Thursday, 29 April 2010

Not Canadian enough

Have been considering about the title of this blog and am a little concerned about the lack of Canadian content. Volcanoes, yes, Climate Change yes, UK politics, definitely, but not much about where I live apart from the tremendous natural beauty on my front doorstep. There's the trials and tribulations of our struggle for Canadian Permanent Residency of course, but not much else, as I'm still not up to speed on the politics of BC and Canada in general. Well, I'm not a voter yet by a long chalk, so to date I haven't really seen the point of getting all aerated by something I can't do much about.

The big story over here is Gordon Campbell's Harmonised Sales Tax, which has got a lot of small business people pretty much up in arms. There are a lot of small business people and sole traders in our part of BC, and from what I can see, a lot of them are not terrifically amused by HST. Petitions are being raised to oppose the extra tax, and I'm told if over six percent of the voting public sign up, they can force a referendum. This I find refreshingly democratic. Unlike the UK where the top down model of "do what we say and don't argue, peasant." is well established.

The bad news for the Provincial Government who have shot their financial wad on things like the Winter Olympics, is that from what my friends tell me, the percentage so far signing the petition across the province of British Columbia is ten percent minimum. Locally I'm told, almost twenty five percent of the electorate so far have signed the petition. Considering the number of small businesses that think they will go under if HST is implemented, I'm not surprised. This area runs on small businesses. For the rest, it will probably mean a hike in living costs many cannot afford. According to the protesters Facebook page, they want fifteen percent of the electorate at least to sign the petition.

Working and volunteering closely with public sector institutions, I'm acutely aware that funding for charitable institutions or 'Non-Profits' took a big hit when the Gaming Money was withdrawn. Times are tough for the 400 plus charities around town, and HST will make them even tougher as people will have to work more to pay off the tax, and have less time to volunteer. Considering the public service slack the non-profits take up, this will not help those in genuine need one iota.

Unfortunately I'm not Canadian enough to be part of the anti-tax movement.

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