Democratic Integrity Tops H-S-T Itself

I will sign the anti-H-S-T referendum petition.

That doesn’t mean I think the H-S-T is a bad way of regulating our tax structure or bettering our economy: it does mean I see protection and preservation of the integrity of our democratic system as a much higher priority.

Right from the start, I have always said I was willing to weigh/listen  to advice from  the economists and experts (even those from the government) on the H-S-T issue. I’m sure no expert myself.

But then came the election .. or I should say the post election.

The government’s “turnaround” on the issue … telling many people/groups it had no plans to introduce the H-S-T before the vote, but then doing just that a few weeks after the vote.  That really bothered me … as it did most of you, I’m sure.

And then came the latest reports that Victoria was talking to Ottawa about bringing in the H-S-T ONLY THREE DAYS after the election.

It’s clear … the FIX was in.

Liars! Deceitful elected representatives! With an arrogance that absolutely reveals disrespect for even those who voted for them!

Why couldn’t they even say they were still considering the value of the H-S-T before the vote; or even just bring it in months before the election. (It has been in effect in some other provinces  for years … and Ontario had already announced it planned to bring it in).   I frankly think the Liberals still would have won!

It’s looking more and more  like the Liberals just couldn’t bring themselves to tell the truth to the voters.  And they apparently thought they could lie … and just give the electoriate … even their supporters ….   the finger afterwards. 

We all MUST take a stand against this …whether we voted Liberal or NDP or Green or supported of any other party; we all MUST protect the integrity behind our democratic election system; we all MUST send a message to ALL p0liticians that we are not going to be lied to, deceived, taken for granted or for fools … without striking back.

If the government was to get away with this one … thumbing their noses at the voters and showing how they disrespect the electorate …  it would hurt our democracy far more than any H-S-T would help it. 

So I suspect I will be like most other British Columbians who are signing the petition calling for a referendum on the H-S-T: our real message goes far beyond any dislike of the tax itself. 

 It is:  “Don’t take us for fools … or for granted”.

Sign the petition.   Stand up for your own dignity and an honest democratic election system.

To find out where you can sign the pettition, go to the website: and look for the scheduled signing locations for your riding.

Let’s send the politicians a lesson they will NEVER forget.

Harv Oberfeld

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28 Responses to Democratic Integrity Tops H-S-T Itself

  1. Thanks Harvey – your reasons for signing the Fight HST initiative petition are as good as they get.

    But I do hope you take a longer look at how bad the HST would be for ordinary British Columbians – one small personal example:

    My condo strata fees are going to go up 4% as of July 1 because the additional 7% from the HST applies to building cleaning, repairs and renovations – most of what strata fees are paying for.

    That will cost me almost $200 alone – without considering airline tickets, restaurant food, haircuts, movie and theatre tickets and on and on.

    I don’t want to subsidize big business to the tune of $2 billion a year in the vain hope that they will cut their prices by that amount eventually.

    And given that most of what BC produces is exported non-consumer goods – aluminum, minerals, lumber etc – we will never see the benefits.

    (Response: I agree, from everything I have read on the H-S-T, that it IS a shift to the consumer from the manufacturer. As a consumer, I don’t like that … BUT I also believe reducing costs will improve B.C. companies’ competitive edge … lower prices … thereby increase sales, exports, maybe even result in expansion/more jobs. But as I said … in this case, the most important issue goes well beyond the pros and cons of the H-S-T: if a government totally deceives, lies and gives its finger to the voters ..even those who supported it … their arrogance must be dealt with ..and NOT ignored. h.o)

  2. Henri Paul says:

    Harv said in his column,
    I frankly think the Liberals still would have won!
    Yes quite possibly, Give that credit where it’s due….Carol James.
    This fall when we have the drive too recall, we should include James, as its very apparent the NDP echelon don’t have the testis to remove her.

  3. Curt says:

    We are slowly losing our democratic rights already. Politicians do not listen. Politicians lie, be it federal, provincial and in some caes, municipal. We are not a third world country. (yet)
    Enough already. And it’s time people didn’t just brush off their rights (not voting), it’s time to pay attention to what is going on and demand politicians don’t deceive us. It is imperative to our democracy.
    Thank you Harvey.

