No Excuse For FURTHER Liberal HST Stalling

The BC Liberals, their friends in the corporate and media communities, have tried to sell the public on their supposed “business”  abilities …unlike those “socialists” on the other side.

And yet, after the voters ordered them to get rid of the HST,  they are INCAPABLE of  returning for a full NINETEEN MONTHS  to a provincial sales tax regime that was in effect in this province for probably more than 50 years.

Pay special attention to the time lines … because I believe they tell you a lot about the Liberals’ abilities/willingness to act/react and carry out the voters’ instructions:

The Liberals were re-elected May 12, 2009 and we now know that within a very few days, their government was having dealings with the federal government over bringing in the HST …even though Premier Gordon Campbell had personally denied during the election campaign, that the HST was even being considered.

Amazingly, though, they were able to announce plans ….complete with finalized negotiations with Ottawa… to introduce the HST in BC on July 23, 2009 … only NINE WEEKS after election day…and only EIGHT WEEKS after the new government was sworn in.

Yes, the Liberals clearly CAN work fast when they want to … it was only their acumen with financial figures was soon shown to be quite fictional ….  after they, and their economic experts, had all vowed the HST would be “revenue neutral”.

And too many in the media actually believed them … parroting that “expert assessment”  over and over ….hook, line and stinker.

But there was still more VERY FAST work to come… the Hated Sales Tax went through complete legislative consideration, debate, approval, Royal Assent, a business education program, province-wide cash register adjustments and a huge advertising campaign … ALL fast enough for the new tax to go INTO EFFECT July 1, 2010 … less than ELEVEN MONTHS after this MAJOR change in the way British Columbia does business was approved and taxpayers began paying the new levy.

Amazing speed!

And yet they expect the public to believe now that things actually take a lot longer to reverse than to implement.


The voters spoke in August 2011 and told the government: GET RID OF THE HST.

Seems to me that would be a fairly simple legislative task: just bring back the previously repealed legislation and lists of eligible and exempt products and services.  Maybe consolidate some of old bills into a single new one; maybe even tweak the coverage; and certainly give business enough time to reset their cash registers.

Six months …tops!

But no, the business experts’ party now say the transition … back to the system we used for so many decades … will take until April 1, 2013 to implement:  NINETEEN months after the referendum results were announced.

Are provincial bureaucrats so incompetent or lazy that they can’t bring back the previous tax …legislation, regulations and all (complete with any recommended modifications of the previous Acts) in six or nine months?  If so, they are lucky to be working in government: because any administrators in private industry who said it would take them more than a year and a half to bring back a system they had used for decades before…would be out on their rear ends within weeks (without fancy lucrative severance packages too)!

I believe the lonnnnnnnnng delay is due to political reasons: an arrogant government that disrespects the will of the people as long as possible so their big business friends … and the government itself ….  can cash in as long as possible on the lop-sided HST, which has loaded an extra tax burden of hundreds of millions of dollars on consumers …especially the middle class.

And I believe the public knows this too: the latest poll dropping the Liberals to a miserable 23 per cent popular support.

The election is now only 12 months away … yet the Liberals still show no signs of understanding … let alone catering to … the public will.

People WANTED the HST be gone by now!

It could have been done; it should have been done; and every day it remains … and every extra dollar it continues to pull out of the voters’ pockets … is another nail in the coffin of the current Liberal government.

With the announcement that  the HST will linger to April 1, 2013 the only thing that can save them now would be some sort of huge NDP/Dix gaff.

Otherwise, they’re toast.

Harv Oberfeld

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37 Responses to No Excuse For FURTHER Liberal HST Stalling

  1. Burgess says:

    Harvey I believe there is also a much more sinister motive behind the slow replacement of this tax.
    1) BCRail documents. (will go ‘missing’)
    2) BCHydro Bankrupt and sold
    3) Along with time to sell of BCLB warehousing a distribution to private business by more double dealing party insiders.

    In other words keep the public eye on the return of the PST so more public assets can be sold off behind closed Cabinet doors.

    (Response: Nothing would surprise me anymore…and although I was away, I’ve heard worrisome things about the sale of the BCLB warehousing. I hope the working media have taken a very long, hard look at this. h.o)

  2. Merv Adey says:

    Welcome home!

    (Response: Had a wonderful 3-week cruise … from Miami all the way to Vancouver on Norwegian Pearl…beautiful ship and the friendliest crew I’ve ever encountered on the many cruises I’ve done. But I did miss all the fun NEWS from BC and Canada. h.o)

  3. Lee says:

    C’mon Harvey, the Libs needed the time to re-invent a whole new kind of stupid. I had actually thought that they did a right bang up job of the original stupid but seems that in fact they have been able to outdo themselves. Who’da thunk? right? Right? RIGHT?

