The people have spoken and it’s with some relief that the HST debate is over. Or is it?
The anti-HST side is to be congratulated on a job well done. Though not overly difficult to turn the masses against any idea of taxation, those determined to punish the Liberals for hastily subjecting this province to the HST certainly put in a solid effort. It created strange bedfellows and unimaginable allies.
Though we are certainly not going to quarrel with the outcome of a democratic process, some of the tactics used by the anti-HST camp were rather strange.
Over the last several months local MLA Michelle Mungall rarely missed an opportunity to transform everyday situations into ammunition against the HST. While putting together her summer wedding, Mungall talked about how difficult it was to plan her big day because of the added costs of the HST on items like buying local food.
Everybody knows weddings are expensive, but to whine about dollars and cents when your taxpayer-supported annual salary is $101,859 seems disingenuous to those who are really struggling to make ends meet. We can only hope nobody filled out a ballot with Mungall’s sad tale in mind.
Tactics like Mungall’s were employed all across the province as anti-HST forces preyed on easy anti-tax emotion. It turned this vote into a contest based on political gamesmanship rather than what is best for the future of British Columbia.
Of course the Liberals deserve the lion’s share of the blame for this mess. They were the ones who unleashed the HST without any regard for optics. This arrogance has cost the province time and money that will never be recovered.
Many are saying going back to the old system will hurt this province’s ability to stay competitive during these difficult times. If this is indeed the case, politicians on all sides need to take a hard look in the mirror. When they do, the source of any future economic misery will be sitting right in front of them.