HST good for farmers


An Open Letter to:

Adrian Dix, Leader of the Official Opposition and Bill Vander Zalm, FightHST

Dear Sirs:

As an organization that represents thousands of farmers and ranchers from across the province, the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) is clearly and unequivocally in favour of retaining the HST, and not going back to the archaic dual tax system of the GST plus PST.

It would appear from the statements coming from both the FightHST group and, more recently, from the BC NDP that both groups do not appreciate that BC farm businesses have benefited from the implementation of the HST.  Of particular concern is the ongoing messaging that the HST is somehow a massive tax shift from “big business“ to families and small businesses.  Do BC farm families who run small businesses not count in this equation?  They certainly do benefit from the HST, and would like desperately to keep it in place.

The reason we say “desperately” is because the sector is hurting.  This reality is reflected in Statistics Canada numbers, which show that BC agriculture has been in negative net farm income territory for five consecutive years.  While the overall annual benefit of the HST, an estimated $15 – $20 million to agriculture’s bottom line, makes up only a portion of the loss in farm income, it is the first substantively beneficial policy change for BC agriculture that has been made by any provincial government in many years.

BC farmers are so positive about the HST system because the old PST system was, quite simply, broken.  It was broken under your Social Credit government, Mr. Vander Zalm, and it remained broken through the years of both the NDP government and the first nine years of Liberal government.  This is why the BCAC had been in ongoing discussions with successive provincial governments advocating an overhaul of the PST system, and why year after year after year agriculture tried to get items added (usually unsuccessfully) to an outdated PST “farm exemption list”.  While it was the stated intent of government to exempt agriculture and food production from the tax, it would only agree to add items that could not be used for anything but farming.  A prefabricated gate was PST exempt, but the building materials to construct a gate were not – go figure.  Given agriculture’s rapidly changing technology, the process for adding items was overly bureaucratic and slow – in other words broken.

The implementation of the HST simplified and fixed the broken PST system – and it has put B.C. farm families in a better position to compete with lower priced imported products, which benefits all British Columbians.


Garnet Etsell

Chair, BC Agriculture Council



Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

(TNRD Library)
Let the mystery of the Summer Reading Club begin

Are you ready to ‘Crack the Case’ at the Barriere Library?

(Metro Creative photo)
Gardeners of all ages invited to enter 2021 NT Fall Fair contests

The North Thompson Fall Fair Drive Thru scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4,… Continue reading

Milsom Lodge was built in the East Barriere Valley when the Milsom brothers purchased two parcels of land in 1911, DL 2323 and DL2324. (Milsom’s photo)
The Milsom Lodge: The mansion, the ballroom, the history

“At the turn of the century, when so many families were leaving… Continue reading

Ladies Golf close enough for a cheery wave

A new month - new COVID rules - a new start. For… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read