A shout out to Pete McMartin who wrote an interesting column this morning on the HST and class, quoting my piece, The HST vote makes complete sense, in the process.

My position is that the numbers support a theory that the defeat of the HST was due to the fact that it was not in the economic interest of low and middle income voters – who have been losing economic ground in BC over the last decade – to vote for something that would cause them to lose more economic ground.  So they voted it down.

McMartin takes this to a place I can’t agree with when he says, “the vote was not a rebuke to the Liberal government. It was not a case of angry voters acting spitefully.”

Oh, it was a rebuke.  A big rebuke.  The Liberal governments of both Campbell and Clark were the instruments of the HST.  They proposed it.  They campaigned for it.  They own it.

Importantly they did it all with great duplicity, from the election lie to the stick men BS.

But the other side of the class coin is important, too.  Who will reap the electoral benefits?  For the answer to that, look elsewhere.

It’s not necessarily the party that mentions class the most.  Clearly the NDP is benefitting.  The reason Clark did not call a fall election is because the polls show she would lose.

But the other side of the anti-HST coin is the anti-tax, anti government side.  It’s the Rob Ford side and here, right now in BC the newly revived BC Conservative Party, currently running around 15% in the polls, represents it.

It’s no accident; class doesn’t play out in a logical, rational way.  But it does strike out at those who hurt its interests.

McMartin calls the anti-HST vote “an SOS”.  I agree.  But I also think it was much more.  A significant number of voters no longer trust the BC Liberals to answer their SOS.  It was an SOS with a huge finger to the BC Liberals, combined with an tentative invitation to the BC NDP and an even more tentative one to the BC Conservative Party.

That’s where the battle now lies, making the next year and a half even more interesting than BC politics usually are.

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2 Responses to The HST SOS

  1. spartikus says:

    Well we now live in a world where the IMF, the OECD, the Conference Board of Canada, and now Pete McMartin are all sounding the alarm on the growth in income inequality – johnny come latelys as they may be. The IMF is even calling for a “restoration of of poor and middle income households’ bargaining power” – which is probably as close as they can come to saying unions might not be so bad after all.

    I do think there is a real danger whatever was unleashed by the HST Referendum can be harnessed into Tea Partyism.

    One quibble – the median wage in BC has stagnated for 30 years.

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