Vander Zalm sees HST victory in inflation drop 0
A show of support was clear and present as former premier Bill Vander Zalm defends his Fight HST initiative in the BC Supreme Court Monday in Vancouver, B.C., Aug. 16, 2010. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ QMI AGENCY)
Bill Vander Zalm told you so.
The former premier and HST vanquisher is delighted the newest statistics show British Columbia’s consumer price index decreased 0.3% last year, meaning, overall, things became cheaper in the province.
The HST was abolished April 1 after being instituted in 2010. Vander Zalm said the deflation is a result of the tax being abolished after voters rejected it in a 2011 referendum he campaigned to have held.
“It’s not a surprise,” he said. “There’s $2 billion, at least, that might have gone to big government and big business that instead stayed with the public.”
A Ministry of Finance spokesman said the decline was an overall trend across the country, but a BCStats report released Friday seemed to attribute much of the figures to the tax’s abolition.
“The year-over-year change in the province’s consumer price index was -0.3% in October,” the report said. “Since the repeal of the HST in April, the overall price level has remained below 2012 levels, as many services are no longer taxable.”
Helmut Pastrick, Central 1 Credit Union’s chief economist, said the slow growth economic situation in Canada and the U.S. would also play a role.
He added the numbers should mean more disposable income for B.C. residents.
“Let’s assume the average wage or incomes are going up one or two per cent,” he said. “With CPI around zero that does mean that there’s a gain in inflation adjusted income.”
Pastrick said some more interesting trends in the CPI were the cost of education and personal care products have gone down.
Education dropped 0.6%.
Vander Zalm is now concentrating on making sure future governments don’t try to reinstate the tax, and has written a book about the HST with that in mind.
“It’s too much of a money grab, that’s why they want it.”