Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Business tries to sink HST initiative, at great cost to the Liberals

This is such a bad idea I wondered at first if it was a hoax e-mail.
The province's big business organizations have gone to court to argue that the anti-HST initiative petition should be declared invalid and tossed.
People who signed the petition were supporting a bill eliminating the HST. The business groups maintain that the federal government has responsibility for the tax and provincial legislation killing it would be unconstitutional.
The courts will sort out the arguments. But the last-minute effort to thwart the initiative is a disaster for the Liberals. The legal challenge reinforces the public perception that the tax benefits corporations, not individuals and families.
If it's successful, the more than 700,000 people who signed the petition will feel cheated. And the Liberals' chance of re-election in 2013 would shrink dramatically.
Surely the last thing the business community should want is an NDP government in three years.

Here's an example of how badly this could unfold, from Justine Hunter's article on the legal challenge in the Globe.
“We are not challenging the 700,000 people who signed the petition – they have been led down the garden path by the petitioners, they didn’t really know what they were signing,” said Rick Jeffrey, president of the Council of Forest Industries.
So it's not that the business groups disagree with the people who signed the petition; just that they think those 700,000 people are dupes too dim to know what they were signing.


Statement re launch of Judicial Review of HST initiative

Business Groups Seek Certainty on Validity of HST Extinguishment Act
Vancouver (June 29, 2010) - In a June 4, 2010 article in the Vancouver Sun, former BC Attorney General Geoff Plant questions the constitutional validity of the draft bill at the heart of the anti-HST initiative – the so-called “HST Extinguishment Act.”
Mr. Plant’s argument is rooted neither in the politics nor in the substantive merits of the HST itself. Rather, he focuses on whether or not the draft bill at the core of the anti-HST initiative can, constitutionally speaking, become law in British Columbia. If the draft legislation is unconstitutional, the B.C. legislature will be legally unable to enact the bill as drafted by its proponents, regardless of how many signatures the petition receives.
The vast majority of B.C. business organizations support the HST as an integral component of the province’s long-term economic prosperity. The tax will make B.C. businesses more competitive in Canada and around the world, and will encourage investment and job creation in the province. However, concerns about the constitutionality of the draft HST Extinguishment Act – such as those raised by Mr. Plant – give rise to uncertainty about the future of the province’s tax policy. This uncertainty has the potential to harm B.C. businesses and the economy at large.
Concerned about this uncertainty, a number of business associations have today filed for Judicial Review of the decision to approve the initiative petition and its draft bill in the first place. This process will enable a judge to make a simple determination as to whether the draft bill is constitutionally valid and therefore suitable for introduction to the Legislature. The petitioners are the Council of Forest Industries, the Mining Association of British Columbia, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, the Western Convenience Stores Association, the Coast Forest Products Association, and the BC Chamber of Commerce.
We are hopeful that the Judicial Review we have requested can be completed expeditiously, providing British Columbians with certainty and confidence that considerable time and money will not be expended on a draft bill that is constitutionally unsound and therefore incapable of becoming law. The Judicial Review will provide clarity as to whether or not the petition can legally move forward.
Seeking judicial review at this juncture will avoid the considerable legal confusion that would result if the initiative process were to proceed unchecked on its current course. There should be no hesitation whatsoever in taking the necessary steps to ensure that British Columbians are presented with all the pertinent facts as they consider government policies that will profoundly impact the province’s future.
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For further information, contact:
John Allan, President & CEO, Council of Forest Industries
Pierre Gratton, President & CEO, Mining Association of BC
Philip Hochstein, President, Independent Contractors & Businesses Assoc.
Wayne Hoskins, President, Western Convenience Stores Association
Rick Jeffery, President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
John Winter, President & CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce


cherylb said...

ha, ha, ha....that's funny! Could they be any more stupid? With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Go ahead guys....

Demand your judicial review. You think it will make one whit of difference to any of the canvassers or signatories? WE KNOW that we succeeded, and that RECALL is next. You want to quibble in court? Go ahead. Waste your money. You'll be there by yourself while we're recalling your pets.

