“Gordon Campbell · Premier of British Columbia ·
“Provident’s quick response, around the clock service and professional staff was an important element in solving the security concerns in our office…”
Mike Jagger might share that sentiment. For close to six years, his Vancouver-based security business has been fighting the B.C. Ministry of Finance over provincial sales tax he never charged his customers because he’s sure it doesn’t apply to the products in question. Still, he has paid out $300,000 in remittances and penalties-and still owes more. “It’s the principle of the thing,” says Jagger, president of Provident Security Corp., a 175-employee firm that provides security personnel and such services as alarm installation and monitoring. “We’ve spent more on all the back and forth than the amount we owe.”
What really burns Jagger up is the unresponsiveness of government agents to his inquiries; through the beginning of October, ministry staff had still not replied to a letter Jagger had sent them in February. And when they have responded to past calls and missives, he says, they’ve simply restated their position without addressing any of his specific points.
Jagger vows not to give up his PST fight, although he has put this old saw into practice: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” This year, he joined a 25-member advisory panel that meets every two months to discuss business issues with B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen.
“The ability to get yourself to the table in advance is so much more productive,” says Jagger. “It’s easier to help shape new policies than to get government to change bad ones.”