Saturday, September 15, 2012

The cancelled fall sitting bad for business community

David Schreck draws useful attention to a significant effect of the cancellation of the fall sitting of the legislature.
The rules for the return of the PST next April have still not been set, more than a year after a referendum ordered the HST's  repeal.
A fall sitting would allow a full debate of the planned tax regime, and a chance for businesses affected to identify issues.
But instead, according to the Finance Ministry, a proposed version of the legislation won't be introduced until December, and it will be passed in the abbreviated spring session, less than two months before the tax regime changes.
That is neither prudent, nor competent. The tax regime is important, and should be debated. Businesses need more than two months to prepare. The government has had lots of time to get the legislation ready.
And it is notable that the government took 11 months from the time it announced the HST until consumers started paying, but says it needs 19 months to return to the PST.
There are other reasons for a fall sitting. The Liberal government forced legislation through without real debate in the spring, and has admitted the rush produced flawed laws that have to be changed. It would have been better to put those bills off to the fall.
The government always claimed the fall sittings would be used to introduce bills and allow public comments before they were passed in the next session - a good idea.
And Finance Minister Mike De Jong announced this week that more than $1 billion in budget changes would be required because the government's forecasts were wrong. Those spending cuts, or tax increases, should be debated in the legislature, not behind closed doors.
The legislature serves another function. MLAs - of all parties - have the chance to raise issues important to people in their ridings, and ask questions.
But those chances have been increasingly curtailed by the current government.
Between 1992 and 2000, the legislature sat an average of 77 days. Since 2002, that has fallen to 59 days. In the last three years, the legislature has averaged 47 sitting days.
That suggests a government without much of an agenda. And one unwilling to have its policies and actions subjected to debate.


Bill said...

When was the last time this BC Liberal government did something prudent or competent? When was the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup? No suprise here, both "teams" tend to rag the puck, perform poorly and offer too many excuses.

Just how open and transparent is all this Liberal closed, back room, non-debated governance? Not very democratic, not at all effective, but totally predictable and pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much of the PST rules delay is incompetence and how much is Falcon's reluctance to admit to himself that he lost the vote?

Anonymous said...

I know it is simply politics, but I don't understand the optics and fiscal sense of cutting toll charges on the same day as announcing a bigger than expected deficit and severe spending cuts.

RossK said...


And I don't understand the unwillingness of British Columbia's media (sorry Paul) to connect the two, particularly given the fact that natural gas prices have NOT fallen since the budget was originally introduced.


Anonymous said...

This entire country is a cesspool of corruption. BC is the most corrupt province in Canada.

Harper is desperate to keep BC's HST, so are the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals. After all, Christy also works for Harper, as Campbell did before her.

The BC HST was scammed from the citizens, by Harper and Campbell. Colin Hansen caught in a lie, finally had to admit, the HST radar papers were on his desk, long before the BC election. That was Campbell's second election lie. The HST wasn't on his radar.

Campbell started grand larceny BC, thieving and selling our BCR, along with the priceless Real Estate that went with it. That was Campbell's first election lie.

Toll charges and troll charges. What the hell does it matter? The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals will only take that back, out of our BC, in another method, of a rip-off. BC is in the billions of debt, mostly because of Campbell's grand larceny BC. Christy chose to carry on with, Campbell's dirty tactics, instead of cleaning them up. In BC, $10.00 might as well be, a $1,000, for low income family's.

Name me one thing, that isn't corrupt in BC...or in Canada for that matter?

kootcoot said...

Christy, our pretend premier is afraid to call a fall sitting, because the government would fall and we would have a fall election. She would hate to miss all the photo-ops and the extra months using the government credit card. She should be unemployable once turfed from office and many of her MLA's should be frightened to return to their ridings.

paul said...

Ross K:
Useful Times Colonist editorial on natural gas prices and budget failure here:
(And no need to apologize to me about MSM criticisms.)

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking that the BC Liberals had/have some sort of Machiavellian game plan in mind because they have been fairly consistent with the timeline for changing the HST to the PST/GST.

Always it has been that the rollover will be 6 weeks before the election - in a province where politics is all but a bloodsport: that can't be a coincidence.
The price of natural gas has been fairly consistent all year, but what have the sales volumes been like?
The BC Liberals NEED an issue to hang their hats on for the election - government workers is divisive.
Former Finance Minister Kevin Falcon resigned rather than wait a week for a replacement and nobody found that worth questioning?
No fall sitting simply means that CC is scared of facing Question Period and its demands for accountability.