No surprise here: BC Liberal Riding Association president takes issue with MLA over HST

Nathaniel Hawthorne said that “accuracy is the twin brother of honesty; inaccuracy, of dishonestyand Norm Macdonald’s latest HST debacle published on June 30, 2011, has nothing but inaccuracies in it and thus, according to Hawthorne, paints him as a dishonest twin.

According to Macdonald the HST “has resulted in the cancellation of a key funding stream to Resort Municipalities.” To put it mildly this is not true and is disingenuous. So, to set the record straight I am pleased to fill in the omissions and inaccurate opinions of Macdonald by offering an accurate and honest version of the relationship between the HST and Resort Municipalities.

Between 2007 and 2009 the Kootenay communities of Revelstoke, Golden, Radium Hot Springs, Invermere and Kimberley were designated Resort Municipalities each with five-year agreements with the province and funded through what is known as the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI). The original Resort Municipality revenue-sharing agreements allowed municipalities to accumulate funds for large projects and when the HST was implemented the Hotel Room Tax associated with the agreements was cancelled. This change however has not resulted in “lost funding”, as Macdonald would have you believe, as the province committed to continued funding for the RMI in the 2010 Budget from other government revenues; revenues that are distributed through a grant process. To date and since the implementation of the HST (July 2010- July 2011) RMI payments through the new process that have been awarded include $448,943 to Revelstoke, $551,408 to Golden, $143,408 to Radium Hot Springs, $231,735 to Invermere and $94,405 to Kimberley. These funds clearly demonstrate the inaccuracy of Macdonald’s statement when he says that ”local communities have been left in the lurchbecause of the HST.

In relation to the Municipal and Regional District Hotel Room Tax, the government in Budget 2010 announced the continuation of the two-per cent tax, which in turn provides benefit to about 50 communities participating in the program; in 2009 – 2010 approximately $27 million was raised through this program and the estimate for 2010/2011 is $30 million. This money goes to Resort Municipalities and is being used to finance community facilities such as the new all-season washroom facility and concession at Kinsman beach in Invermere, construction that will begin this fall.

Macdonald and the NDP are far from the pulse of British Columbians, are not capable of offering accurate HST information and insist on playing partisan politics with people’s emotions. So a word of advice; just being “nice” is no longer working for you Norm as your constituents demand tangible truth; opinion with accuracy brings a far more palatable “twin,” I will be voting NO to extinguish the HST.

Doug Clovechok
Columbia River-Revelstoke BC Liberal Riding Association