Better ways than HST to spread the wealth

Re: NDP’s problems go deeper (B.C. Views, Jan. 25)

Tom Fletcher says the HST is the cure for inequality in British Columbia. But few will agree with such a claim, given that the HST is a $1.9 billion tax shift on to the backs of consumers. According to Statistics Canada, the average household will pay $521 more under the HST.

A recent editorial from the international magazine The Economist (The Rich and the Rest, Jan. 22, 2011) – hardly a bastion of left-wing thought – makes the compelling case that the best way to combat inequality and increase mobility is by investing government resources in raising the standard of living for the middle and lower classes, particularly through education. As the editorial states, “Oddly, the urgency of these kinds of reforms is greatest in rich countries, where prospects for the less-skilled are stagnant or falling.”

The B.C. Liberal record for helping low and middle income earners is abysmal. Middle income families found that between 2001 and 2009, B.C. had the lowest growth in average hourly wages and the second-lowest growth in weekly wages in Canada. Since 2001 the minimum wage has been stagnant at $8 per hour — the lowest in Canada – and job growth has been much slower. In fact, B.C. had the worst job loss record in the country last month, losing 22,000 jobs in December.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals have made low and middle income earners pay more in hydro rates, Medical Services Plan premiums and countless other expenses. It’s no wonder that in the past 10 years fewer Canadians moved to British Columbia than in the decade before.

If the B.C. Liberals really want to “combat inequality and increase mobility” then they’ll stop wasting millions of dollars trying to convince British Columbians the HST is a good thing. Instead, they should raise the minimum wage, invest properly in education and stimulate job growth in a green economy.

Bruce Ralston

New Democrat Opposition Finance Critic

Surrey

Just Posted

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Stuart Park outdoor rink to reopen for winter

The outdoor ice rink is scheduled to be open Dec. 1

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding association sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Creekside Theatre hosts Canadian comedian, Phil Callaway

The Lake Country based theatre will host the fundraiser Nov. 20

Kelowna Art Gallery to show private collection publicly for first time

The Rossi Collection: A circle of Friends can now be seen until January

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Human remains found in South Okanagan vehicle fire

RCMP said the investigation to this point indicates the fire was accidental and not suspicious

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Okanagan trampoline gymnasts impress at World Age Group finals in Russia

Kelowna’s Jordyn Yendley finished fifth, Vernon’s Travis Towers 14th in respective age groups

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

Most Read