Liberals pay price for miscalculation

The BC Liberal government never seemed to get a sense of the full level of the public’s anger over the introduction of the HST.

The BC Liberal government never seemed to get a sense of the full level of the public’s anger over the introduction of the HST.

That fatal flaw in Victoria’s logic resulted in the BC Liberals always being a day late and a dollar short in their efforts to persuade B.C. voters to accept the new tax. And now Premier Christy Clark’s government has been left scrambling to pick up the pieces.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon estimates that could take 18 months, as the province begins the process of reinstating the old PST/GST system, including the repayment of $1.6 billion to Ottawa.

While we’ll never know what the result would have been if the government had done more to get out ahead of the public’s reaction, it’s now clearly apparent that the province underestimated the voters’ discontent.

British Columbians overwhelmingly rejected the HST, with 54.73 per cent voting to scrap the tax. Penticton voters were fairly evenly split, with 50.5 opposing the HST, while Boundary Similkameen rejected the tax by a 59.5 per cent margin.

As the groundswell of opposition to the HST first began to surface, then-premier Gordon Campbell trotted out a tax cut that amounted to about $20 for the average B.C. taxpayer. The public’s swift rejection of that overture likely hastened his departure from politics. Shortly after taking office, Premier Clark rolled out a rate cut. But the timeline of the cut — with the HST reduced to 11 per cent next year and dropping to 10 per cent in 2014 — was met with the same skepticism as Wimpy from the old Popeye cartoon, who would promise to “gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

An immediate rate cut would have carried a cost to the province, but likely not as steep as the estimated $3 billion it will take to reinstate the PST/GST — not to mention the transitional cost for business or the political price to be paid by Clark’s Liberals.

Nobody said democracy would be easy.

— Penticton Western News

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial funding in the amount of $300,000 has been announced for the Cariboo Regional District’s plans to improve the Anahim Lake Airport runway. (CRD photo)
$300,000 provincial funding to fuel Anahim Lake Airport runway upgrade

The recovery grant is one of 38 announced to support jobs in rural communities

Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
OUR HOMETOWN: Lifelong learning

Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe got his first teaching job in Williams Lake

Mayor Walt Cobb waves from atop a tractor as he turns onto Oliver Street in the Daybreak Rotary’s annual Stampede Parade. Patrick Davies photo.
Lack of funding, volunteers has Daybreak Rotary bowing out of Williams Lake Stampede parade

Club learned this week it won’t be receiving local government funding, for the second year in a row

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer films a segment of the newly-released The Way Home in the city of Revelstoke. (Ryen Dunford photo)
Brock Hoyer stars in new snowbike film: The Way Home

The film is completely free and was released on YouTube on Jan. 22, 2021

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

Most Read