    (Response: Well, they certainly are a blogger’s or reporter’s dream! You really have to wonder about the “advice” they are gettingv from their high paid experts or party strategists. Maybe there’s an NDP mole in their midst …or judging by their actions/policies maybe a dozen! h.o)

  4. D. M. Johnston says:

    Yes it seems that the BC Liberals live in a world unto themselves and don’t give a fig about the public at large.

    More and more the BC Liberals are seen as a party that only caters to opportunistic political friends and cronies.

    The wonderment of it all is that they clearly do not understand why the public are so peeved with them. I do think that the Liberals have been drinking their own bath water for so long that they actually believe their spin and when the mainstream media keep the real stories of proliferate spending, cronyism, and possibly unlawful misdeeds off the front page, it is easy for the Liberals to fall in a trap of their own making.

    Adiós Premier photo-op and enjoy those expensive fam trips abroad, your time is going to come and if the public is lucky, we may see you in a new venue, in the courts.

  5. Gary E says:

    Further to all this Falcon has introduced an additional tax on vehicles. I firmly believe that this move is contrary to the wording of the referendum to repeal the HST. In other words I allege that the government is breaking the law.

  6. egress says:

    …and it’s just a coincidence that the PST will be back on the books a few months before the next election…

  7. Ed Seedhouse says:

    Welcome back Harvey, we missed you. I always enjoy your blogs even when I disagree with them, which seems to be about half the time.

    But everything today is, to use old long outdated hippy lingo, “right on, man, right on”.

    (Response: I will try hard in the next few months to raise your “agree” level to at least 60% … and if you help me see the light on the other 40 by adding your perspective to our discussions on here, we may even make it to 70%! h.o.)

  8. cherylb says:

    I think we should be serving notice to the Lieberals that the sale/giveaway of our assets needs to “cease and desist” right now. The will of the people is for them to stop! Any decisions made now will be undone after the next election and taxpayers will launch a class action suit against the BC Liberal Party AND every sitting Liberal MLA. Enough is enough!

  9. Ian Fromme-Nelson says:

    Welcome back, Harv!

    Hey, you didn’t happen to bring any real journalists back with you, did ya?

    As well as with re-implementing the old tax system, they’re also not too good at holding quick elections. Don’t I remember CC saying something about having a provincial election in short order?

    (brief commercial: “from the folks who gave you Christy Crunch, new Bloys-n’-Berries! Now Nuttier!)”

    (Response: CC said a lot of things before she was elected that she never followed through with afterwards … including seeking a mandate a.s.a.p. h.o)

  10. morry says:

    To admit that one can’t implement a plan any faster than 19 months is to indicate one’s. INCOMPETENCIES.

    This just adds fuel to the fire that the BC Liberals cannot be trusted. They lie and are wantonly disrespectfull of voters.

  11. R says:

    April 1 is that joke on the public.?50 billion in BC debt is not.

  12. kootcoot says:

    Welcome back to the land of stupid Harv, you shoulda brought some Mexican journalists back, they have balls, the ones that haven’t been murdered yet.

    As far as I know the BCLB warehousing/distribution has already been privatized, done deal! I imagine they can sell everything else, maybe even your house in the 12 months they have left.

  13. Jim Goddard says:

    I remember an interview I did with retired UVIC polysci prof Norman Ruff
    right after HST was introduced. He said it would be the death of the
    Liberal government because it did two things voters hate. They were
    lied to and every time they have to pay extra because of the HST, they
    will be reminded of that lie and how much it litterally cost them.

    (Response: Jim G worked for many years at News 1130 and Norman Ruff summed it all up very perceptibly at the time. I suspect the Libs (Campbell) figured there would be some hoots and howls but they underestimated (to put it mildly) the public’s angry reaction and determination to force a retreat. h.o)

  14. e.a.f. says:

    I have noticed that while the lieberals are talking about reintroducing the pst, some media are talking about how expensive it will be for small business to implement the P.S.T.

    its like the lieberals & their front people are trying one more time to convince the citizens of B.C. the h.s.t. is a good thing & the p.s.t. is too expensive.

    I think Ruff called it right on.

