HST in your hands

British Columbians are currently enjoying a rare opportunity to shape the future direction of their province through the mail-in referendum on the Harmonized Sales Tax.

British Columbians are currently enjoying a rare opportunity to shape the future direction of their province through the mail-in referendum on the Harmonized Sales Tax.

As former premier Gordon Campbell said himself before stepping down over the controversial tax, the referendum has given every citizen the chance to be finance minister in deciding the fate of the tax.

Such opportunities come along only occasionally and we encourage voters to avail themselves of it.

But this opportunity also creates an obligation — the obligation to make an informed decision that begins with an independent review of the available evidence.

As the days to the Aug. 5 deadline for returning ballots count down, supporters and opponents of the tax will likely step up their advertising to sway any last-minute and undecided voters.

Citizens can resist this wave by bracing themselves with a foundation of evidence weighed carefully against a range of criteria.

Much has already been said about the various pros and cons of the HST elsewhere and this space will save its breath by not repeating them. Nor will it offer a particular position because that would go against the practical purpose and the spirit of the referendum.

We want voters to think for themselves. We want voters to prove those wrong who question the wisdom of referenda. We want voters to further legitimize direct public input in major policy decisions.

But this process takes patience and preparation because participatory democracy has its own pitfalls.

When our politicians make mistakes, we always have the option of replacing them with a more competent bunch. But when we get major decisions like the HST wrong, we can only blame ourselves.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Bench plaque recognizes former Summerland firefighter

Volunteers with fire department set up plaque in honour of Richard Estabrooks

Penticton RCMP search for missing woman last seen near Warren Ave West

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Public shows support for alcohol in outdoor spaces: City of Penticton

City council will vote on whether to continue allowing public consumption, on Tuesday, July 7

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland solar project

Site of proposed project has been considered for previous initiatives

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Okanagan Realtors donate big to North Westside fire department

Two Kelowna-area Realtors made a generous donation to the North Westside Fire… Continue reading

SilverStar security recovers stolen bike

Reminders to residents to keep bicycles locked up, eyes open for suspicious activity

‘Justice for Mona’ protests planned in Kelowna, Lower Mainland

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check

Orphaned Okanagan beavers admitted to rehab centre

The two beavers are in the care of the Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s Okanagan murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

Kelowna neighbourhood pond dries up again

The RDCO filled up the pond on Hall Road but it’s drying up again

Car smashes into Kelowna dollar store

The vehicle went through the front window of the store just off Highway 97 North

Most Read