    (Response: I believe if this petition PASSES … all parties WILL get the message … we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. h.o)

  4. Leah says:

    To which I say: Amen!! and I’ll Second That!

  5. RossK says:

    Mr. O said:

    “….I frankly think the Liberals still would have won! (if they had introduced the HST months before the election)….”

    Believe it or not, I actually agree with you on this on Harvey.

    However, they clearly decided they were unwilling to take that chance.

    And that is the real issue here, is it not – they have bought into the concept of the ‘noble lie’…

    Thing is, these lies of course are myriad with this government.

    And many of them are much, much less noble than the HST.


  6. Lynn says:

    I did just that on Sunday. I couldn’t believe how many folks streamed in after me to sign the petition. Voters are angry! A big thank you go out to my fellow citizens who are volunteering their precious time to provide us an opportunity to sign the petition. They are spending their weekends and their homes. Thank you so much!
    Thank you to El Gordo for lighting a fire under the electorate. People are getting involved. They are mad as hell.
    Explore an exit strategy Gordie. Don’t be spiteful either.

  7. Mike says:

    Hi Harvey,

    I do have to say it’s absolutely great to have a person of your integrity and insightfulness keeping tabs on our government in ways far more to the point and direct than any of the toothless writers in the current MSM. Also, I have to agree with you wholeheartedly with your reason for signing the petition…democracy must be fought for and this is one of those times.

    The only thing I can’t agree with you on though is your response to a previous commentator that stated “As a consumer, I don’t like that … BUT I also believe reducing costs will improve B.C. companies’ competitive edge … lower prices … thereby increase sales, exports, maybe even result in expansion/more jobs”.

    The reason why I don’t see it this way is for the following reasons:
    1) Companies will not lower prices…they will increase profits/executive salaries and bonus compensation for a job well done.
    2) With prices not dropping and expenses going up for consumers, people will either chose or be forced not to consume.
    3) Keeping #2 in mind, with no increase in demand for product there would be no reason for increases in staffing levels…therefore no extra jobs created that would not have come about anyways due to an increase in the natural growth of our economy.

    (Response: Many thanks. Well, you’ve certainly touched on my fears that the H-S-T would lead exactly to the outcome you suggest. I’m sceptical we won’t see many big price reductions here in B.C., but I can’t believe that corps would not lower their export prices (to U.S. and internationally) accordingly to increase sales and be more competitive. Thebonuses forc execs etc would come later. But if the H-S-T results in major increased sales and expansions and more could work. It’s more the duplicitous way it was brought in that bothers me …and apparently los ofthose signing the petition. h.o)

  8. Genuine says:

    The reason they lied is that they couldn’t afford to lose the election with all the maleficence they have wrought in the contracts they have awarded ,this government is the worst that I’ve ever seen,they can not afford to lose the election for when a new government comes in all the books must be revealed,then if they investigate I’m sure jail time would be necessary.get out now or we’ll throw you out .

  9. Norm Farrell says:

    I could not agree more with you. IMO, the perversion of democracy is the single largest issue for anyone evaluating performance of Gordon Campbell’s Liberals.

    I will post the same link at my website. Every blogger should do the same.

    (Response: Great idea, Norman. Kind of people power, isn’t it! h.o.)

  10. DanR says:

    Yet even if they gather enough signatures it is not binding on the government. All they have to do is call a vote in the legislature and if they do not it goes to the people for a vote and even if 100% of the people say nyet it just forces a vote in the legislature and we all know how that will turn out since Gordo has a majority.

    The only hope is to hope enough BC Liberals vote against it or if the Lt. GG shows some balls and refuses to sign it into law.

    I think constant petitioning and protesting at the Lt. GG’s place would be more effective as he could veto Campbell’s plan easily. But he won’t as that position represents the leader of the province and not the people since everything is rubber stamped.

    This initiative should be binding and it is baloney it is not.