    The leiberals have done nothing much for the citizens of B.C. More people are leaving for other parts of Canada for jobs & a better place to live, i.e. be able to afford a roof over their heads. The lieberals keep talking about all the jobs they created but gee I still keep seeing people I know leave B.C. for other parts to get a decent paying job.

  15. Crankypants says:

    Today on Bill Good’s show, better known as the official media arm of the BC Liberal Party, a tax accountant continued the assault on the intelligence of the great unwashed.

    She stated that the return of the PST will cause job losses and rising prices because businesses will face increased costs and lose their competitiveness. What a crock of bear scat. Businesses thrived for 60-plus years under the PST and will continue to do so going forward.

    Let’s see. When the pro-HST crowd was doing their sales job, we were told that the tax would be revenue neutral, create thousands of jobs and lower prices to consumers. As far as I can tell, they were wrong on all three counts. What plausible reason is there to assume that any predictions by these so-called experts regarding the return to the PST will be any more accurate?

    What we really need is to eliminate all forms of sales taxes and user fees, and institute a fair and equitable income tax regime. We also need to abolish good old general revenue. Taxes collected should be earmarked for specific reasons rather than a gigantic slush fund that can be squandered willy nilly by which ever government that happens to be in power.

    (Response: What the “experts” and the government media mouthpieces don’t understand is that we DO understand: the HST is good for big business…because it relieves them of lots of taxes, even if their profits are in the millions or hundreds of millions …by passing it on to the consumers, even those who live on only hundreds a month. Now if I just get my municipal council to cut MY property taxes and just add it on to my neighbours (even though they’re pension is lower), I’d understand the HST logic much better! h.o)

  16. Norm Farrell says:

    H.O., you just don’t understand the complexities of this. Bill Good and his guest expert explained it Tuesday:
    “We’re going from a WWII bomber to a 21st century jet with a pre-television, island tax in a world where we’re all interconnected…”

    Actually, maybe we’re going from a jet in a post-radio world to a bomber.

    I dunno… it’s so confusing.
    Or something like that. They didn’t sound too sure.

    (Response: Well, you’re right: I just don’t understand it! Using the NW analogy, wouldn’t it be good to put the old “bomber” back in place until the new “jet” version is ready … instead of just leaving the “people” undefended …. and fuming? h.o)

  17. Lew says:

    “I hope the working media have taken a very long, hard look at this.”

    Right after they take a very long, hard look in the mirror.

  18. Dave says:

    I listen to the 08:00 news and sports on NW then turn the radio to TEAM 1040 or Jack FM

    Listening to Michael Campbell pontificate on the glories of the BC gov’t and increased austerity and less taxes (comically almost always wrongly) is no longer even entertaining and Bill Good is too far off the deep end to even ask interesting, relavent or even pertinent questions very often anymore to be remotely entertaining.

    As a small busines person the HST was more costly (it effected my bottom line by over 3%) preventing me from hiring another person. In addition, this tax had effected my household disposbale income by well over $1,500 last year. Money that would have been used go for dinner, buy necessities or simply invest. I feel for those who on fixed or restricted incomes who it would have really impacted with a crowbar and a sledgehammer.

    I find it amusing that taking money out of the economy from those who spend it is a better solution to this and other Liberal 7 Conservative” goveernments that instituting a fair and equitable tax code for business and people.

    I guess selling off our rivers and resources for a song with little in return to the pubic purse or benefit is preferable policy.

    The Liberals, the NDP before them and Social Credit before them became tone deaf and the public tuned them out. You would think at some point one of the pointy headed “higher purpose” types advising the clownshow would have figured it out.

    This is history repeating itself in glorious technicolour.

    Whats’ truly sad is we are all the worse off for this continued magnificent incompetance.

    (Response: The real disgrace of Campbell is not his biased right wing one-sidedness (he’s entitled to be so blind) but that of CKNW, which dengrates itself to such a low level by allowing such a one-sided daily and weekend propaganda mouthpiece airtime without a counter-point expression of opinion. I suspect Corus offiicals in Toronto don’t realize how badly their local management are hurting their brand on the West coast. As I pointed out in an earlier blog, CKNW dropped to THIRD in local ratings…once almost impossible to imagine. h.o)

  19. BurnaBee says:

    Your article is an excellent analysis of the situation but does it not worry you that the government is going to restore the PST exemptions in a separate bill? So then the very day after the election next year, the government can remove certain exemptions or change them around to suit themselves and business. All without any consultation with the gullible voting public – just like after the last election!

