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British Columbia’s HST Referendum

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Everyone in British Columbia, Canada remembers the day on July 1, 2010 when Harmonized Sales Tax replaced PST and GST. The buzz heard around the province was whispers of the negative repercussions it will have on everyone from small businesses to the average households.

Due to the change of the HST tax of 12% the cost of new home ownership increased significantly in British Columbia. As well, where PST was only applicable to goods, HST is now applicable to both goods and services. The large impact was starting to be reflected in average household receipts and civilians were starting to feel the pressure of the government’s drastic change. HST Referendum

In order to compensate the province and ‘keep the peace’ the BC Legislature passed a motion on May 31, 2011 committing to the province to reduce the B.C. portion of the HST from 12% to 10% by July 1, 2014. Most families are under the impression if you vote ‘no’ to extinguishing the HST in the up and coming referendum the government is going to make this two percent adjustment the following day. Don’t be mislead, it’s only one percent per year.

However, the province is providing a one-time transaction payment of $175 per child to families that have dependents less than 18 years of age.  As well, seniors will also receive a one-time payment of $175. If voters decide to continue on with the HST this sum is expected to be paid out by the end of the year.

The Independent Panel estimated that, on average, harmonization costs B.C. families $350 more per year on their typical expenditures. By reducing the HST rate to 10 per cent, the $350 average cost now becomes a $120 average benefit for B.C. families.

HST is estimated to create almost 600,000 new jobs over the next 10 years and in another report it is predicted that by 2020 the BC economy will be $2.5 billion larger than it would be under PST.

British Columbians have a very important decision to make on July 22. The HST referendum is a chance for you to make a decision that will impact B.C. for years to come. What will you vote? Will you vote to keep the HST and endure the slow transition of adjusting the 12% to reflect 10% or will you revert to our old ways?

Vote ’No’ to keep HST or ‘Yes’ for GST/PST

HST Referendum Details British Columbians will be voting in a mail-in referendum on the HST. Ballots will be mailed in June and must be returned to Elections B.C. or a Service B.C. office by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 22, 2011.

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About Ceinwen Morgan

  • Lorenzo

    600,000 new jobs? They said around 25000 where did you get this figure from?

  • Glenn Contrarian


    You mean taxes can CREATE jobs? But that’s completely counter to everything the American Republicans claim! Heresy! Utter heresy! Where’s my pitchfork and torch!

    On a more serious note, I’ve been encouraging my sons (gently, to be sure) to consider living somewhere in the Commonwealth because the citizens of England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do seem to have significantly more common sense when it comes to the benefits that the shared sacrifice of taxes brings.

    Vancouver is beautiful – we spent our most recent New Years there – but I think we’ll stay here close to Seattle the next time the Canucks make it to the playoffs….

  • Ceinwen

    Lorenzo- I got this figure from a study done by Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

    Glenn-The HST is a good thing in the long run and would recommend BC to anyone.

    The island is always a beautiful place to be or the Okanagan. It’s known to be Canada’s Hawaii, very pretty surrounded with lakes.
    As for the Canucks, pack your bags because next year we’ll be in the playoffs again, well…. here’s to hoping!

  • Lorenzo

    Theory is one thing reality is another. This is why most economists are not rich. I feel the HST will cause more job loses than job gains that is why I voted YES to get rid of the HST. I am not the only one in my poll of friends and coworkers its 18 against and 2 for the HST.
    In another study BC has lost over 35,000 jobs in 2011 and all the province with the HST are the leaders in job losses.
    In my view the HST is not a good thing giving free money to busines with no requirements is like taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

  • Steve. E

    You should take your information for the Dinning (commissioned by the BC government and addresses specifically the BC economy) report that specifically states that the HST will only create 24,400 jobs over 10yr
    I am an accountant and I voted YES to extinguish the HST. The tax is a regressive tax and has not and will not produce the jobs or the reduce prices on goods or services that the business community and government states it will

  • Glenn Contrarian


    Nobody likes high taxes, but high taxes are the price of admission to a first-world nation. If you want to live where you pay little or no taxes, come with me to the Philippines – the people there pay little or no taxes…and their lack of infrastructure shows it.

    If you want to pay less taxes, then come to America – we’re paying less here than at any time in the past half century. Of course, you’ll have to give up your right to nearly free high-quality health care….

  • Steve. E

    We in Canada, pay taxes on tax (this has not improved our quality of life. In British Columbia. We pay roughly a 40% tax on our fuel (the only jurisdiction in North America to have a 6 cent carbon tax) Today gas prices were 1.36 a litre (not sure about gallon).
    You know nothing about our “free high-quality health care…” It is not uncommon for people to wait up to a year to have non emergency surgery such as hip replacement or back surgery. Personally I watched my mother wait 2 months to get a scan even though she had stage 4 cancer… (You don’t want to be really sick in Canada)
    Believe me our health care is not free in British Columbia we pay almost 50% of our budget on health care (definitely not free). BC residence pay a monthly premium called medical service plan – for my family it is $149.00 dollars a month on top of the taxes my wife and I pay to support a broken medical system; give me America’s health care system any time.
    Our premiers have just met and one of the topics of discussion was how to fix our medical system because in its current state it is unsustainable this will tell you allot about our free health care system – unfortunately you watched Sicko by Michael Moore (this documentary didn’t tell the real story about Canada’s health care system.

  • iball

    A friend of mine in BC waited 8 weeks before he got quintuple bypass surgery. During the waiting period he took prescribed medication and followed doctor’s orders. He’s now the healthiest he’s been in decades thanks to Canada’s health care system. A neighbour has diabetes and was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. Two other neighbours have been treated for prostate cancer within the last year. They all have high praise for the healthcare services in British Columbia.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yes, Steve, that’s SO much worse than not having access AT ALL as is the case with tens of millions of Americans who have ZERO health insurance, isn’t it?

    My oldest son was trying to woo a girl in Vancouver. He told her that he was going to have a career in the military so he and she could have essentially free health care for life. Her reply? “But I already have that here!”

    Careful what you wish for, Steve – and btw, I’ve never watched “Sicko”. I have a house in the Philippines where most of my family is…and I know firsthand what it’s like when the government is unwilling or unable to help the poor with their health care.

    Again, if you think that America’s got a better system, then come down here and experience it! Find out whether the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence!

  • Cannonshop

    I love it, an american, hiding his family and some of his income in a tax shelter in the Philipines, is lecturing Canadians on Canadian health care.


  • truth_sayer

    It is very misleading and disingenous to say that a new tax will “create” jobs and not say exactly what kind of jobs are to be supposedly created by it, i.e., public or private sector. Given the vast size of government in BC, I think we all know where the job “creation” will be. To those in the private sector, get ready to bend over once again. Victoria hasn’t finished with you yet.