Better ways than HST to spread the wealth

Re: NDP’s problems go deeper (B.C. Views, Jan. 25)

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 on to the backs of consumers. According to Statistics Canada, the average household will pay $521 more under the HST.

A recent editorial from the international magazine The Economist (The Rich and the Rest, Jan. 22, 2011) – hardly a bastion of left-wing thought – makes the compelling case that the best way to combat inequality and increase mobility is by investing government resources in raising the standard of living for the middle and lower classes, particularly through education. As the editorial states, “Oddly, the urgency of these kinds of reforms is greatest in rich countries, where prospects for the less-skilled are stagnant or falling.”

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, Medical Services Plan premiums and countless other expenses. It’s no wonder that in the past 10 years fewer Canadians moved to British Columbia than in the decade before.

If the B.C. Liberals really want to “combat inequality and increase mobility” then they’ll 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

New Democrat Opposition Finance Critic

Surrey

Just Posted

Widespread concerns spur UFV to halt international enrolment growth

New target hopes to limit international students to 20% of all enrolment to give time to ‘catch up’

Kent cuts ribbon on Hammersley Pump Station

The new pumps replace the 50-year-old drainage system from before

What can $4 million get you in real estate in Chilliwack vs. other places in B.C.?

A 78-acre property with a large house – or you could get a condo in Vancouver or an estate mansion in 100 Mile House

UFV & other 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

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

VIDEO: Harrison lights up for the holidays

The second annual Lights by the Lake kicked off Saturday, Nov. 23

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

Six B.C. municipalities accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon-pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, Richmond, Nelson and Rossland have intervener status

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Province wants to seize Langley property connected to drug lab

The Office of Civil Forfeiture is targeting a property on Fraser Highway

Most Read