A costly lesson in what not to do

It’s safe to say the harmonized sales tax was a public relations disaster from the get-go for the BC Liberals.

It’s safe to say the harmonized sales tax was a public relations disaster from the get-go for the BC Liberals.

To introduce such a sweeping, last-minute change to our tax structure, one that shifts the burden of taxation from business to the consumer, with the addition of seven per cent on many goods and services that were exempt under the provincial sales tax, and during the middle of a recession, required a sales pitch even Mad Men’s Don Draper would have a hard time conceiving. Making matters worse were the mixed messages. On one hand, we had former Premier Gordon Campbell telling us that the HST was not on the radar in the last election. And then we had a different story from former finance minister Colin Hansen during his pro-HST roadshow in 2009.

“Well yes, we’ve considered it, we’ve considered it every year as part of the budget process, and every year we have come to the conclusion that the cons outweigh the pros of it…,” Hansen told a Shuswap audience.

Voters needed more than questionable concessions made in haste and a $5 million ad campaign featuring cartoon stickmen.

What may have helped was the voice of small business people, people who work in agriculture, our neighbours who actually realized there was some good to be had in the HST. What we received instead was a referendum that was an opportunity for many, likely, to tell the BC Liberals where to stick their stickmen.

It is no surprise Clark is now reluctant to talk election.

 

Just Posted

Sicamous Eagles lose to league-leading Kimberley Dynamiters

The Eagles will be right back at it with a Sunday afternoon game against Chase.

People who are homeless in Salmon Arm provide consultants with key information

Urban Matters consultants gather information from ‘experts’ as they work on housing strategy

Word on the street: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

The Observer asked: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

Map points to mysterious ‘Waterdome’ in the middle of Salmon Arm Bay

City would like to have map marker removed, pilot recalls its significance

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

West Kelowna house fire demonstrates danger posed by candles

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says an unattended candle caused the Sunday afternoon fire.

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Slippery sections reported on Okanagan and Shuswap highways

Some sections of the Trans-Canada highway have black ice on them.

Most Read