“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ~ Ernest Benn
“We aren’t going to be talking about trying to reduce it by a point or two before the referendum. I mean, I think people will see that as buying them with their own money.”
~ Unelected Premier Christy Christy Clark, March 21st interview with Harjinder Thind, speaking about the HST.
“Oh damn, I forgot I said that. “
Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale.
~ Gore Vidal.
I thought that I had seen it all when I worked in the world of high balance, corporate credit. While one often hears of the lengths and means corporations will go to get ahead or one up the competition, dealing with the results firsthand when it is all goes down is another matter altogether, and it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Six figure accounts, contract law and supreme court actions meant my ability and reputation were crucial to a client about to step into the courtroom, and I rarely failed to deliver with hard copy proof of bank accounts,contracts, locations of goods – whatever was needed to make sure the client won their case.
To say that experience prepared me well for writing about government business is an understatement. And while I thought I had seen it all in the private sector, the provincial political scene has yet to fail for amusing and surprising me at how similar the tactics are to those used in competitive corporate world.
The only difference between the two is that being a public servant or politician means you have to be all that much better at covering your tracks, since your career and a government pension is at stake -a loss of public trust appears to be inconsequential to most.
The irony is not lost on me, that while not everyone can run a corporation or mid-level business – under-performance quickly reveals inadequate skills or expertise for all to see – any Jack or Jill off the street can become an elected politician and run an entire province without any skills to back such a position up. The gift of gab is king in this domain, where public perception unfortunately is often falsely based on nice packaging,smooth advertising and sadly, little substance.
Unelected premier Christy Clark is the case in point. Not only is her skill set for running a province highly questionable -based on executive comparisons for private sector positions, I’d say she is unqualified to run this province – but her past performance in government is also tainted with poor choices that have led to long-lasting negative impacts on the provinces most vulnerable populations.
She quit university and did not graduate with a degree in anything. She went into politics with no business or other experience from the outside at all. When she quit politics,she worked for her ex-husband shortly before moving into the role of talk show host at CKNW. And whether you agree or not, my opinion is that electing someone to run the province who has no real business experience and must rely heavily on corporate advisors (who I assert are in a highly conflicting position because of their government contracts and relationships) is a recipe for disaster.
Notwithstanding the questions that still remain surrounding her actions during the offloading of BC Rail, her real record as minister of education and minister of children and families does not substantiate her families first platform, and her move to pursue the Taseko mine proposal betrays her true environmental lean.
As much of a joke that this new, improved HST proposal is, what it highlights is how little Christy Clark understands the concept behind her Families First platform, and how stupid she thinks the people of BC really are.
While Clark emphasizes that the corporate tax rate will be raised, she fails to mention a critical fact. When we had the GST/PST, businesses could only apply to get the 5% GST back on business expenses. However, now that we have the HST, businesses can apply to get the entire 12% back when they file their HST forms…. but we can’t.
We are stuck with it. Hence the aggressive lobbying from certain big business groups and corporations who stand to benefit from this extra percentage of tax back on expenses.
Families First? I think not. When Christy Clark won the Liberal leadership on February 26th, 2011, she said: ” Change begins tonight.”
Unfortunately for the BC Liberals, and for the rest of BC, none of those changes matter. Clark is simply more of the same BC liberal games wrapped up in a new package.
And we don’t like what we see once the shiny wrapping is removed.
( With the HST referendum coming, I invite all readers to refresh their memories by visiting another blog Norman Farrell and I have authored, Honestly Shared Taxation. )