Dec 6, 2010 Discussion
Why Recall matters now more than ever
By Chris Delaney
Lead Organizer, Fight HST
Some commentators are trying to discourage people from continuing with Recalls, saying they are unfounded, unfair, or even unnecessary. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
The pressure that British Columbians have put on their government has resulted in an unprecedented renewal of accountability and concessions toward increased democracy. But everything so far has either been cosmetic, or is based on promises to come. Promises by a government steeped in corruption and which routinely breaks its promises, starting with the implementation of the HST itself. They simply cannot be trusted.
We are told that we should all pack up and go home because Premier Campbell has resigned. Isn’t that good enough? Aren’t you satisfied now that you have the King’s head on a platter? But the fight has always been about holding this government to account by forcing them to repeal the HST, not necessarily to get rid of the person who gave it to us. Such a rationale suggests voters are primitive brutes who simply want revenge, rather than decent citizens who want justice.
We are told that we should stop fighting to end the HST now because Premier Campbell has promised us a referendum with a simple majority, binding on the government. But there are several problems with this promise:
First, as powerful as a premier is, even he does not have the power to overrule existing legislation without a vote of the legislature. Right now, the vote on the HST is proceeding under the Initiative Act, which is non-binding, and requires more people to defeat it than voted for ALL the parties who ran in the last election. Until the cabinet decides to conduct the vote under the Referendum Act, or to change the Initiative Act, Gordon Campbell’s promise is a hollow one.
Second, the vote is scheduled to be held in September of 2011, a full year after the petition was validated. This will allow the government to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to try to convince everyone to support their tax. It will also allow them to continue to collect the HST, fleecing the public of their hard earned funds for another whole year. And it is severely damaging businesses and the economy while people wait for the tax to be repealed before making new purchases. And moving the date up by a couple of months is a pyrrhic concession that will still waste $50 million when a free vote in the legislature can end it tomorrow at no extra cost.
Third, how can we be sure that Gordon Campbell’s friends in the big business lobby will not try to scuttle the results of that referendum in court again, like they attempted to do with the petition? Tying up the HST in court is just another way to ensure it is with us for years to come.
Finally, Gordon Campbell, as we predicted, will no longer be the premier when the vote is conducted. The person making this incredible promise will not even be in power to honour it. Given that the BC Government recently promised a 15% income tax cut only to rescind it a week later, public confidence in their “promises” is somewhere between nil and zero.
The only way to ensure this dictatorial government and its complicit MLAs are forced to listen to the people they are paid to represent is with Recall. Letting up the pressure now will only ensure BC is saddled with the HST forever. Those advocating that citizens stop fighting now have either not properly thought through their argument, or are really hoping for the government to win the battle against its own citizens.
Now is not the time to let up. Now is the time to apply maximum pressure by successfully Recalling MLAs one by one until the government finally listens. Victory for the citizens of BC is very close. The desperation of the arguments against Recall is all the evidence we need of that.
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Tags: accountability, british columbians, brutes, chris delaney, commentators, concessions, corruption, decent citizens, democracy, gordon campbell, head on a platter, implementation, initiative act, last election, legislation, petition, promises, rationale, referendum act, revenge