Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The problem with the Anti-HST campaign

The whole initiative process is flawed from the start because it can not change the Federal act that brings in the HST.  Unless you can get the Parliament in Ottawa to rescind the BC HST, nothing can change.  Even if there were a Federal election and the Conservatives lost, I do not see the Liberals rescinding the BC HST.   It is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

The initiative does show the government the degree to which the people are annoyed with the idea of the tax, or with how the government brought it in, it can just not do what people want it to do, and that is get rid of the HST.   This is only going to lead to people being upset and looking for ways to vent their anger.   BC is the only place in Canada where the public can do something to actively remove MLAs between elections and I see there being a major attempt at recall in the fall or the early new year.

The whole approach of the anti-HST campaign has been disingenuous in trying to claim BC can unilaterally get rid of the tax.   They have been telling people something that is simply not possible.  What they have done is manage to engage a later part of the population in the campaign and have an effective on the ground campaign.   But is it really strong enough?   Can it really take the next step?

Is it realistic to think that the recall campaigns can get the 40% needed to recall an MLA?   The more I think about the more I think it is going to be harder to achieve than people think.   The signature campaign period is 60 days, not 90 days.  The BC Liberals are still at 25-29% support in the polls.   There are numerous people out there that are not political at all.   And many MLAs that could recalled have personal followings that will come out to counter a recall.   With these factors, the chance of a recall is smaller than I had been thinking.   I think the odds of recalling enough government MLAs to make the government fall is vanishingly small.

I also suspect that the first time an MLA is subject to a second recall attempt, the wind will go out of the sails of the public being willing to support the campaign.

Short of a Liberal revolt, we should see the party remain government till the next election in May 2013.  In that two and half years, a lot of the anger about the HST will be long gone as people see that not only is there no real negative impact, but that there have been some significant improvements in the economy.

I still see the NDP winning the election 2013, but I do not think the Liberals will be wiped from the face of the earth.
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