My Province Thinks I’m Stupid

With Canada Post workers back at it, I am patiently awaiting the arrival of my HST voting ballot…

In 2010, I was interviewed by my local newspaper twice about HST: once before it came into place and again six months later. Both times, my answers were the same: as a single girl, who lives alone in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, the HST is not going to be beneficial to me.

Since the HST has come into affect, I have cancelled my cable, eaten out less, and gone to maybe one concert. Maybe. I’ve watched my parents have to pay extra on cable/phone services, all of the new windows needed in their home renovations, and some of my younger siblings school supplies. I have also listened to my friends, who work in the serving industry, express a decrease in business and tips.

As a girl, the only possible benefit to me (so far) is less tax on feminine hygiene products (although their prices seem to have skyrocketed lately anyway, so I can scratch that out). Guess what I can do, for less? Drink alcohol. Does this mean I can blame the province, if I stop going out for meals/concerts, to instead stay at home and develop an addiction to alcohol? Hmm…

And maybe it’s because I’m in the middle of studying propaganda theory and public relations, but I find the timing of Gordon Campbell resigning and Christy Clark ‘coming to BC’s rescue’ very interesting.

Since becoming the premier, Clark has finally increased BC’s minimum wage and has offered to lower the HST from 12% to 10%. Clark also always seems to be a smiling face in pictures from numerous important events and is showcased as more of family person than Campbell could ever accomplish. So why would BC residents want to do anything but please our new, happy and friendly premier? If Clark says to vote, “NO,” and promises wonderful benefits from a 10% HST, why wouldn’t we trust her?

If for no other reason, consider the wording of the ballot card. The average person is going to think, “YES, I want to keep it!” or “NO, I want to get rid of it!” not, “YES, I want to extinguish it.” (And PS, is it a fire!?) Clark and the Liberals assume that British Columbians may be misinformed, or may be too illiterate to read the instructions clearly, and will be stupid enough to put an, “X,” in the, “NO,” box, so they can keep their precious HST.

In addition to the wording of the ballot, I must admit that my favourite part of the potentially multi-million dollar marketing campaign to keep the HST is the oh, so many spelling mistakes on this website. I don’t know why I’m surprised by them all… I already know that the province thinks I’m illiterate. But, if you ask me, I don’t care if there is less tax on resdiential heating energy. I live in Victoria, where I hardly need to turn my heat on anyway.

It might be stupid for me to vote based on my personal needs, and not for the apparent ‘good of the economy,’ but guess what? I am a lifelong resident of British Columbia and I am going to vote for what is best for me.

Whenever my ballot comes in the mail, I am voting, “YES,” to extinguish the HST.