Re: B.C. deficit triples (Sept. 14)
I am tired of reading articles by journalists who, like the B.C. Liberals, use the defeat of the HST as a means to confuse and scare British Columbians.
Figures released by the B.C. Liberal finance ministry, an widely published in the press, suggest that the HST reversal means the province’s total debt is expected to reach $62.3 billion in the next three years.
I don’t believe anything the Liberals say about the HST, and here is why:
• Before the May 2009 election, the B.C. Liberal government said it would not impose a harmonized sales tax.
• Upon implementation, former Finance Minster Colin Hansen and ex-premier Gordon Campbell deflected criticism of the HST by claiming the tax would be “revenue neutral.” In other words, government revenue would not increase.
Now, according to Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, government revenue from the HST is critical to the health of the B.C. economy.
B.C. teachers are being told that the defeat of the HST means there is no extra money for the education system. We are simply asking for student learning conditions to be restored to previous levels. In 2002, the Liberals illegally stripped our contract of language that limited the number of students, as well as the number of special needs students, in a class.
We are also asking for a reasonable salary increase, with the expectation that our salary will be in line with the majority of our colleagues across the country.
By hiding behind claims of an increased deficit, the B.C. Liberals are hoping to dupe the public. If we buy into the Liberal’s deceitful rhetoric, we allow them to undermine the funding of our social programs, all the time claiming to “put families first.”
President, Fraser-Cascade Teachers’ Association