    (Response: Quite often legislation sets out the principles and regulations set out the details. But yes, it is worrisome that they still won’t say yet EXACTLY what will be covered by PST and what will be exempt. What have they and their bureaucrats been doing for the past 10 months! h.o)

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  21. DonGar says:

    Welcome back. Lots to catch up on.

    I think the Laurence Peter quote sums it up best

    ” Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status”

  22. Sean in Vancouver says:

    Welcome back Harvey!

    Remember, don’t pay attention to the polls; Cases in point: November 1948: “Dewey Defeats Truman” one prominent Chicago paper declared, and most recently, all polling firms had it that Wild Rose would win a sweeping landslide in Alberta’s election last month…..Look at what happened.

    As to the HST, many hardcore BC Liberal supporters want the government to keep the HST, not get rid of it….The longer it is kept, the happier BC Liberal supporters will become…Or, the longer the HST is around, the more people will come to like it and beg the Clark government to keep it.

    A lot has happened since you’ve been gone: The Alberta election, the Socialist win in France, the shambles of Greek politics, and the return of Labour in local politics in England, and the rise of the Mulcair NDP in federal politics (if one pays attention to polls)….

    (Response: You’re correct on polls: they can change rapidly …and we still have a year to go to the election. That’s why I included the caveat about Dix/NDP screwing up. As for the HST…the discussion/battle over the tax is OVER. Rightly or wrongly, the people have decided ..and from a political point of view, the Libs should have ENSURED they put it all behind them a.s.a.p. …even if it meant bringing back all the old legislation/regulations within six months. They could have adjusted/tinkered with the details afterwards … but to drag it ALL out so publicly and continue to RIP OFF the voters until April 2013 will cost them dearly. h.o)

  23. Mark says:

    Any one who believes that there was no Inter-Governmental talk prior to the last election has been standing too close to Marc Emery
    The Bureaucracy at one level of Government can’t agree on the colour of ink to change the pens to in less than two years and 15-20 meetings. The negotiation of a fundamental change in taxation can not happen in 9 weeks.

  24. Scotty on Denman says:

    Welcome back, Harvey; agree since you’ve been gone the HST’s last chapters have definitely been written. The final episode featured NDP by-election wins in onetime BC Liberal strongholds; the final lines were finance minister Falcon’s observations on the stupidity of it all. And with that the government seems to have nothing more to add. The HST has finally become canon even the government’s Public Affairs Bureau can’t redact.

    Don’t roll the credits yet, though, the movie’s not quite over. Yet to be seen is the retreat of the worst government in BC history: a matter of some urgency now with less than a year left, it might be ordered and exclusive or it might be unduly hasty in greed or panic. If it becomes a rout, it will be because the party has fallen apart in a parliamentary way. Though factionalized by Christy Clark’s leadership victory, and eroded in the Assembly by defection and by-election losses, it maintains a majority of several seats. Their precariousness, however, will remain a slight distraction from the more natural anticipation of kicking this government from office, of repairing the damage it’s done, inquiring into corruption and the prospect of pursuit and restitution.

    The HST is just a chapter in the bigger story of this bad, bad government. Thank goodness it’s almost over.

  25. Raymond Blessin says:

    You spent your whole career inside the belly of the corporate media beast. Your plea at the end of your post today exposes your bias: “the only thing that can save them now would be some sort of huge NDP/Dix gaff.” “Otherwise, they’re toast”.”
    Busted, you are.

    (Response: Just trying to keep it real … and what I said is political reality, whether you agree or not. h.o)

  26. Colin Nielsen says:

    The Liberrals, in their dilusional state, may think that they can improve their impossible election chances by getting as close to a balanced budget as possible – to do so, they will withhold/cut back on the expense side (BCTF, BCGEU net zero policy, etc), keep HST revenues until April 1, 2013 (the end of the next Fiscal Year), lie about the size of the current year budget and then hope that enough voters will forgive them – won’t happen but might account for their “stupid” foot dragging on the HST.

  27. Curt says:

    The old pst was not payable on used cars bought privately. It was payable at dealerships though. And to hear Kevie said it will remain. This is again, another LIE by a lying, arrogant, deceitful Lieberal. I guess his car salespeople took him aside eh? Don’t want to be handing over $ to a private citizen who can sell their own car, and the poor used carsalesman gets nothing in their pocket. They’re a bunch of idiots as well. Dealership ripoffs are rampant imo, as well as their labour costs which is disgusting. I don’t set foot on these properties.
    Disgusted by the deceit yet again Kevie and Co.
    Just call the election will you!

