Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

The people hash shpoken

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Adios HST.

I don't know if Chrissy Clark is any smarter than Gordo was. At least when it comes to the HST one can mount a good argument anyone would have to be smarter than Gordo was. But I think her best bet to win back voters and ensure herself of a term of office longer than whatever's left of the term she inherited, she'd be well served to call an election right away and campaign on the merits of doing the HST right.

Say what?

Here's why. The HST is a lame duck tax. It isn't going away for another 18 months. It really is a better tax, albeit poorly implemented. And, most important, it's very likely quite a few people voted not necessarily to scrap it, but to deliver a well-deserved smackdown to the Liberal government.

So cowgirl up, Chrissy. Campaign on a more realistic, say, 10 per cent HST. Campaign on the merits and economic sense of doing it right, which is to say doing it honestly. I suspect there are still enough people scared shitless of a NDP government to buy into a little Liberal honesty, rare though that commodity has been. And what the heck, if you believe in it, run on it. Isn't it about time someone in politics ran on something vaguely approximating a principle?

Which, after a circuitous detour, brings us back to our friend, Cheryl Caldwell and the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch's decision to deny a stadium license to the Jazz on the Mountain at Whistler (JOMAW) festival this weekend.

In her rush to protect public safety, Ms. Caldwell seems to have overlooked an equally important principle of the LCLB: Having due regard for community standards.

Among the nuggets of wisdom included in the general operating principles of the LCLB is giving due consideration to the opinions of neighbourhoods and communities in granting licenses. On both counts, the decision to try to hamstring JOMAW with a beer garden model flies in the face of community standards and local opinion.

It also plays into the trap we see over and over again when new people in authority - RCMP and liquor inspectors in particular - roll into town. Not that Ms. Caldwell is a new person. "Whistler's no different than Moose Jaw," or wherever. Generally, it only takes some gentle socialization for people with half a brain and an open mind to conclude this town is, in fact, different from many others.

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