Friday, August 21, 2009

Gordon "The Taxman" Campbell

During the British Columbia Provincial Election campaign, I was quite descriptive about my disapproval of Gordon Campbell, even nicknaming him "The Sherriff of Nottingham" for his love and adoration of new and absurd taxes. When I first moved to BC from Ontario, I was told with a wink and a nudge that the BC Liberal Party is not really a "Liberal" party, that it is a "center-right" coalition of Conservatives and Libertarians. During my nearly 5 year tenure in the province, my list of beefs with Gordon Campbell has far, far outweighed any perceived benefits. The carbon tax should have been the nail in the coffin, but because the NDP is such a horror show Campbell won a third term.

Dalton "I will not raise your taxes" McGuinty helped drive me out of Ontario after he promised during his first election that he would not raise taxes to pay for all his ludicrous spending promises; then at his first budget, his first opportunity, what did we get? Yes, massive new taxation. Dalton is relevant to my discussion about Gordon's tax-happy trigger finger, because just a few short months after the election, Gordy is slapping BC tax payers with yet another new tax. A tax that they said during the campaign would not be implemented, but now we are being told that BC needs to do it because Ontario did it. That's right, the Premier of British Columbia is citing Dalton McGuinty as evidence that he must absolutely introduce the tax! Mr Premier, I just left Ontario in part because of new taxes by McGuinty, and now the allegedly right wing Gordon Campbell is telling me that we need new taxes because Dalton is doing it???

This new Harmonized Sales Tax is a merger of PST and GST, which is fine in theory, but in application it actually taxes more goods and services that were previously exempt from the PST. We are being told that this new tax replaces an "invisible cost" that is "embedded in the cost" of goods and services. I'm not sure what precisely the tax is replacing, because no tax is being eliminated. Campbell is taking us for a train ride in the Land of Make-Believe. Apparently, keeping track of two different taxes is allegedly supposed to be a crushing burden to businesses. And by eliminating a column in a spreadsheet, businesses will save millions of dollars that will offset any monetary gains experienced by the government. As Penn and Teller might say, that's bullshit.

I am still jaded from the introduction of a carbon tax, and now there is talk about putting toll booths on more bridges, increasing gambling limits so that the government can squeeze more money out of degenerate gamblers, and so on and so forth. The BC Liberals are so obsessed with avoiding a deficit that they are cancelling surgeries and looking for any way possible to increase revenue. As a fiscal conservative I am opposed to deficits, but in an economic downturn they are essentially unavoidable. I'd much rather see deficits reduced by cutting spending, giving pink slips to bureaucrats, and trimming the pork. Increasing taxation is an extremely unpopular method of reducing the size of a deficit, and polling numbers in BC are starting to bear that out.

While Gordon Campbell has another 4 years before he has to face the electorate again, the same cannot be said of Stephen Harper. Clearly Iggy is going to pull the plug on government sooner rather than later, meaning this whole HST fiasco drowning Campbell could have a negative effect on the 22 Tory seats sorely needed on the left coast. If Quebec is a lost cause, the Tories must hold BC if they have any chance of winning a majority. After crunching the numbers, I would estimate that at least 90% of the people who voted Tory federally voted for Gordon Campbell's Liberals. Given that the Feds have encouraged the provinces to harmonize the taxes, there is the potential for some of that radioactivity to splash onto the Tories. It is all fine and dandy to harmonize the taxes, but when you are using it to tax more stuff, there will be a backlash. I want a Conservative majority in the next federal election, and I’m certain that the advisors to the PMO in BC are warning the PM about the toxicity of the Premier who was once seen as a Harper ally.


  1. As an ex-BCer (and a current Ontarian), I feel your pain. The supposedly-conservative Liberals need a good swift kick in the ass, but the only really practical way of doing that is to hand the province over to the WORSE thieves in the NDP for at least 4 years, and who knows how much damage they'll do in that time?

  2. There are no conservative governments left in the country. Here in Alberta we had a short interegnum between big spending governments, but that was very short lived and the present administration has returned to the policy of spending every dime, and then some, that they take in. A new grass roots political party, for which I had some hope, has sprung up, but already I have received literature from one of the candidates for party president whose main policy is to make Alberta the greenest province in the country. Guess what that will cost? Conservatism has gone the way of the buggy whip.