  28. morry says:

    Mr. Falcon:

    the SMART thing to have down would have been to have run the Election based on your government’s desire to bring in the HST. You should have disclosed your convictions PRIOR to the election, NOT AFTER.

    “stupid is stupid does”

  29. RichardV says:

    The BC Liberals are hell bent to do as much damage to this province as they can before the next provincial election. Apparently Crusty Clark doesn’t think she has a hope in hell of being re-elected. She has applied for her old job back at NW.

  30. Keith E. says:

    Hi Harvey,

    Grand to have you back. I can’t add much to the excellent post and comments, however in reference to your opening paragraph;

    “The BC Liberals, their friends in the corporate and media communities, have tried to sell the public on their supposed “business” abilities …unlike those “socialists” on the other side.”

    Not just the HST, take yer pick boys and girls, ferries, provincial debt and deficits, hydro,IPPs, shadow tolls, MSP premiums et. al. just for starters. And you are correct they will sell and still be selling this line of cobblers, unfortunately there will be enough folks around too lazy to do the research or ignoring reality parroting that and more, assisted by the usual lamestream media bootlickers.

    Hopefully the NDP have their fiscal record brought up to date as they will need to.

    As Sean in Vancouver noted, right wing parties and politicians are getting the boot as the respective populations are working out where they are at after being led up the garden path. Just hope our B.C. population are in the same place.

    (Response: All parties try to highlight the mistakes/shortcomings of their opponents and downplay/forget their own. But I sense the HST debacle has created a whole new category …where the public still feel lied to, cheated, and that they continue to be overtaxed …and nothing the Libs say (so far) have altered their focus on “getting revenge”, no matter how long the unelected premier and her unmandated government delay going to the polls. And the latest delay in getting rid of the HST is just making people angrier. h.o)

  31. Gary T says:

    Welcome back Harvey. Hope the vacation was good. You are right about the HST and I tend to agree with others here that the Lieberals need this money right to the end in order to help cook the books and fund any goodies they try to trot out to buy us with. I for one will dance in the streets when they get the boot in the next election. The Conservatives are not an option yet, at least under Cummins and some of the radicals he has in place. One day maybe , but not yet.

  32. W.O. London says:

    Welcome back Harvey – great post, so the holiday must have recharged the batteries!

    (Response: Thanks. Not sure if it was the holiday or the headlines (HST, Conrad Black, Mulcair, Harper) Grrrr! : LOTS for us to talk about! 🙂 h.o.

  33. Robert says:

    Amazing after being told by right wing we should have kept the HSt Gord on NW he then slams Dix and the NDP while begging for money for Chorus feeds Kids. Yea and then tells a caller later on that a majority elected the Conservatives to make all these cuts. No couth.

  34. RS says:

    Welcome back HO. When the HST is gone and the PST back in place, it’s going to be very disappointing when I go for a celebratory meal only to find there aren’t any savings to be had.

    (Response: Of course there will be no reductions. And by the way, where are those lower prices we were supposed to enjoy as a result of all the billions of extra dollars big business and the government were raking in and were supposed to reward us with lower prices? Hope SOMEONE asks those media pundits or their “experts” who still defend the HST consumer ripoff! h.o)

  35. Judi Sommer says:

    Hi Harvey, Arrogance is right! Falcon has called our wishes and the recently debated tax legislation a return to a “better stupid tax”!
    He has the list of items previously exempt but we are to take on blind faith that they will be included in the regulations. whenever that will appear!
    There seems to be some slippage already on the re-sale of cars, cars that were fully taxed when new. Seems they will still be under the HST,at least according to the debate in the Ledge.
    Why doesn’t Falcon follow the example of Hansel and Gretel who laid a path of breadcrumbs and then simply doubled back to find their way home? I do not believe that the process is more complicated than it was to imposeit on us. Press the rewind button-no problem!

  36. D.G.B. says:

    When I look at how many years our dollar was kept artificially low thanks to Eastern politicos, I wonder what they did with it? They never upgraded equipment because it cost too much to buy from the U.S. or Europe. It forced the citizenry to pay more for everyday items not manufactured here, and ironically made people shop for cheaper goods down south. Now, the dumb assets want to start it all over again. What are manufacturers doing now to help themselves retool cheaper? Nothing.

    (Response: Exactly. And as I said in my response to kootkoot, the loss of manufacturing in much more related to cheap labour in Asia and lack of union benefits, pollution controls, safety conditions etc. and nothing we do here will change that reality….not even articficially propping up financially untenable manufacturing plants. h.o)

  37. edward says:

    Why wait until next May, recall now.

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