Over the last few days, I have been deeply troubled by the concerted effort that has been made by the BC Liberal government to discredit those who have spoken out against the HST.
I am also troubled by what appears to be attempts by this government to undermine the independence of Elections BC.
Seven hundred thousand British Columbians used the democratic tools available to them to send a message to the BC Liberal government that they were opposed to the imposition of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). As British Columbians, it is our right to participate in Initiative petitions as a way of forcing politicians to listen.
Now instead of listening to the will of the people, the BC LIberals are embarking on what can only be called a smear campaign. The government has been digging up information about petition canvassers or recall volunteers; they are attempting to discredit every participant by publicizing the unsavoury past of a few. But we have to be clear about what is really happening here.
If you were a petition signer, a canvasser or a local leader of the initiative campaign, members of your government, paid by your tax dollars, may be investigating you, simply because you spoke out against a government position.
To say that this is outrageous would be an understatement. It is offensive on every level.
The attack on Anti-HST volunteers is just one example of the much wider pattern of political interference that has become commonplace in BC over the last number of years.
There have been disturbing changes at Elections BC that have involved the removal of both the Chief Electoral Officer and his deputy. Both of these highly respected individuals made decisions concerning the HST initiative petition that went against the government’s wishes and now they are both out of a job.
It is hard not to see a parallel between these events. It seems that acting in the best interest of British Columbians against the purposes of this government can cost you your position.
While it might seem like conspiracy thinking to say the BC Liberals systematically work against those that oppose them, details coming out of the BC Rail trial confirm those suspicions. Evidence appears to show that the BC Liberals placed individuals at the top level of government ministries whose primary purpose was to participate in ‘dirty tricks’.
With the BC Liberals in power, we are moving farther and farther away from the responsible government that British Columbians deserve.
Norm Macdonald is the New democratic Party MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke
His website is at www.NormMacdonald.ca
His constituency office can be reached at 1-866-870-4188 and his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org