    (Response: The LG would do NOTHING … although appointed by Ottawa, he was chosen largely by Campbell.. You’re right about the referendum being non-binding .. BUT the political implications if the government ignored such a massive expression by the public would be enormous. h.o)

  11. patrick bell (NOT THE MLA) says:

    Yup, Agreed. This is a huge message that needs to be sent by the electorate.

  12. Keith says:

    Ayup Harvey,

    Good stuff as usual.

    Sure implementing the HST will lower the costs to business via a tax shift, but I strongly agree with the folks who believe we won’t see it passed along to consumers. As far as I can recall it has been Campbell’s gofers and the usual selection of cronies that have been telling the rest of us about the increase in jobs et. al. The same stuff that they have been peddling since they won their first term.

    What jobs.? Almost ten years on apart from the boom brought about by record low interest rates with record high commodity prices not much has changed, especially if you don’t have 604 as your telephone code. In many cases 25 year old wage rates which Gord and the chaps want to keep as low as possible, ( excluding the fees for the cheerleaders on the various government advisory groups, boards, commissions, crown corps. etc. etc.) 8% or so unemployment. However there has been a significant change in the provincial debt, from 37 billion in 2001 to somewhere north of 60 billion by 2013.

    Thankfully this issue has now convinced more people of the nature of a government if they don’t do anything about it. Hopefully at a minimum these folks will get out and vote for all levels of government at the next elections, then hold the person they voted for responsible if they don’t consider the opinions of their constituents.

    (Response: Your last line is the real message I hope gets out from all this. And if the referendum fails, I worry that all politicians will know they can deceive us, take us for fools …and get away with it. h.o)

  13. BC Mary says:

    Talk about disrespecting the people of B.C., how about that BC Rail hearing last week?

    It was listed on the BCSC’s schedule for the day of April 15, 2010 at 10:00 AM. There was no warning about a secret session.

    But when people arrived at Courtroom #53, the door was closed and locked!

    How’s that for a democracy?

    So good luck to all who are working on the anti-HST petitions.

  14. Crankypants says:

    The more people that sign the initiative, the better regardless of their reasons.

    Maybe it is time for the proponents to explain a few things to those of us that ain’t buying what they are selling.

    Colin Hansen and Gordon Campbell have repeatedly stated that they had to adopt the HST because Ontario did, and that is the only way BC would remain competitive in attracting business. If this were true then wouldn’t Quebec have been attracting business from all the non-HST provinces over the last 19 years? And wouldn’t all this new business have filled the Quebec provincial coffers with oodles of extra tax revenue? Well then, one has to wonder why Quebec is raising the provincial portion of their HST.

    The same scenario is also playing out in at least one of the provincial provinces in the maritimes that has the HST.

    Then there is the report brought forth by Jack Mintz. His report stated that the HST would create approximately 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. I would suggest that keeping the status quo would accomplish the same thing. The simple fact that the population of BC is growing faster than the other provinces would more than likely lead to the same results. More people means more demand for goods and services and logically leads to more employment.

    Here is another interesting bit of information. The government has all but admitted that $1.8 billion in taxes would be transfered from businesses to consumers. BC’s population is roughly 4 million strong. That works out to an average tax hit of $450 more per year per person. That may not sound like much to those that earn compensation of 6 figures and up, but the family that is bringing in around $35k per year will surely see it hit their bottom line. And remember that a person earning $35k per year is only making a tad more than a person working full time and making the minimum wage of $8.00/hour.

    Maybe it is these concerns that has kept the USA from adopting a value added tax regime.

  15. Jason A says:

    Another great blog post, Harvey. However, another thing that ticks me off is that I don’t think Campbell cares what happens past his current term. He’s sitting on top of a very high throne filled with hidden deals, endorsements, probably a bus load of Pepsi, and most importantly, his ego telling him he singlehandedly orchestrated the most memorable and successful Olympics in Canadian history. Even if he is voted off the island next elections, he still leaves knowing he left a memorable mark that will most likely never be trumped.

    (Response: And don’t forget the Gordon Campbell Site C Dam. h.o)

  16. Steve says:

    The reason I am against it is I see seniors and the working poor paying more to pay so that big business can pay less. There is something wrong with our fixed income seniors being asked to improve Jimmy Pattison’s bottom line.

