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B.C. Premier Christy Clark during a meeting with the Editorial Board at The Globe and Mail on June 24, 2011. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
B.C. Premier Christy Clark during a meeting with the Editorial Board at The Globe and Mail on June 24, 2011. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Regional Report

The HST and the politics of fear Add to ...

B.C. Premier Christy Clark is beginning to look like she is afraid of something, says an editorial in Kamloops This Week.

"We've heard of the politics of fear, but Premier Christy Clark is quickly defining the politics of the fearful. The politician-turned-talk-show-host-turned-politician continues to avoid defending her political beliefs in public," the newspaper says.

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Ms. Clark refused to debate NDP leader Adrian Dix on the HST, closed down debate in the legislature on the HST and would not attend all-candidates meetings during the Vancouver-Point Grey by-election. "Critics have long accused Clark of oozing style and possessing little substance. The fact she appears to be running from every challenge does nothing to counter that criticism," the newspaper says.



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B.C. Liberal MLAs however were speaking up in defence of the HST. Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin, says in a column in the 100 Mile Free Press she will vote "No" in the referendum in B.C. on the harmonized sales tax because families will be better off and the government will have more revenue with the HST. "I believe the HST is the best tax for the employees, businesses, and families of B.C.," Ms. Barnett says.



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Finance Minister Kevin Falcon in the Okanagan warned of possible dire consequences if British Columbians vote "yes" to extingush the HST. He says raising the provincial sales-tax rate is one of the options that may be considered if the HST is rejected. He will consult the public on the next step if HST dies in the referendum, Mr. Falcon said in a story in Kamloops This Week.

"The issue is, we will have a conversation with the public to figure out how they want to deal with negative financial impacts of going back," Mr. Falcon said. Some of the options he listed could include reducing program spending, altering the provincial sales tax or expanding and increasing the rate, the newspaper reported.



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What is holding back a decision on the location for a new prison, asks an editorial in the Vernon Morning Star. The village of Lumby, about 25 kilometres east of Vernon, voted in April on whether to bid for the facility. A decision by the B.C. government was expected by the end of June.

"Relationships between friends, neighbours and, in some cases, relatives, have been strained over a prison in Lumby," the newspaper wrote." While some favour a facility as a way of bolstering the economy, others fear that a jail will change the very character of the community. " Mayor Kevin Acton was quoted as saying that Lumby deserves answers "with all the community has been through." Lumby is one of four bidders for the $200-million, 360-cell provincial prison.



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As the confrontation between teachers and the government heat up, the Castlegar News has a suggestion for their consideration.

"Imagine what would happen if the BCTF [B.C. Teachers Federation] offered to accept a temporary salary freeze - say, for two years, or some other fixed period of time - as long as the money that would have gone to raises was instead used to hire additional teachers, says an editorial in the newspaper.

"This would demonstrate that teachers are putting quality of education ahead of their own financial gain . . . As a gesture to taxpayers, a move like this would help the BCTF win more public support for its stated goal of improving education funding in B.C. It could also do students a lot of good," the paper writes.



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Meanwhile in federal politics:







Elizabeth May, Canada's first elected Green Party of Canada Member of Parliament, has opened a "green" constituency office in Sidney on Vancouver Island. The Gulf Islands Driftwood reports that the office is "a model of thinking green, with eco-friendly paint and carpet, recycling and composting facilities, and public transit accessibility," according to a press release from Ms. May's office. She will purchase carbon offsets for the office's power consumption and for her travel within the riding, the newspaper says.



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