Will British Columbians think like a finance minister when they vote on whether to repeal the harmonized sales tax?
"For one day in 2011, every eligible voter in British Columbian gets to be the minister of finance," the premier said last week, in reference to the upcoming vote on the harmonized sales tax. "As minister of finance, you know this is a very serious matter. This decision has consequences, Regardless of which way we go, it has consequences. It has consequences on people, on their jobs. It has consequences on your community, on our economy. But it is your call."
As such, it seems Mr. Campbell is betting British Columbians will vote on the merits of the tax rather than on how it was introduced or the popularity of his administration. But that's more of an intellectual than emotional argument - an approach that, in part, resulted in the defeat of the pro-single transferable vote side during the recent referendum on electoral reform.
Fear of government cutbacks if the tax is repealed could change that balance. Personal attacks on the leaders of Fight HST may also sway some voters. But will it be enough to save the HST?
Why is the Campbell administration supporting the proposed Prosperity gold-copper project, which is opposed by the province's First Nations?
That support is at odds with the government's stated commitment to build a new relationship with those communities. Yet the premier himself told local politicians last week that his administration wants to "get on with the Prosperity Mine in this province."
This could be a sop to mining concerns, who have criticized the government for banning mining in the Flathead Valley, as well as prohibiting the exploration and development of uranium. At the same time, it will assure the business community there are limits to the government's willingness to accommodate aboriginal rights and title. But it may also be part of an attempt to suppress support for an alternative right-wing party.
After all, before the introduction of the harmonized sales tax, much of that support came from those opposed to the government's conciliatory approach toward First Nations.
Is it politic for Gordon Campbell to characterize the harmonized sales tax as a policy that benefits low-income British Columbians?
In his speech to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual general meeting, the premier reminded delegates that "under the new system, 1.1 million low-income British Columbians get a cheque, quarterly cheques up to $230 a year, in the mail to help them get through the challenges they face. Ask yourself if the seniors in your community would like to give that $230 back?" But, as one of our readers noted, that may also prompt British Columbians to ask themselves why we have 1.1 million low-income earners in the first place.
What does Chris Delaney's decision to quit the provincial Conservatives mean for the party?
Mr. Delaney has made headlines as Fight HST's lead organizer. But if the former Unity Party leader makes another run for elected office, you can count on someone dusting off decade-old quotes that make him sound like he's from the religious right rather than the middle-of-the-road. So Mr. Delaney might have hurt himself and helped the Conservatives - whose support may now be in the double digits - by becoming the newly-formed BC First party's spokesperson.