  17. kootcoot says:

    Harvey, you might want to see a comparison published in the Province…

    … comparing the performance of the manufacturing sector, province by province. Apparently manufacturing shrank (up to a third in one case) in the provinces with HST and grew slightly in those without. Hmmmmmmm…….so much for an increase in manufacturing, it would seem!

    (Response: Now that should clear things up! 🙂 Ugh!! h.o

  18. DMJ says:

    Lest we forget, not so too many years ago, the ‘in power’ NDP were reduced to a rump of two seats after an electorate did not vote for them – in fact the electorate voted against the NDP en mass.

    The same could be true of the Liberals today.

    What really hurt the NDP, was that their supporters stayed home and did not vote. The evidence that the BC electorate treat both political parties as a bad bad smell, was in last years election, where almost 50% of eligible voters did not vote.

    What must scare Gordo and his crew would be a 25% anti Liberal vote from the uncommitted, tipping the scales for the NDP.

    Also a credible third ‘middle of the road’ party may siphon enough disenchanted voters (who just not vote NDP) to send Gordo into oblivion.

    I am lucky, I live in Delta South and we have a credible independent. Just imagine if 20 credible independents ran in tight Liberal seats? It would be enough to give both Gordo and what’s her name massive case of acid reflux!

    (Response: Great points! The only thing I would question is whether Lib “supporters” would stay away ..they are so terrified of the NDP they would show up regardless of what they say in advance. The interesting ones are those in the middle ..who could go and have gone either way in the past: if the NDP could appeal more to middle class and even above middle class voters …not focus so much on the homeless/poor/marginalized or the Green voters, who will stay Green whatever. h.o.)

  19. brian in kelowna says:

    Unbelievably, Kelowna will meet the 10% minimum and going for more!

    Sign, sign … everyone in Kelowna-Westside is signing HST petition
    Daily Courier Staff

    Local voters are signing the anti-HST petitions in droves.
    Westside-Kelowna organizer Matthew Reed reported Monday the anti-HST campaign has passed the 10 per cent threshold in that riding, and the two other Kelowna ridings should reach the magic number shortly.
    Westside-Kelowna hit the 4,100-signature mark on Day 12 of the campaign, and was expected to exceed 5,000 signatures by the end of Day 14 on Monday.
    “We hope to have eight to 10,000 signatures by May 1,” said Reed.
    Reed said Kelowna-Mission would likely reach 10 per cent by today and Kelowna-Lake Country by next week.
    Anti-HST organizers need 10 per cent of voters in every B.C. riding to sign petitions to force a referendum on the incoming tax.
    “We could tell five days into the campaign we were going to meet our goal quickly,” said Reed. “The majority of people want to sign the petition, and people are looking for the petition to sign.”
    In Westside-Kelowna, canvassers have been gathering signatures outside small businesses and in shopping plazas. Signatures were also gathered at Westbank‘s Cherry Pit restaurant and are being collected this week outside the Westbank Extra Foods from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
    Across the province, organizers report they‘ve passed the 10-per-cent mark in all ridings bordering Alberta, and are near the target in areas around Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, Terrace and Kitimat.
    Efforts will continue even after the 10 per cent total is reached, in case some signatures are rejected by Elections B.C.
    Reed said the goal in local ridings is at least 20 per cent.
    People can also sign the petition this week at the IGA in Glenmore and Jaquie‘s Kitchen in Lake Country from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

  20. StandUpforBC says:

    One thing that I think has dramatically compromised the strength of democracy in BC has been Campbell’s decision to go to a fixed election date, every four years.

    Think about it, even when governments that had solid majorities in previous years could not get away with the massive deception that the Liberals have gotten away with in BC for the last two terms.

    Why is this government not being called to account? There are a number of reasons (opposition and media aren’t doing their jobs), but one that always comes up is that “the public will forget by the time the next election rolls around”.

