B.C. VIEWS: A hard look at your choices

Let’s assume that when everyone in B.C. gets to be finance minister for a day, a majority choose to throw a $3-billion chair through the office window to show how mad they are about the harmonized sales tax. The cleanup will take two years, but first there will be a provincial election to decide who holds the broom and dustpan. And the choices are becoming clear.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon is alarmed about the impact on future revenues if the HST is dismantled over the next two years.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon is alarmed about the impact on future revenues if the HST is dismantled over the next two years.

VICTORIA – Let’s assume that when everyone in B.C. gets to be finance minister for a day, a majority choose to throw a $3-billion chair through the office window to show how mad they are about the harmonized sales tax.

The cleanup will take two years, but first there will be a provincial election to decide who holds the broom and dustpan. And the choices are becoming clear.

You have a new B.C. Liberal leader who has tacked to the centre on the minimum wage and business taxes in an effort to seek forgiveness for the high-handed administration that lost the public’s trust.

And you have two opposition parties that are entirely reactionary in their approach to today’s fast-changing world.

There isn’t much to say at this point about the B.C. Conservatives under John Cummins. They are against modern treaty settlements, the carbon tax and (I think) the HST. They stand for lower taxes, but so far that doesn’t include a reduced sales tax rate.

The rest of their platform is platitudes, with enough of a whiff of protest to pave a path for an NDP government.

And the NDP manages to make the B.C. Conservatives look modern.

In January I described how the B.C. NDP constitution still formally endorses the government taking over major industries, and explicitly rejects all for-profit activity. See here for the convoluted Marxist language, which boils down to ‘state good, competition bad.’

A reader provides a real-time example of how this principle would apply to a problem confronting the B.C. government. To prevent another riot in Vancouver, the government should supervise an orderly redistribution of Stanley Cups.

This core principle of socialism, an 80-year-old relic, was debated at the national party’s convention in Vancouver on the weekend. Socialist dead-enders rallied to keep it alive, rejecting vague new wording that favours “social democratic principles” to ensure “economic and social equality.”

This isn’t just an academic discussion for party conventions. One of the last acts of the NDP opposition in the B.C. legislature this spring was to propose a legislated end to poverty.

According to their bill, B.C. should create a Ministry of Poverty Reduction with annual goals for imposing the redistribution of wealth.

The “Poverty Reduction Act” contains a weasel-worded definition of poverty: insufficient money to “acquire and maintain economic self-reliance” and “facilitate integration into and participation in society.”

Does this mean a guaranteed annual income? Can people achieve “economic self-reliance” by collecting welfare? Does anyone actually believe this stuff?

If you believe unionized state monopolies are the best business model, I guess so.

I won’t elaborate on the fringe parties such as Chris Delaney’s B.C. First, a splinter from the B.C. Conservative stump.

The Green Party is the only one other than the B.C. Liberals that looks to the future. Perhaps too far in the future. The Greens want a dramatically increased carbon tax and a transition to a “steady state” economy that doesn’t try to produce and consume more. Try eliminating poverty with that program.

I frequently get letters from people who accuse me of parroting the government’s line on issues such as the HST and poverty. If there are political alternatives out there that make actual sense in today’s world, I’d love to hear about them. Until then, these are the choices.

Any day now, NDP leader Adrian Dix might start to unveil the positive alternative he has promised for an election that may come this fall. That will be something to examine closely.

Right now, he’s urging you to throw that chair.

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com

twitter.com/tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

A Milbert’s tortoiseshell rests on a flower. Nature Chilliwack says butterfly gardens for every stage of life are possible using plants native to the area. (Photo/Nature Chilliwack)
Nature Chilliwack offers butterfly garden tips

Gardens can be created using local plants, the nature club says

(Photo/Mary-Jean Coyle)
Community Camera for June 11, 2021

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read