Anonymous said...

Boycott 7-11 and Mac's

OK. Two can play this 'game' - let's start with a boycott of all 7-11 and Mac's convenience stores.

The boycott should go until the "Judicial Review" is withdrawn in its entirety. It would be too easy for business to drop 7-11 and Mac's from the legal action, but carry on their insidious campaign in the courts.

Anonymous said...

Are these twits working for the NDP?

cfvua said...

Not all that surprising considering who they are and what government they have purchased recently. As a business owner with obut 50 employees, I can officially say that none of these people represent my companies. The HST is not going to cause us to lower our prices or hire more people. It will in fact cause us to raise our pricing in order to to pay the wage increases to our employees who will need more to purchase the same goods they are currently buying. I have not been duped by anyone selling the petition , but I have been duped on several occasions by the liberal government that I am ashamed to say I voted for in 2001. On the promise of course that BC Rail and Hydro would not be privatized. And again with this
HST. Go ahead and insult me some more and others like me in your rush to court mega corporations, you have forgotten the residents of BC. These same people probabl think that the minimum wage should be lower too. No wonder I won't ever pay dues to any of them.

Anonymous said...

'They' laughed when the petition started.
'They' joked and dug up past sins.
'They' mocked the chance it would succeed.
'They' sneered.
'They' now are resorting to the courts. (HAH!)
'They' are the 'robber barons' of this century.
Recall in the Fall.
THEY can get stuffed.

Anonymous said...

And what if the process is ruled not legal? What then genius. Your partisanship is an embarrassment Wilcocks.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:41

Are you saying you really think this is a good idea? Here's what happens if this incredibly foolish suit succeeds: all 700,000 who signed the petition will be even more highly motivated to sign recall petitions. According to tonight's news, the anti-HST folks are planning on launching 24 of them, of which less than half need to succeed to send the Liberals down the road. And you think this is smart?

Rick said...

"OK. Two can play this 'game' - let's start with a boycott of all 7-11 and Mac's convenience stores."

I'm all for boycotting 7-11 and Mac's.

Pass it on.

Kim said...

I can't afford conveniance store prices now, and fully plan to boycott them. Good article Paul, I wonder about the IP Addresses of those anon naysayers? A fun new hobby of mine. Every time I see a letter of support for the HST, I search elections canada for political contributions. You'd be suprised how many show up. And with 5 figure donations.

kootcoot said...

"Surely the last thing the business community should want is an NDP government in three years."

It's looking less and less likely that we will have to put up with the current government for three years. And fixed election dates aren't that written in stone neither, as Harpo Steve has proven!

Norman Farrell said...

Fixed election dates, like 'no deficits allowed' is just an easy legislative change away. But, the NDP learned what happens when an unpopular government goes to the very end of the mandate and they were able to do that without changing the law. If the Liberals alter the election act trying to save themselves, Campbell's successor will regret it.

seth said...

Is there a better example of fascism.

Business is now instrumenting government policy.

Sieg, heil!!!

Anonymous said...

It is corruption and greed, which rules this country. A motion in the House of Commons passed, to give, banks, big business, gas and oil companies, millions of our tax dollars. They already get, huge tax reductions, now, they whine for the HST as well. Don't forget, Campbell, is a Conservative, and, he works for Harper. If Campbell falls, Harper will take Campbell, east to work for him. Ambassador to Japan or China. The CSIS, is watching BC, and Ontario very closely. Fadden, only said, what the BC people already knew. I was hoping, that incident would be enough to get rid of Campbell. Harper and Campbell, are a little too chummy with China.

Anonymous said...

I thought the HST was illegal in the first place, it was taxation without representation. Or does that matter, corruption and greed, is Campbell's creed. Fadden, of the CSIS, is watching BC, very closely, I don't think, it is fascism, that has him concerned. The concern though, is, something equally as bad. I doubt what party is in power, none of them, will make a move to stomp corruption out. That goes for Campbell's buddy Harper as well, he is just as corrupt, but in a sneakier way.