LETTER: HST is past colossally irresponsible

When you heard/watched/read the medical staff at Royal Inland Hospital stating the hospital has been running at over 100 per cent ...

When you heard/watched/read the medical staff at Royal Inland Hospital stating the hospital has been running at over 100 per cent every day since 2013 began, what thoughts were triggered in your mind?

My thoughts went back to April 1 as I was standing at the cash register in a thrift store digging for the extra 21 cents imposed on my $3 purchase by the return of the PST.

As I dumped the change out in search of that 21 cents, I thought about just how appropriate it was that the PST came back on April Fool’s Day.

Because no matter how you spin it, switching back to the PST from the HST was so financially irresponsible, it blew past the line of colossally irresponsible behaviour into “did everybody eat several extra bowls of stupid?” territory.

Yes, many will be happy they do not have to pay seven per cent provincial tax when they eat out – at least until the eateries put prices up by more than seven per cent to cover the cost savings lost with the return to the PST.

All the “the government lied,” “they promised,” “the government is going to destroy the food services business,” etc., is meaningless when contrasted with the consequences for British Columbia and its citizens of repaying $1.5 billion  to Ottawa.

Want to replace or renew Royal Inland Hospital, Haida Gwaii Hospital or St. Paul’s Hospital? That will require an investment approaching $1 billion and, well, sorry, but that $1 billion is being repaid to Ottawa.

Have other important major capital projects that need investment, renewal or replacement? Sorry, but that half-billion dollars is being repaid to Ottawa as well.

So as the media and the opposition joyfully run around pointing out the government has not committed funding to hospital construction, we need to remember the reason government does not have money to fund hospital construction is that Bill Vander Zalm, Adrian Dix, the NDP and the media convinced the majority of BC residents that sending the $1.5 billion back to Ottawa was a good idea.

James W. Breckenridge, Abbotsford

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