On at least five occasions in this campaign, Christy Clark’s Liberals have said they are considering a value added tax (like the HST) after the election.
In response to a question about the HST last week, Clark went out of her way to talk about a VAT: “The thing is though, we do know that the tax competitiveness panel came back with a recommendation for a value added tax - which is different. And so what I've said is, look we'll be prepared to talk to the business community.”
Earlier this morning, she was asked again to rule out a value added tax. She refused to rule it out, saying she would consider it:
“We've said we're going to talk about all the things that that they've recommended.”
An hour and 15 minutes later, under increasing pressure, she gave a completely different answer to the Vancouver Sun editorial board:
“No to a value added tax.”
But during the 2009 election, the BC Liberals said the HST was “not contemplated in the BC Liberal platform.” Just one month after the election, they announced the HST.
Supporters of bringing back a value added tax have given at least $10 million to the BC Liberals since British Columbians rejected the first HST. John Winter, the architect of the “Say Anything John” campaign, is a strong advocate for bringing back the HST under a different name: “maybe we need a made in BC solution we can call by another name.”
Video of Clark and Mike de Jong saying they’re considering a value added tax (on three separate occasions) is available here: https://youtu.be/LERVj4NZ-UY
This leaves a few big unanswered questions for Clark:
- After saying multiple times (including earlier today) that you’re considering a value added tax, why did you change your answer?
- After saying multiple times that you’re considering a value added tax, how can British Columbians trust you now?
- How is your promise now any different from the one your party broke in 2009?
- A value added tax would mean a multi-billion dollar tax shift from business to people. Are you hiding your plans from British Columbians because you know they don’t support that?