The ill-fated Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in British Columbia went out with a whimper on April 1.
It is fitting the hated (by the great unwashed at least) tax died on the one day of the year when pranksters play April Fool’s Day jokes on family and friends.
Certainly it was a foolish joke the B.C. Liberal government pulled on British Columbians following the 2009 provincial election – after stating during the election campaign they weren’t even thinking about the HST.
It’s a prank that will likely cost the B.C. Liberals their chairs on the government side of the legislature.
It must be noted that every single B.C. Liberal MLA voted in favour of the HST.
Eventually, British Columbians rose up and rallied to have the HST removed.
Showing their complete and utter disregard for the voting public, the B.C. Liberal power brokers refused to follow the wishes of the electorate, and virtually dared the disenchanted to go through the petition-gathering stage to force the provincial government to hold a referendum on the elimination of the HST.
It was at this point the distaste for the HST mutated into loathing the BC Liberal Party.
The roar from the sleeping giant went beyond the dislike of a tax shift to growing dissatisfaction that overshadowed all of the hard work individual MLAs did in their constituencies – because they toed the party line.
The biggest burr under the saddle of the voting public was the arrogance of the B.C. Liberal brass, as they spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars trying to sway the electorate in the run-up to the referendum vote with their silly stickman TV and newspaper ads.
It took the B.C. Liberal government 11 months to implement the HST, but after they lost the vote, it took them 19 months to get rid of it, as they squeezed every last dime they could out of the taxpayers.
Now, the government is scrambling to get businesses registered for the transition back to the Provincial Sales Tax and Goods and Services Tax combination.
While it has relied on the media to get the messages out to the business owners, it certainly didn’t spend millions of dollars on stickman ads to help businesses make the transition.
Of course, bringing attention to the disaster that was the HST wouldn’t have worked very well in the popularity polls as we head into a provincial election.