“The World Bank approached me about six years ago to assist them with numerous projects involving the corporate governance of parliaments and the entities that report to them, such as statutory officers and crown agencies…The results speak for themselves: the World Bank continues to rely upon me for assistance.”
– Craig James, the Acting Chief Electoral Officer appointed before Gordon Campbell’s exit as Premier. He heads Elections BC which runs the HST referendum.
A letter titled “I have decided to vote YES to abolish the HST” came from Shane Simpson, MLA Vancouver-Hastings who’s riding is just east of where Common Ground office sits. He explains how the HST’s affects regular working people, here is part:
“At its core, the HST is an unprecedented tax shift, transferring $1.9 billion per year in taxes from large corporations to families and small businesses. This is unfair, and there are no significant benefits to the province to justify this wealth transfer to the corporate sector while increasing the burden on families and small business.
The government position on the HST has changed continuously since the tax was sprung on British Columbians after the 2009 election. Now, the government is pledging a 2% HST reduction by 2014. Just a few months ago Premier Clark said that dropping the rate of the HST by a point or two would be buying their votes with their own money.
The government is promoting the referendum as a choice between a 12% tax or a 10% tax, but the reality is the HST is a 7% tax increase on items not previously taxed under the PST. Items like restaurant meals, home repairs, movie tickets, taxi fares, newspapers, magazines, gym memberships, haircuts, dry cleaning – even a sandwich at a coffee shop – cost 7% more.
In addition to increased costs, the HST removes provincial control over tax policy. For example, provincial exemptions on energy-efficient appliances and bicycles were possible, but now those items are taxed 7% more.
There are no spending limits on third party HST referendum advertising, which means the corporate community will be able to spend millions to promote the HST without accountability. Even more objectionable is the government spending over $5 million of your tax dollars to promote the HST. These activities would be illegal in a regular election campaign, but the premier has chosen to allow it.
I have decided to vote YES to abolish the HST and return to a PST/GST taxation model in British Columbia.”
How to vote in the HST referendum
The HST Referendum runs June 13 – July 22. The vote will be conducted by mail-in ballot. All registered voters 18 years or older are eligible to vote. Voters must be resident in British Columbia for at least six months immediately before July 22, 2011. Completed ballots must be received by Elections BC, a Service BC Centre, or an Elections BC Collection Centre before 4:30 p.m., Friday, July 22, 2011. The deadline to request a voting package was midnight, Friday, July 8, 2011, (though this may or may not change due to the postal interruption). If you have not received your ballot call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 or visit www.elections.bc.ca.
For more info go to www.fightHST.com
Smart meter programs are headed for disaster
BC Hydro to rushing into spending $1 billion to install “smart” hydro meters in every BC home by 2012 is a disaster waiting to happen, says Official Opposition energy critic John Horgan.
“Recent evidence from Ontario’s smart meter experiment show more than 80 per cent of people are actually paying more, not less, under time-of-use billing using smart meters,” said Horgan. “We are poised to make exactly the same mistakes here in BC.
More than four million smart meters have been installed across Ontario, allowing for a time-of-use billing scheme to be implemented that is intended to reward users with lower rates for using electricity in off-peak hours. But recent numbers from Toronto Hydro show that 84 per cent of people’s electricity bills have gone up, not down. “The Ontario experience has shown that smart meters don’t work when it comes to conserving energy and saving money. Instead, they are proving to do just the opposite,” said Horgan, noting the billion-dollar price tag to install the meters in BC could be better spent elsewhere.
“Just imagine how much good a billion dollars could do to stimulate the economy and save energy if it was directed to home energy retrofits. Energy efficiency measures like upgrading heating systems, proper insulation, and other home upgrades are a proven way to manage electricity demand.”
“British Columbians are staring down the barrel of a 50 per cent rate increase over a short five-year period, mainly due to an ideologically driven private power agenda architected over the past seven years by the B.C. Liberals,” said Horgan.
B.C. Hydro announced that electricity bills will be going up by an average of $7 per month, or about 10 per cent, each year from 2012 to 2014. That means the average household will spend $252 per year more on their electricity bill by 2014. These increases are in addition to the increase of nearly 13 per cent planned for 2011 and
“It’s time to review the impact private power producers are having on the bottom line at B.C Hydro. It is just not good enough for the B.C. Liberals to say ‘trust us’ – the public needs an independent look at this massive transfer of wealth. But the B.C. Liberals have exempted all private power projects as well as billions in capital spending from oversight.”
Maybe it is time to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “When the people lead the leaders will follow.” So let the large corporations pay their fair part of taxes instead of off loading it to the peasants. Get smart rather than being irradiated by so called smart meters… maybe they need a referendum too.