In a Jan. 25 column, Tom Fletcher says the HST is the cure for inequality in British Columbia. But few will agree with such a claim, given that the HST is a $1.9 billion tax shift onto the backs of consumers. According to Statistics Canada, the average household will pay $521 more under the HST.
The B.C. Liberal record for helping low- and middle-income earners is abysmal. Middle-income families found that between 2001 and 2009, B.C. had the lowest growth in average hourly wages and the second-lowest growth in weekly wages in Canada. Since 2001 the minimum wage has been stagnant at $8 per hour – the lowest in Canada – and job growth has been much slower. In fact, B.C. had the worst job loss record in the country last month, losing 22,000 jobs in December.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals have made low- and middle-income earners pay more in hydro rates, MSP premiums and countless other expenses. The B.C. Liberals should stop wasting millions of dollars trying to convince British Columbians the HST is a good thing. Instead, they should raise the minimum wage, invest properly in education and stimulate job growth in a green economy.
Bruce Ralston, NDP finance critic