You’d think that in tough economic times, political parties might get together to support public policy that is fiscally progressive, good for business and (if the experience of Atlantic Canada is anything to go by) not such a bad deal for consumers. But you’d be wrong.
Instead, the move to harmonize the GST and the PST in British Columbia and Ontario is being decried from both the left and the right, creating strange political alliances in each province—Conservatives and New Democrats in Ontario, and New Democrats and former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm in British Columbia.
In my mind, this is politics at its worst: spreading fear and misinformation about the HST, not because you really think that it’s bad policy, just because it will buy you votes. And as much as you’d like to think that Canadian voters are immune to such cynical tactics, the recent by-election upset by the New Democrats in British Columbia indicates that the anti-HST message is having an effect.