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Vander Zalm slams the HST and Campbell ‘flip-flop’

Friday, March 26th, 2010 | 5:00 pm

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By Kathy Michaels

Bill Vander Zalm refuses to sit back and accept the Liberal government’s “serious flip flop” on the Harmonized Sales Tax, and he doesn’t want you to either.

That’s one of the reasons the former B.C. premier will be making a stop in Kelowna Saturday night on his anti-HST tour.

“Premier Bennett  before me and all the premiers after me, including Campbell, were opposed to the implementation of the HST because we all said it was a bad thing for the province” said Vander Zalm.

“But suddenly because of huge budget overruns and spending, perhaps, this government changed its mind at the last minute — this is a very serious flip flop.”

It’s a change in tack he believes will line the pockets of big business, take money from the working class and fuel unsavory business practices.

“People need to know we are going to see a tremendously big underground economy in this province,” he said.

“When you tax 12 per cent for services and goods you will find a lot of business people going to homeowners or consumers saying ‘pay me cash and I won’t pay the tax.’ So the government will lose both the tax money (from the transaction) and income tax because it won’t be reported as income— we have a big problem here.”

He also takes issue with the disparity between public buy-in and political support.

“We just travelled to the north and everybody was against not just because it’s yet another tax, and they’re taxed to death, but because it’s also a matter of democracy,” he said.

“According to the polls, 85 per cent of British Columbians are opposed to it and every MLA in the government said ‘forget it, we’re voting for it anyway.’ That’s hardly democracy. That’s dictatorship.”

This isn’t a new message for Vander Zalm, since September he’s been touring the province, slamming the HST. But this leg of his travels has more to do with canvasser recruitment.

“What we are doing now is telling people about the effects of the HST and also trying to garner volunteers in every constituency to canvas and get signatures for (an anti-HST) petition,” he said, noting that canvassers are required to be registered with Elections B.C.

“Between April 6 and July  5, we need to get legally 10 per cent of all the registered voters in every constituency, all 85 throughout the province, but we’re targeting 15 per cent.

Then we’ll go to elections B.C. they’ll check it for accuracy and present it to the legislature so they can either adopt the bill that is attached to the petition, which rescinds the HST, or they can decide to send it to a referendum of the people.”

Preferably, the province would ditch the tax right now, he said, but that’s not going to happen.

Since the announcement that B.C. would get the HST came along, both the federal government and the B.C. Liberals have been lauding its implementation as the most important thing provinces can do to improve their competitiveness.

The HST as a means to help out health care, and a tool to make businesses run more effectively. They’ve said many will benefit from reduced costs, enabling them to lower their prices and expand their businesses.

Vander Zalm doesn’t even see the benefits to the business community.

“The only businesses I hear from are those who are negatively effected, and that’s nearly all businesses except the really big businesses,” he said.  “The really big businesses … are wringing their hands saying ‘the good people of Kelowna are going to pay more taxes so our shares are going to be worth more again because it will all go to their bottom line’.”

Vander Zalm rallies will be held at the Schubert Centre in Vernon, Saturday at 3:30 p.m., the Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna at 7:30 p.m., the Lakeside Resort in Penticton Sunday 11:30 a.m. and at the Sonora Community Centre in Osoyoos Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

kathy@kelowna.com

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3 Responses to “Vander Zalm slams the HST and Campbell ‘flip-flop’”

  1. Fred says:
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    Never thought I would be on the same side as the Zalm, but
    this is one case we agree. What has to happen here is the
    government must be held accountable for mismanaging the
    Provinces economy. Think about this, if they were really
    looking after things they would have seen a down turn coming lots of people did. Besides they would have to have
    know the red ink was way more than half a billion before and during the election therefore they lied to the public
    about both the size of deficit and their intentions on the
    GST. The debt will have to be paid, but accountability is
    very important here.

  2. Mott Hoople says:
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    This is the one time ALL of BC must stand as one and so NO to – we are not going to take it anymore. I am sick and tired of the government putting their hand in my pocket and taking my money.

    Everyone please sign this petition when asked to do so.

  3. Gloria says:
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    I have been telling everyone, what our community is doing. Living in the land of mill towns, people up here have lost everything they had. Campbell has shipped mills to China and our raw logs. Mill towns are becoming ghost towns, because of all the mill closures. It is said, during Campbell’s time in office, he has cost, 20.000 loss of mill jobs. BC’s budget, combined with the HST, is going to cause, double the amount of homeless people. Citizens up here, have lost everything they had. Social Assistance people have had their, $75 housing allowance, taken away by Campbell. No address, means no welfare. All of these people need to be fed. Everyone can plant their back yards into vegetable gardens. People are ordering chicks, for eggs and meat. There is even, a mobile unit that comes to your place and does the slaughter for you. Some farmers will supply meat. Farmers will even give, Apartment dwellers a garden plot, for a low price. Root cellars, keep vegetables all winter. We, have a person, who is building winter greenhouses, and will teach others. By fall, all we will have to buy is, flour, sugar, coffee, tea, salt and pepper. We will even have herbs grown. There will be a barter system. Every community has, mechanics, roofers, plumbers, painters, and everything else you need. Every community, must be able to feed themselves, within a hundred mile radius. The toughest part is, housing the homeless. Red tents are fine for the summer, however, it gets 40 below up here, living in a tent isn’t an option. I am a senior, and, my parents were homesteaders, their first house was a soddie. BC, has regressed so, far back, we may have to live in soddies again.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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