    The possibility that an election could occur at any time if an issue was important enough was a factor in helping to keep previous (federal and provincial) governments more accountable. This hallmark of our democracy was quickly thrown out by Harper and Campbell as soon as they got into office. There was little, if any, serious consideration given to the implications of this move. There was a reason these two “leaders” chose to make this particular change to our system of democracy so early in their assuming their respective positions of power.

    Now, it’s often said that the government has “a long time before they have to face the electorate, and “the public has a short memory.” The implication is that there is nothing that anyone can do to stop them. They can have their way with us until the calendar moves to that single date four years hence.

    We lost a very useful tool, and put ourselves at the absolute mercy of the government of the day, when we allowed Campbell and Harper to impose fixed election dates.

  21. Crankypants says:

    DMJ-You are bang on with respect to electing independent candidates. I would prefer to see 85 independents elected provincially.

    Our political system is not really a democracy but a form of democratic dictatorship. Also, our system leads to the elected people to theoretically serve two masters, the party they run for and the electorate they represent. No one can serve two masters because eventually these two masters will have diverging views.

  22. Lynn says:

    They don’t listen because, for the most part, B.C.’ers don’t speak up. They just go with the flow until the arrogance of the “ruling” party drops the proverbial last straw and pisses off everyone.
    Throwing out the bums but two is not good either. Look what we are dealing with as a result. More arrogance.
    A democratic system only works if citizens remain involved after they participate in an election.
    Sadly, the government of the day is a reflection of us.

  23. SharingIsGood says:

    Well said, Harvey, Bill, Mary and, really, all the commentors. It’s not just the HST, there were a number of other huge pre-election lies over the years.

    The BC Liberals said they wouldn’t sell BC Rail, nor privatize BC Gas (Terasen), nor BC Hydro. BC Rail has been sold, BC Gas and BC Hydro are fractions of what they used to be: much of their operations have been sold off to the private sector whose goal is to make profit – even on the backs of the people of BC. I believe in sharing, but with my fellow BC resident, not with those who are part of the corporate elite, they seem to be rich enough.

    (Response: It’s funny how we seem to get so used to it! But this one has clearly struck a chord. I’ve never seen so many so angry and feeling played for fools. h.o)

  24. Hugh says:

    BC is able to change the PST rate.

    I wonder if the HST will mean BC will have less control over our tax rates, since HST will be set by the Federal Govt.

  25. Gary L. says:

    You are absolutely right on so many points in your Post Harvey.
    We signed the No HST Petition last week.
    I have listened to the debate surrounding the HST, and read as much as I can find.
    At the end of the day, if it’s implementation was the best thoing since sliced bread, I would still have signed.
    The reason?
    I/we were lied to.
    It’s that simple……………….

    (Response: In fact the fact they deceived their own supporters so easily and quite apparently now deliberately should make Liberal voters more angry and wanting to send them a message than even the rest. h.o)

  26. brad says:

    That’s the biggest reason I hear from people signing petitions in Victoria, Harvey. People accept politicians will flipflop, they accept that the odd lie will happen.

    This one is the one that broke the camel’s back. People sign for many reasons, people join The FIGHT HST movement for many reasons, as Bill Tieleman indicated.
    I think people want the MLA’s to remember that the Premier may decide what you do in the Legislature, and where you sit in the Legislature….but WE decide IF you sit in the Legislature.

    (Response: Exactly. I think the worst part of this lie was the timing. The government was reportedly talking HST to Ottawa THREE DAYS after the election. There’s probably no worse disresepct for the voters ..even their own supporters ..than that. h.o)

  27. crh says:

    Have you heard the latest? Gordo is now claiming that he is sacrificing his popularity for this HST. What a hero.

    What comes next? Will he be walking on water?

    (Response: Based on his “truth” and tranparency record … I wouldn’t believe it if I saw it. h.o)

  28. Brad says:

    Hi Harvey,
    My wife and I signed the petition last week.

    After July 1st the line ups to cross into the USA are going to be massive.
    Want a business tip, open a store in Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham!

    Just remember Campbell said this will be good for B.C. businesses.

    (Response: The other thing to watch for is how many people are going to do business here…under the table ..for cash … thereby denying Gordon both the HST AND the PST. h.o.)

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