Dear Premier Campbell:
What is going on in Victoria? Is there something in the water that is prompting you to do things that appear to be completely contrary to the wishes and expectations of British Columbians?
The so-called Harmonized Sales Tax is flatly rejected by 75 per cent of British Columbians, according to an Aug. 7 Angus Reid poll, and yet you seem intent on bringing it in. Why is that? And why was there no mention of this during the recent election? No one — not even you, sir — can convince me that the HST scheme was concocted in the course of a couple of weekends since the election in May. A federal-provincial deal of any magnitude, particularly one that will require the overhaul of the provincial sales tax system, takes a tremendous amount of discussion. And yet here we are with just such a deal announced a bare two months after the election.
I suspect that this was being discussed prior to the election and for once everyone in the know managed to keep their mouths shut until after all the votes were counted.
Is our provincial treasury so bare we have to go hat in hand to Ottawa, tug our forelocks and ask for help? Is that’s what going on? Is the ultimate price tag for the 2010 Olympics going to be so high that we must pillage our own economy in order to pay for them? If that’s the case, why have you not put the facts before the people of this province? We deserve to hear the facts — not the propaganda. And really, how can anyone compare this province with the Maritimes? Sure, they signed on to the HST but I understand they actually realized a reduction in sales tax — not what amounts to an increase.
And what is happening to our public libraries? Why are their grants frozen? You have personally stated that literacy is a major goal of your government. Well-financed libraries are key to the battle against ignorance and illiteracy. Well-stocked and well-financed libraries should be a critical component to any strategy that seeks to improve our province economically and socially. Yet, today fear lurks among the book shelves as these vital public institutions wonder if they’ll be able to keep their lights on let alone pay their staff or acquire new volumes. Libraries not only help make our people more literate and provide them with a phenomenal amount of free information, they are the cheapest source of entertainment going.
Mr. Premier, I voted for the BC Liberals in the last election and even worked on the campaign in our riding. I own a business, albeit a very small one, and I believe in the power of enlightened capitalism to transform our society and reinvigorate our economy but I have to wonder what’s going on. From what I can see, the HST will hurt our economy and our people more than it will help and gutting funding for libraries, museums and arts organizations — well — that not only impoverishes us culturally, it’s just plain wrong. And lots of people agree. That’s why they’re signing that online petition, Stop BC Library Cuts, at http://www.stopbclibrarycuts.ca.
Now I could be way off base. And if I am I hope you’ll enlighten me. So tell me, Mr. Premier: What is going on in Victoria?
David F. Rooney,
The Revelstoke Current