Well Mr. Premier, it seems you’re finding out what happens when you try to run a government on a bankrupt ideology. Your government eventually goes insolvent morally, ethically and finally now, financially.
It would appear that the BC government now owes more money than ever before! The total government debt is projected to hit $48 billion by the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year and $56 billion by the end of 2012-13. The deficit for this year alone is 1.7 billion dollars!
C’mon Gord, your guys are so desperate for bucks they’ve even tried to make some veterans who have the building across the street from the Legislature pay $26,000 in rent or face eviction. Shame. I must admit though, watching Minister Ben Stewart dance backwards, frantically trying to make what he said not really what he said, and what he meant not really what he meant, was amusing in a pathetic kind of way.
And on the topic of desperately looking for money to fix the mess you’ve made, it’s been interesting to watch you and your band of merry ministers take money away from parks (even though you’re so vitally interested in the environment) while the entire parks system continues to degenerate. Then there’s the whole thing about you guys abolishing BC’s corporate capital tax that would have put over a billion dollars into the BC government’s coffers over ten years. Seems you didn’t want to annoy the big, financially corpulent banks, and make them pay taxes in BC. And let’s not forget your pronouncement that BC now has the lowest income tax rate in the country if you make less than $118,000.
You forget to mention that BC is likely one of the premier collections of “user fees” in the country. Another name for “user fees” is, umm, “taxes.” These “user fees” are for damn near any service government provides like the hated MSP “user fee” which we pay for health care only in BC. Then there’s the carbon tax that goes up another cent per litre of gas in July and camping fees up to $30/night in provincial parks.
However, all this pales in comparison to watching you and your Finance Minister do the HST shuffle, first asserting with straight faces, that the whole idea of imposing this tax hadn’t even crossed your minds during the last election. In fact, as I recall, you actually said you weren’t considering it at all. (Reminds me of the commitment to never sell BC Rail). Then, as soon as the ballots were counted, apparently the financial tooth fairy paid you a visit and “poof” the HST reared up as the most sensible, business friendly approach to improving BC’s economy.
At that point even your most stalwart supporters began to buy shares in Scope to eradicate the increasing bad taste in their mouths. Then, the “piece de resistance”, as Minister Hansen, while presenting his budget, proclaimed that all HST revenue will go to health care. You guys really should consider writing material for “This Hour has 22 Minutes”.
I agree with Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun who responded to this proclamation with “this is a … silly attempt to deflect opposition to the HST. Attention Mr. and Mrs. British Columbia, the Premier thinks you haven’t got a clue”. (I’d go a bit further and suggest that the Premier doesn’t give a sh-t whether you have a clue or not.)
On top of this, your desperate hunt for money from anywhere except banks and big corporations is beginning to make Scrooge look like a male version of Mother Teresa. Taking an increasingly larger chunk of money from gambling, sucking money from the arts, community groups and kids’ playgrounds, ignoring the embarrassment of the highest rate of child poverty in the country and making seniors pay more for the services they need when they require long term residential care – nice touch Gord. Good thing the Veterans fought back, eh?
Then, still scrambling for dollars, you’re now scarfing money from ICBC and BC Hydro. Mr. Premier, those profits from two of the crown corporations you didn’t sell actually belong to those of us who paid for them – BC drivers and BC Hydro customers. And now, after swearing that you’d never allow gambling to expand in BC, you and your Minister Kevin Krueger (who was quoted in 1997 as saying “women will die because of gambling expansion.”) are like a couple of smiling vultures as you uncovered the new casino to be built next to the soon-to-be newly roofed BC Place. I almost swore that I could see drool on your faces as you pandered to the great god Money.
Mr. Premier, it’s a good thing you and Mr. Hansen aren’t running a business. Methinks you’d be in a wee spot of trouble.
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