a revenue grab. It is not neutral. The goverment says that in the end it will be neutral due to rebates to lower income etc. But to me that is like McGuilty's health tax that has never ever financed health care in any way.

Here, I think the payback time will be next election. I do not think they have any idea of the simmering anger.
 

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If the Campbell-Harper HST goes ahead in BC, I will be reducing spending as much as possible and will be bringing business to Washington State where it will be tax-free for BC residents!

Why not just leave the GST and PST as is... so I know where my taxes are going to federal and provincial. It is clearly a tax grab and shift to consumers. I highly doubt that businesses will pass on their savings or hire more employees as a result of less red tape.

I was thinking that Campbell may have been good for BC, but not anymore.
The benefit is to business in BC. Right next door is Alberta, where there is no PST at all.

Currently businesses in both Alberta and BC write off the GST as an input tax credit. But in BC corporations pay PST on everything which is 'consumable' in their business. So, right now, if I need a new computer for my business, I'll 'pick it up' while I'm in Alberta, and save the 7% PST. I still pay the GST in Alberta, but I can claim it as an input tax credit, so it's a wash.

So, under the current tax system, if a new business is planning to set up, if they're looking at their costs, they'll set up in Alberta, rather than BC, just because of the lower costs - no PST on consumables. With the HST the full 12% will be claimable as an input tax credit it will level the playing field on that issue, which means that other factors (work force availability, lifestyle choices, cost of living, etc) will come more into that decision of where to have the business located.

The PST has always been a detriment to new business in BC, especially when compared to Alberta.

Consumers, on the other hand, aren't nearly as mobile. They like to live on the west coast.

So this is definitely a tax shift from corporations to consumers, although it can be argued that the cost of doing business should be going down which should result in somewhat lower costs to consumers. (But we all know the reality.)

The real question is: does having more new businesses located in BC (versus Alberta) result in a net improvement to the overall well being of BCers?

Also, in the bigger picture, we need to look at the income tax rates of both provinces, to see the full effects of taxation policy and the overall mobility of the tax payer, both on income and consumption based taxes.

(I'm ambivalent on the PST/HST thing, because as a business owner I can see definite advantages, but I'm also a consumer, so I know I'll be paying more for certain items - the biggest being restaurant meals - which are not currently taxed under PST. It was a big shock moving to BC from Alberta. I think a lot of people here are under the mistaken idea that 'getting rid of the HST' means lowering taxes, but really, all it does is maintain the status quo, and I'm not too happy with paying 7% on what I do already!)

They certainly could have avoided a lot of this if they'd lowered the provincial component of the HST, or exempted things that weren't taxed under PST. Because it certainly does look like a big tax grab the way they've implemented it.
 

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I live about an hour away from Montana. I live about 90 minutes from BC. Both easily accessible...

Been going to both areas all my life and enjoy both immensely.

Recently made a business trip to Cranbrook, BC. Fuel was $1.079/l in BC, in AB it was $0.929/l. In Montana, it will be cheaper yet, including exchange. There are a ton more comparisons I could make (food, lodging, alcohol, etc.) but there is no need. This year, given a choice, I'll be heading south rather than west.

BC's high costs will not only affect locals, it will hurt the tourist industry, large. There are always a few "must do" things in BC but we'll be topping up the fuel tank in AB and not bringing back half a tank, packing lunches, staying with friend/family when possible, generally spending far less.

Anyone who thinks the so-called "savings" will be passed onto consumers needs a reality check. In this economic climate, small business especially will be looking at any extra revenue they can grab. Can't blame them...
 

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It reminds me of the hit people felt when that idiot Trudeau pushed us onto the metric system. Any small gouge that could be passed onto the consumer, for food, fuel or milk was cheerfully added despite promises that no such thing would happen,
 

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It reminds me of the hit people felt when that idiot Trudeau pushed us onto the metric system. Any small gouge that could be passed onto the consumer, for food, fuel or milk was cheerfully added despite promises that no such thing would happen,
But yet, here we all are years later, using the far superior metric system just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
They certainly could have avoided a lot of this if they'd lowered the provincial component of the HST, or exempted things that weren't taxed under PST. Because it certainly does look like a big tax grab the way they've implemented it.
This is what baffles me, I don't like Campbell, but I didn't think he was quite so dumb as he's proven himself to be. I can't put it down to anything other than arrogance and being completely out of touch.

If the provincial component had been lowered, their revenue from it would have remained on par because of the increased revenue from the HST applying to services and restaurants. They could have sold this to people. Even if they'd backed down to this position when it was clear the opposition to the HST was only going to get worse, it may have possibly worked. But at this point, even if Campbell reversed course and announced that the HST is cancelled, I don't think he and his party would escape the political fallout.
 

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If it is so superior, why do grocery stores still see meat by the pound as a first preference? And why is lumber still largely sold as 2 x 4s and things built on 16 inch centres? And why do cars refer to miles per gallon, not that stupid litres per 100 bit? Superior my a
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If it is so superior, why do grocery stores still see meat by the pound as a first preference? And why is lumber still largely sold as 2 x 4s and things built on 16 inch centres? And why do cars refer to miles per gallon, not that stupid litres per 100 bit? Superior my a
Oy vey! Is there any retro-crank theme more tired than metric haters? Sheesh, start a thread.
 

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If the Campbell-Harper HST goes ahead in BC, I will be reducing spending as much as possible and will be bringing business to Washington State where it will be tax-free for BC residents!

Why not just leave the GST and PST as is... so I know where my taxes are going to federal and provincial. It is clearly a tax grab and shift to consumers. I highly doubt that businesses will pass on their savings or hire more employees as a result of less red tape.

I was thinking that Campbell may have been good for BC, but not anymore.
Campbell-Harper HST?...

I think you need to read up on your history, the HST was implemented in the Atlantic provinces long before Harper's time. This is a Provincial decision cut and dry. The only thing that the Feds have to do with it is to "allow" it/facilitate it happening, i.e. implement the Provincial decision.

No matter how much the anti-HST campaigners try and and implicate the Feds on this this and make them complicit, it is the Provinces that make the decision. There is already a precedence of HST implementation in this country and if a Province chooses to go the HST route that is their right and the Feds will not stop it. There in no difference between it being facilitated for Ontario and BC from the manner in which it was facilitated for the Atlantic provinces.
 
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