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.

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hello Santa! Art Walk says hello to big crowds

17 galleries and studios opened their doors last night to the public

South Okanagan crews ready for winter road maintenance

Not all roads in the region will be cleared at the same rate

LETTER: Phone scam has become annoying

Summerland woman has had repeated calls about refund

Summerland Festival of Lights will have schedule changes

Fireworks will begin earlier in the evening on Friday, Nov. 29

Penticton rink at the Ashley HomeStore Classic

Penticton skip Brad Wood met the Brad Gushue rink of St. John’s in the first draw

Fashion Fridays: Holiday outfits on a budget

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Revelstoke Burger Challenge will return says organizer

The event raised over $4,000 for Revelstoke Library’s learning lab

Mixed responses to proposed propane subsidy in Revelstoke

FortisBC is proposing an amalgamation of propane and natural gas rates

Interior Health boss tops public sector wage earner list

CEO Susan Brown received just under $350,000 in past year

B.C.’s largest catholic archdiocese names 9 clergymen in sex abuse report; probes ongoing

Vancouver Archdioces presides over 443,000 parishoners in B.C.

Salmon Arm women bring soccer to girls in Kenyan village

Cultural disconnections melt away with learning and laughter

Vandals on ATV damage outdoor skating rink in Shuswap

Damage delays preparations for ice surface in community park

LETTER: Pipeline process could not be speeded up

How do Justin Trudeau’s detractors think his government could more quickly complete the pipeline?

Tent city in Kelowna a saftey concern as winter approaches

B.C. law states a municipality cannot prohibit all public spaces from use as a temporary shelter

Most Read