Harmonized Sales Tax in BC? I'm feeling bullied

(A letter I sent to my MLA, Rich Coleman, member for Fort Langley - Aldergrove; why not send something similar?)

Dear Mr. Coleman,

I'm writing today to plead with you not to adopt the Harmonized Sales Tax measures currently before the government of BC. This measure has caught me -- and many in my acquaintance -- absolutely by surprise and not in good ways. I feel a bit bullied -- and I see others less well off than me about to be bullied even more.

We have our PST that exempts food, school supplies and children's clothes -- and otherwise only covers goods. HST as a harmonization with GST which applies more broadly cannot but be inflationary to the consumer and will hurt all British Columbians, especially those who are less well off than myself.  HST keeps us from fostering family-friendly policies at the cash register and I urge you to refuse any proposal from the Federal government that fails to address this inequity. They cannot write such amendments to the GST, so therefore this proposal should be denied.

Alternatively, the rate of the HST should be significantly lower than PST + GST -- yet I cannot think it possible that a rate that will be fair to the individual tax payers will be advantageous to the province in the long term.

The only remaining alternative is clear: HST is bad for British Columbians and your government should be ashamed to be the ones bringing it to the floor. And this, especially in the face of the general silence on the subject in the previous election and the specific denial that it was a possibility in one forum during that election. This is the kind of issue that requires a mandate from the people of BC and it was not raised in the last election. You have no such mandate, so to foist it on us now is highly dishonest and irresponsible.

I write this with the admission that regardless, your seat is probably safe. Still, you ought to look out for the well-being of the individuals and families of this province, even if their ballot-box voice will never be strong enough to bounce you out of your safe seat.


Arthur N. Klassen
(my contact information)

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