Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Business coalition asks court to quash anti-HST petition

Justine Hunter

Victoria — From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2010 3:48PM EDT Last updated on Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2010 5:34AM EDT

Just as Elections BC begins to verify the names of more than 700,000 British Columbians who have signed a petition calling for the harmonized sales tax to be repealed, a coalition of business groups has asked the B.C. Supreme Court to quash the whole effort.

This week, Premier Gordon Campbell ruled out a legal challenge to the anti-HST petition, and critics swiftly accused the business community of acting as a stalking horse for his besieged Liberal government.

In court documents filed Tuesday, the business coalition argues that Elections BC should not have allowed the petition to move forward because it aims to force the province to do something it cannot – extinguish the federally created HST.

The anti-HST petition is to be delivered Wednesday to Elections BC in Victoria. The non-partisan agency has hired 35 extra staff to help check the signatures to determine whether the petition has the support of 10 per cent of eligible voters in every riding.

While that process gets under way, the business groups, including the Mining Association of British Columbia, the Coast Forest Products Association and the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, will ask the court to set aside the petition.

“The Chief Electoral Officer erred in law and exceeded his jurisdiction,” states the writ, based on an opinion produced by former B.C. Liberal attorney-general Geoff Plant.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Selected articles -- Morning Star, June 25, 2010.

Mr Foster appears to be confused. He is quoted as saying:
“I don’t get bullied. People elected me to represent them to the best of my ability and I still believe it is good public policy,” and “I won’t be bullied by (Fight HST leader) Bill Vander Zalm.”

He forgets about the over 12,000 people who signed the petition against the HST and whom he wants to represent to the best of his ability. Perhaps we misjudged his abilities. Should it not be the public who decides the best public policy? Shifting $1.9 billion in taxes to the individual taxpayers from business does not seem to be the best policy for the public. To me it appears that Mr Gordon Campbell and his party who are doing the bullying and as far as I know they did not vote for Mr Foster.


Friday, June 25, 2010

No room for retreat on HST - Paul Willcocks on B.C. politics and life.

With a few days left before the HST kicks in, it’s hard to see any way out of the muck-filled hole the Liberals have dug for themselves.
No other MLAs have followed Blair Lekstrom’s lead and resigned. Businesses are getting ready to charge the new tax beginning Thursday. The government’s pro-HST ad campaign is all ready to go.
Which all leaves the Liberals in a bad spot. The tax takes effect as proponents of an anti-HST initiative say they have the signatures of almost 670,000 people who want the tax repealed. About 752,000 people voted Liberal in the last election.
If government doesn’t pledge to repeal the tax, the opponents say they will start recall campaigns against targeted MLAs in November.
The Liberals won’t repeal the tax. They’re convinced they are right and the public is wrong; they don’t want to look erratic; and the process is too far along.
The last point is legitimate. Even two months ago, the Liberals could have - and should have - put the tax on hold for proper analysis, consultation and discussion. (None of those steps were taken before the HST deal was done with the federal government.) Now, retreat isn’t warranted.
The harmonized sales tax will cost most people more money. The Times Colonist asked Statistics Canada to run a forecast based on peoples’ spending, the HST and other tax changes and credits. The HST will cost an average family an extra $521. Everyone will pay more, but the cost will be greatest for those with higher incomes.
Shifting $1.9 billion in taxes off businesses and on to individuals and families is bound to mean higher taxes for most British Columbians. And many of them don’t like the idea of paying more to provide tax breaks for corporations, not to improve health care or public safety.
For some people on tight budgets, the extra cost will pinch. But the higher costs will be manageable for most people.
They will also be highly visible. Eat out, pay a gym membership, buy vitamins, use a cellphone, hire a carpenter to fix something and you’ll pay seven per cent more starting on Thursday.
The Liberals continue to pitch the benefits. The theory is that businesses, now facing $1.9 billion less in taxes, will pass the savings on in cheaper prices.
In some competitive sectors, that will happen. But is the carpenter really likely to cut his hourly rate to reflect his savings from the HST?
And many of the industries that benefit sell their goods outside the province - the forest industry will save $140 million a year - so lower prices won’t mean savings for most British Columbians.
That raises the other claim for the HST. If forest companies can sell more wood, then they will be more likely to expand, which could mean additional jobs. A lower tax burden might also encourage business to locate here - again bringing jobs. And, some economists suggest if there is more demand for employees, wages might rise.
The government, relying on a report by University of Calgary economics prof Jack Mintz, says the HST will bring 113,000 additonal jobs by 2020. That’s good. But there are about 2.9 million people with jobs in B.C. today. Adding 13,000 jobs a year isn’t going to create much upward wage pressure.
So the tax will come in. People will see they’re paying more, though not that much. The benefits will invisible.
Even if the HST brings benefits, it’s not about the tax policy anymore. Polls - and all those names on the petitions - indicate people think the Liberals were dishonest in rejecting the HST during the election campaign and then starting talks with Ottawa about the new tax days after taking power.
They are angry at being ordered to pay more taxes so business can pay less, with no discussion or consultation.
And they’re insulted that Campbell and company say the problem is that voters can’t grasp the obvious benefits - that they are, in short, not as smart as their masters.

