HST: Where political tragedy and comedy come together
It’s actually hard not to laugh! But really, we should be crying.
Finance Minister Colin Hansen stood before the cameras this week and told British Columbians he had no idea his own Finance Ministry officials were holding extensive discussions with federal counterparts in Ottawa on the HST in March, 2009 … a few months before the provincial election.
“I was actually surprised when I read through this just how much back and forth there is at the officials level,” Hansen told reporters Wednesday.
“THIS” referred to the release earlier in the day ( after an $800 Freedom of Information media application) of reams of heavily-censored government documents that still clearly showed BC and Ottawa were talking HST … even though Premier Gordon Campbell and Hansen have said the subject wasn’t even “on the radar” before the election.
They must have had a teeny, weeny radar screen!
I personally have no plans to buy a new car in the next six months … not on my radar screen: so I’m not discussing it with any car dealers. I’m not thinking of moving to a new home in the coming year: so I haven’t been chatting up the possibilities up with any realtors. I ’m not even thinking of booking a trip to Antarctica: so I haven’t been looking at how much it would cost.
Get my point?
Why would provincial officials … already burdened down with loads of work and studies and research and fiscal projects … waste their precious time going back and forth and back and forth with Ottawa on a matter not even being considered for B.C.? And they didn’t tell the minister what they were doing or what they were finding out?
And adding to the smell is the fact that many parts of the released government to government exchanges are whited out … denying the public the full story. Hmmm! That makes it all worse in my view.
If Hansen and Campbell have any sense of decency or any concern at all for the integrity of BC’s political process in relation to the whole HST debacle, they MUST release ALL the relevant HST exchanges with Ottawa, complete with the censored portions restored.
Their failure to do so will only increase the public’s suspicions and dismay about what those deleted parts might say.
At least by seeing them all …we’ll know whether we should be laughing or crying at the current political theatre playing out in the province.
This article originally appeared in Mr. Oberfeld’s blog, Keeping it Real. Reprinted with his kind permission.