Colin Hansen had the good fortune/misfortune to be the finance minister of British Columbia when his boss, then Premier Gordon Campbell, told him to merge the GST and BC’s PST to create BC’s HST. Any number of economists (and a certain federal finance minister named Jim Flaherty) will tell you that an HST is more efficient, better for the economy, etc., etc.,
But British Columbians hated it at least because Hansen announced the plan to move to an HST within weeks after the last BC provincial election, an election in which Campbell’s Liberals made no mention of the HST.
The backlash was ferocious, so much so that Campbell eventually called it a day (and was sent, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to London where he is Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK) and was replaced as leader and premier by Christy Clark. Clark subsequently sent Hansen to the backbench in the Victoria legislature. Then she held an HST referendum and after campaigning half-heartedly in its favour lost that ballot and resolved to go back to a PST and an HST. Hansen, meanwhile, had been relegated by Clark to the backbenches in the legislature and so, after 17 years in that institution, got the message and, last September, announced his retirement as MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena (a riding which is the eastern neighbour, incidentally, of Clark’s Vancouver-Point Grey riding).
But Hansen is still a force in the party, taking on the duties of deputy campaign manager for the upcoming election. His task will be to to convince voters that Clark is Campbell’s heir to the free enterprise coalition that has been governing BC for an awful long time now. Here, on Battleground, we ask him about the election and the role the HST will play and what he’ll be doing to help Christy Clark overcome Adrian Dix’s Socialist Hordes. ™
Categories: BC Politics