BC NDP

May 7th, 2017

Will Weaver and Clark team up to bring back the HST?

For much of the campaign, Christy Clark has been dogged with questions about her shifting answers on plans to bring back a value added tax like the HST.

And now it seems she could find support from Andrew Weaver and the BC Green Party.

Recently, Andrew Weaver admitted he voted in favour of the HST because he thinks it is “good fiscal policy.” He also opened the door, just like Clark, to bringing in an HST-like tax, saying:

“I think business groups, chambers of commerce have a job to do and that’s letting British Columbians know about the benefits of this. And if people start to approach us, and we’re in a position of governance, were saying that this is something we want to do, we’re always open.” (Andrew Weaver, Steele and Drex)

And then, just like Clark, he tried to distance himself from the idea, saying “not in the next four years.”

The trouble is, his platform lays out a proposal that sure sounds like plans to bring back the HST by a new name:

“Work with the federal government to streamline business and consumption taxes to avoid distorting effects on business investment decisions and to promote risk taking and innovation.” (Green Party Platform, page 6)

But don’t take it from us. Dr Lindsay Tedds, Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, also read it that way:

“Well, holy hell! Could that be a commitment to finally do away with the completely inefficient PST system and getting us into the 21st century with an HST? I guess that is a question to put back to the BC Greens because that is sure how I, lowly tax economist, reads it and that gets me excited.” (blog post, April 26)

Clark is so twisted up in knots over her answers on a new HST that last week she tried to pretend she couldn’t remember whether she voted for it (she did).

If Christy Clark’s Liberals get another chance to bring in a value added tax, could they count on Weaver’s support?