14 October 2009

I Support the HST

... but I don't support the way our Liberal government foisted its particular brand of the HST onto British Columbians.

In principle, I consider taxes on consumption to be a good idea and a harmonized sales tax an improvement over two or more separate taxes. Simplicity is better; additional paperwork and process for the collection of money from the same source introduces needless complication.

However, the HST being rammed down the throats of British Columbians now, wouldn't likely have been the HST British Columbians ultimately got - and supported - had the process been vastly different. Indeed, had the May 2009 election been decided in a different manner, then the process surrounding the HST decision WOULD, in fact, have been vastly different; and so, likely, would the election campaign itself.

I am referring to the way the Liberals and other MLAs were elected.

Had BC-STV been the system by which voters elected their government, the likely result (all else being equal) would have been a coalition of the Liberals and Greens.

In a coalition government, one political party cannot arbitrarily ram through its favoured policy in a legislature. It must negotiate with MLAs of other parties. They, no less than MLAs who are members of the party who got the most votes, are elected to represent their constituents; and in a coalition government, they can do so more effectively.

In the present case, the BC Greens have come out in support of the HST, but say it should have been set at 10 percent.

Had our political representatives been elected in a fairer manner, closer to proportionally representing British Columbians' voting preferences in the legislature, our government's policies would likely have better reflected the majority's own values. We'd likely still have the HST starting in July 2010. But it's form and the process by which it was implemented and presented to the public would likely have been considerably different.

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