Footnote: The government’s pro-HST ad campaign starts once the petition drive ends. The risk is a backlash when the public sees tax dollars spent to promote a tax change the public has rejected.
Visit comments


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Abbott, Foster on 'Hit List' -- 107.5 KISS FM

Fight H-S-T leader Bill Vander Zalm is warning Liberal M-L-A's they could pay with their jobs if B-C goes ahead with the harmonized sales tax.

Bill Vander ZalmVander Zalm (pictured) says 24 ridings have been added to a new ''hit list'' of politicians that could be subject to a recall campaign.

He says they represent ridings where more than 25 per cent of voters have signed the anti HST petition.

They include Eric Foster in Vernon Monashee, George Abbott in Shuswap, and the three Kelowna area MLA's.

Foster tells KISS FM, opposition to the tax should subside as people learn more about it.

"The effects of it are going to be that minimal that I don't think it's going to create the groundswell that Mr. (Chris) Delaney and Mr. Vander Zalm think it's will."

Vander Zalm says recall campaigns could begin in November and would target one or two members at a time -- to avoid bringing down the government while forcing it to reconsider the decision to blend the federal and provincial sales taxes.


Duteau Creek water supply report - Latest report on Duteau reservoir (June 23, 2010)

Here are the June 23rd Duteau water storage volumes. Water storage volumes continue to rise and we are 97% of full. This is due to the rainfall recorded for the previous two months or so. These rains have reduced the demand, and more importantly filled the reservoirs.

In consideration of the above we are going to Stage 1 water restrictions. A press release will be issued today, and advertisement in Sunday’s paper reflecting the change.

Al Cotsworth, P.Eng

Manager, Greater Vernon Water
Regional District of North Okanagan
9848 Aberdeen Road
Coldstream, B.C. V1B 2K9
Office 250 550 3700
Fax 250 550 3701


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Electoral Area B website opens.

Electoral Area B Director, Mike Gavinchuk, has opened a new blog. His intentions are to inform his constituents of news, upcoming events and to solicit input from his constituents. The blog can be accessed at .

Congratulations Mike and all the best !



Selected articles -- Morning Star, June 23, 2010.


It would be nice if we could afford to have all users pay nothing for recreation facilities. It would also be nice if people supporting free use of recreation facilities would come out in droves at budget time and support tax increases to fund those request. However, the opposite happens: people complain bitterly for even fractional tax increases.

Taxpayers have funded the infrastructure costs of our sports facilities. They are also subsidizing the operation and maintenance of those facilities to a large extent. We must be careful how much taxes we require from our taxpayers for sport subsidies.


Check out Costs for a complete list of Wages and Expenses of Greater Vernon Politicians.


Monday, June 21, 2010

9th Annual Komasket Music Festival!!!

Greeting Music Lovers,

So with great excitement we announce for the first time in this part of Canada – Bob Marley’s Band The Wailers to Headline the 9th Annual Komasket Music Festival!!!

The 2010 Line up Includes artists like

Delhi 2 Dublin

Alex Cuba Band




Digging Roots

CHeb I Sabbah

Beats Without Borders

Doug Cox

Anupam Shobhakar

Ache Brazil

Andrew Allen

And Many Many More!!!!


Important notice -- Boil water advisory Downgraded -- Duteau Source


Green Party Announcement - Election of Candidates.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tie vote could force resumption of water utility discussions

Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star Published: June 19, 2010 12:00 PM

Attempts to apply pressure in Greater Vernon’s water dispute may have backfired. Coldstream and the BX directors recently recommended the water service review be postponed pending a judicial review or Vernon abandoning the legal process. However, that recommendation died in a 3-3 tie vote when it went before members of the North Okanagan Regional District board Wednesday. “It opens the door for the (service review) process to continue,” said Greg Betts, chief administrative officer. It will be up to the participating jurisdictions to determine if mediation resumes.

