FOULDS: Recall when the crystal ball said recall was doomed . . .
Hate to be the one to say I told you so, but . . .
On Nov. 18, it said in this column the Fight HST bid to recall Liberal MLAs would fail and damage the momentum gained last year when it defied the odds and succeeded in getting enough people to sign its petition to have the fate of the harmonized sales tax reviewed.
Since then, the initial effort to recall Oak Bay MLA Ida Chong failed miserably, the planned bid to recall Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett was killed before it began and the current fight to recall Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake is doomed to the same fate.
This is not to say the FightHST people should not be lauded for their success in forcing the government to send the HST to a referendum later this year. They should be, and have been, commended for using a democratic process to fight a tax that was born in a shady manner and is hardly revenue-neutral, despite the claims of Finance Minister Colin Hansen and company.
If the HST was truly revenue-neutral, the same exemptions that existed under the former PST/GST system would exist today.
They don’t. The B.C. Liberals and federal Conservatives worked out a $1.6-billion deal that added tax to a full 20 per cent of products that were cheaper before the HST.
The tax hurts the wallet and its birth remains suspect and always will.
Still, the fact remains the B.C. Liberals did exactly what they were required to under law when faced with a successful petition drive.
They had to either send the matter to a non-binding provincewide vote that carried with it enormous odds against tax opponent; or they had to send the hated tax to a vote among MLAs in the legislature.
The Grits wisely chose the former (who wouldn’t?) and Premier Gordon Campbell even agreed to accept a simply majority in the vote.
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Think of the NHL’s outdoor game, an attraction that began as a magical event and has become a little less so each time it is held. Witness the general indifference to this past weekend’s game in Calgary as proof.
When people were offered a chance to sign a petition to oppose a tax sprung on them with no forewarning, they jumped. When it succeeded, they cheered.
But, to be asked to get engaged again and again and again, in riding after riding, after the emotionally exhausting HST petition drive?
It’s too much to ask.
And, the indifference provincewide bears that out.
It’s a strange business, this journalism gig.
One day, we are owned by Black Press and battling the Glacier Media-owned Kamloops Daily News in the print spectrum.
The next, we are sold to Thompson River Publications.
This week, we were greeted with the sad and surprising news the Daily News will be shuttering its printing plant and mailroom in the former Bay building downtown, cutting 19 full-time equivalent jobs in the process.
The Daily News will now be printed on the same press as our paper — in Vernon, by Black Press, the company that only a few months ago owned us and went head-to-head with Glacier and the Daily News.
The media merry-go-round continues.
And good luck to those who are now facing a trying and uncertain future.
Today is Pink Shirt Day. It is also Anti-Bullying Day.
It’s all about tackling the issue of bullying and schools throughout the district will be doing something to contribute to the laudable effort.
Included in this roster is the Twin Rivers Education Centre in North Kamloops, which is holding a number of events today dealing with the issue and the ancillary problems it causes.
KTW will be there today with a reporter and photographer to cover the proactive work the Twin Rivers kids are doing.
Look for the story and photos online and in the Friday, Feb. 25, edition of the paper that lands on your doorstep.