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April 5, 2011

Falcon Shows Why Government Can't be Trusted

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon discussed the HST on CKNW's Bill Good show just after the 9:00 AM news on April 5th. Go to the CKNW audio vault and listen to Bill Good holding Falcon's feet to the fire as Falcon muddies the waters.

Falcon's comments added to confusion on what the Christy Clark government is going to do about the tax. The initiative petition signed by hundreds of thousands of British Columbians did not call for bringing in "some form" of PST to replace the HST; it called for returning to the PST as it was in June 2010. The former PST exempted restaurant meals and a list of selected goods like bicycles; it did not apply to most services, from haircuts to funerals, from gardening to house painting. Falcon suggested that his government might make it different. When Bill Good asked whether restaurant meals would be exempted from the PST, Falcon answered that is part of the discussion they would have to have with British Columbians. That answer is an example of why the fight HST people said you can't trust the Liberal government.

Release of the promised report from a government appointed panel on the HST has been postponed until after the federal election. Fight HST, having refused to make a submission to a panel it considers biased, released its own report on the HST. Some of its points may stir debate but it is worth reading. Hard to deny its point that: "Low income rebates are also an admission by government that the HST does not result in lower prices, but adds significant costs for all consumers."

When will Christy Clark announce how much funding her government will provide to Bill Vander Zalm to fight the HST? Of course, the anti-HST group will have to appoint a financial agent and jump though all the hoops that are required to assure accountability for the use of the funds, but Vander Zalm is working with Bill Tieleman who had experience administering government funding in the 2009 referendum. I worked with Tieleman on the No-STV campaign in 2009; we applied for the $500,000 funding in November 2008; the first cheque was received in February 2009. The June 24, 2011 HST referendum is not far away; November 2010 is long past as is February 2011. Christy Clark promised that funding would be provided as it was for the 2009 referendum, but the deadlines are past. If she is not going to break or twist another promise, it is essential that she announce funding immediately for the anti-HST campaign.

Awarding the funding to anyone other than Vander Zalm, say to a Liberal friendly ad agency, would destroy whatever credibility the disgraced BC Liberal party has left, with or without Christy Clark.