Why I support the HST

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Everyone has their own reasons, right?
Mine are based on two: what it means to me as a small scale farmer and, secondly, my complete lack of confidence in anything that VanderZalm is touting as fact.
Having had the opportunity to experience the difference between both tax regimes, I must agree with the latest pro-hst points of argument that relate to food production that have been outlined by the Smart Tax Alliance. Here's two points that group made, which I agree with:
- HST is fairer. Food is supposed to be tax exempt, but under PST farmers were taxed on many inputs required to produce it, which is now refunded. BC agriculture can now better compete in export markets and is in a much better position to meet local demand with locally produced BC products. This is a much needed break given the many other areas where BC farmers have higher input costs.
-HST benefits rural communities. Claims have been made that it is only large multi-national corporations that benefit from the HST, but the opposite is true. As a direct result of the input cost savings noted above, farmers and ranchers are more competitive and are therefore able to invest more in their local communities – in the form of building materials, upgrades in farm equipment and increased use of local services – thereby improving stability in BC communities in all regions of the province.
As a small scale farmer, I've enjoyed considerable savings under the hst regime. Dog food, machinery not formerly exempt under the old regime, tools, technology I need to make livestock identification easier are all less costly because I get the hst all back.
What difference does that make to anyone besides me? It means that I'm able to charge less for the lamb and chicken I grow and sell locally.
My farm doesn't generate big bucks. It never will. But, it does need to earn more than it costs to run it. The way the hst works for me, helps me do that.
So, what about my second reason? I was impressed by a YouTube video in which a UBC law student challenged the validity of many of VanderZalm's statements. If you've not seen it, it's here:
It points out misquotes by VanderZalm, out-of-context selections of phrases, manufactured facts and statistics, and the like. It is one thing to be carefully selective about the facts, something I think the provincial government is doing a good job of doing to sustain public skepticism. It is another to manufacture facts as truths. One's credibility quickly disappears when this occurs. It did as a result of the efforts by the UBC student. It did again, apparently, following the manufacture of facts at the Kelowna hst debate May 31.
I like Tom Fletchers characterization of this: " Here’s the Zalm-Delaney formula, straight from the Stephen Colbert playbook. It doesn’t have to be true, it just has to sound like it might be true."
I'm not sure what is motivating VanderZalm to do this. He claims to have no political ambitions at this point. Perhaps he still harbours some resentments from when he was Premier.....or better, from when he became not Premier and this is some kind of retaliation. Who knows?
In either case, I think the hst is good for farmers and is certainly good for small producers, like me. And now, nothing VanderZalm says can I give any credibility to. To me, it is pernicious behaviour.


  1. administrator -
    administrator's Avatar
    I see there is a sequel to the UBC law student video. Have you seen it? Here:
    It's a bit complex, but does a good job of continuing to show that what VanderZalm and Delaney are feeding the public is bs.
  2. administrator -
    administrator's Avatar
    If you take the time to watch this sequel closely, you may notice a couple of things. First, Vanderzalm has the nerve to say a university student is better off financially than the average family in Prince George. I know of no university student paying their own way through school who is well off.
    Secondly, and this is the really cheap part, is that he employs what in low class debates is referred to as employing a straw man, meaning, that instead of denying or refuting the allegations, he attacks the character of the person making them. He does this by inviting the audience to take a jaundiced view of all lawyers. So, what he is doing is asking the audience to, rather than consider the validity of the allegations that he has misrepresented the facts, to disregard them on the basis of who is asking the questions. At the same time, he is avoiding responding to the allegations themselves.
    If he is the kind of person to employ those sorts of cheap debate tactics, then really, what respect is he showing the intelligence of the listening audience? I would suggest not much.