The prospect of a judicial review began in March when the city appealed an arbitrator’s decision that stated Vernon couldn’t just withdraw from the distribution component of the water utility. A parallel process of mediation, also known as a service review, was also launched to try and find common ground. However, officials from Coldstream and the BX decided in early June that meditation could not continue if arbitration may still occur. “We want to bargain in good faith. There’s no point in holding a gun to our head,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director. The three Vernon representatives voted against accepting the recommendation, forcing the deadlock. “There’s an obligation to all of the taxpayers to work it out,” said director Patrick Nicol, adding that the judicial review is not a stumbling block. “It’s only a barrier if you want to make it one.” Director Mary-Jo O’Keefe doesn’t see a link between mediation and the judicial review. “I understood them as two different processes. I thought they could continue at the same time,” she said.


So, for my edification, how will the process work? Will Mayor Lippert and Councillor Nicol sit down with the facilitator while Coldstream, B and C will stay away? What sort of negotiations will result from that?

The problem is this:

The Arbitrator decided that he has no jurisdiction in arbitrating partial withdrawal from the water utility. The City took the decision to Court arguing that the Arbitrator indeed has the jurisdiction in the case.

The outcome of the Court’s decision will determine what the next course of action should be. If the Courts side with the City, the Arbitrator will have to continue his arbitration process, thus the facilitation will discontinue till the arbitration is over.

In the alternative, that is the City loses, then we can pick up on negotiations with the City. We can’t negotiate while the Courts are debating the issues.

The City believes that they can save $3.5 million if they can drop out of joint distribution. The City contends that they are subsidizing agriculture rates. The facilitator has already debunked that theory (see Overview Paper, page 14).

If the City withdraws from the court action facilitation can continue. It will also continue if the City loses the case. Otherwise the arbitration will continue.

You cannot negotiate if there are no partners with whom to negotiate!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Readers Write -- Total cost of Greater Vernon politicians.

Councillor Besso prepared this chart for all Greater Vernon Taxpayers' edification. Enjoy!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Coldstream Residents! Attention! (Others may attend as well)!


Readers Write -- The Sod is turned!

Hi Gyula,

Here are a few pictures of the Sod-Turning Ceremony for the long awaited Grid Road Project - Yes it really is finally happening!


Coldstream Staff organized a great event, we couldn't have asked for better weather or a more picturesque venue!



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NORD Meeting -- June 16, 2010:


Readers Write -- Another use for tooth picks!

Thank you for the tip!


Oliver mudslide -- ANewsVanIsland

News report on the Oliver mudslide.


BP Develops Technology to Convert Lies into Energy

June 15, 2010

‘Totally Renewable Resource,’ Says CEO

LONDON (The Borowitz Report) – In what is being called a game-changer for the embattled oil company, British Petroleum announced today that it has developed a new technology to convert lies into energy.

At a press conference at corporate headquarters in London, BP CEO Tony Hayward said that environmentalists would embrace the new technology “because lies are a totally renewable resource.”

Illustrating the impact of BP’s new technology, Mr. Hayward told reporters, “Over the past month alone, my words could power the city of London for a year.”

But the new technology has its skeptics, including the University of Minnesota’s Davis Logsdon, who warns of the dangers of “lie spills.”

“We have learned from recent BP press conferences that once the lie flow starts, it can be very hard to stop,” he says.


Monday, June 14, 2010

A ghost from the past -- what could have been!

A fellow Councillor was cleaning out his files and came across these documents. The facilities were to be built by the contractor, operated by the contractor and the only request was to purchase $500,000 worth of hours to be resold to youth hockey at subsidized rates. Check your tax bill to see what your annual infrastructure cost is for the Multiuse facility (that cost is running for 20 years in total). Annual subsidy for the Multiuse is near $1 million.

Just some food for thought!


Questions and answers about Kal Lake.


Selected articles -- Morning Star, June 13, 2010.


Coldstream Ratepayers News! All Coldstream residents are ratepayers!

The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

Gyula Kiss;


We must protect our rights and freedom! (Photo courtesy of D. Gibson) Click on eagle to watch EAGLECAMS

About Me

My photo
I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.