Three weeks have passed since the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, and while just about everything that could be said about it has been said, I'm still going to add my two bits.
One thing I frequently heard in the wake of the riot was, "This isn't what Vancouver is all about." Really? In my mind, Vancouver is all about passively accepting disorder and property crime. It is a city that can't host an event without someone getting stabbed ... unless a billion dollars worth of security is deployed.
The most amusing comments have come from the Vancouver police and Mayor Gregor Robertson, who claim, "there were an adequate number of police officers downtown for the Game 7 festivities." Huh? Was their plan to allow some rioting? Is that why the police stood idly by and watched the destruction?
The VPD says it was more important for it to protect lives than property, but whose lives were at greater risk than the poor folks left alone to defend their stores?
Rioting represents a total breakdown of societal order. What Vancouver needed that night was some good old-fashioned head-cracking Irish cops armed with batons, or hefty shillelaghs.
On to the HST referendum: Very rarely do I experience the level of indecision I have over the HST vote. I could go either way on it.
I know that when it comes to productivity and economic development, economists believe consumption taxes are preferable to income taxes.
However, that assumes an either-or-proposition. If my choice were between the HST and no income taxes, or income taxes and no HST, then I would eagerly vote for the HST.
That's not the case, though, and regardless of whether we vote for or against the HST we will still pay income taxes, and then pay more taxes when we spend the residue. Of course, Christy Clark has promised to reduce the HST to 10 per cent, but that's really a shell game.
She could just as easily reduce the PST if we the voters choose to "extinguish" the HST. The Liberal ads pitting the HST against the PST as, "10 per cent or 12 per cent," are a joke, and a more insulting one than Don Rickles has ever delivered.
As well, my principles make it hard for me to ignore the manner in which the HST was introduced. Many pundits have stated that voting against the HST based on its introduction is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face. Perhaps, but what's the point of having principles if you only exercise them when it benefits you to do so?
On the other hand, the expense and turmoil that would result from reverting to the PST/GST scheme seems wasteful and unnecessary. The HST system is also more efficient, and I'm all about efficiency.
So, I don't know how I'll vote, and the only thing the ad campaigns for and against the HST have convinced me of is that both sides are more full of crap than a poorly maintained septic tank.