When it comes to the BC Liberals’ bungling of the HST issue, we seem to be left with only two explanations: dishonesty or incompetence. Some people would say that is both.
For me, the bottom line is that the whole HST debacle has highlighted just how far, under this government, British Columbia has strayed from democratic principles.
A functioning democracy relies on three things.
First, to function well, a democracy must have elected officials who are honest and transparent, who understand their role is to listen to the people.
Second, citizens must be engaged in making decisions and be willing to actively communicate their beliefs to their political leaders.
Third, elected officials must understand that the primary purpose of government is to serve the public good.
Recent news broadcasts have been full of stories about the BC Liberal deception on the HST. Through the release of government documents dating from before the last election, it has now been confirmed that virtually every claim that was made by the BC Liberals about the HST is actually false.
Whether it is the oft repeated statement that HST is the single greatest thing that we can do for the economy or the assertion that the BC Liberals never even considered the HST prior to the May 2009 election, it has all been shown to be a blatant attempt to mislead you.
British Columbians have done their part in clearly communicating their opinions on the implementation of the HST through the Initiative Act petition, but the BC Liberals have so far chosen to ignore it.
And what about the public good? Has this government proven that the HST is in the public interest? I know that the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who signed the petition against the HST don’t think so.
Clearly the concern with the HST is not just about taxation. It’s also about the wider question of what is happening to our democracy.
I have often communicated in these MLA report about my beliefs about our democratic system. As you will likely know, much of my passion about democracy stems from my time living in Africa where citizens often had very little say.
If you care about the state of our democracy, I’d like to hear what you have to say about improving our democratic system. You can call my office at 1 866 870 4188 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.