Up in my neck of the woods we have a new tax called the HST or Harmonized Sales Tax. It took an old 5 or 6 or 7% sales tax mixed with a value added tax of 7% and added them together to come up with another number – knowing my government, probably close to 15%. It is supposed to make things fairer – a more level playing field, etc.

It’s supposed to be “revenue neutral,” but I feel revenue neutered.

It was sprung on us after the last election on a whim of government, and it caused the nearest thing my province of British Columbia ever had to a revolution.  It was so serious that it caused the resignation of a premier and we will be having a plebiscite on it in a few months.

The government loves it, big business loves it, and I hate it. I hate it so much that I have incorporated the chant, “I HATE THE HST” as part of the choreography of one of the moves in my step class. It fills my heart to hear my participants hating the same things I do.

My feeling, generally, is that there is nothing good about another tax.

The other day, I got a call from the Finance Minister who was having a telephone Town Hall Meeting in the form of a conference call to discuss the tax. Moments later I was listening to a businessman who was raving about the virtues of the tax. It caused him to make more money, buy more trucks, and hire a bigger crew. It caused him to see into the future. As I listened, I recognized the guy’s voice.

“Aha!”  I said. “I’ve heard you before. “ Are you getting paid for this?” I asked.

“Don’t be silly,” the Minister said. “We don’t hire people to speak the truth.” At that point I realized that the meeting really was live, and the shock of this caused my cell phone to jump from my pocket and between the boards of the deck I built last summer. I was still griping as I looked up and saw storm clouds gathering. I had to retrieve the phone of make a quick trip to the Internet to Google what to do if my cell phone got wet.

I put my land-line on “Speaker” and got a hammer, some nails, a skill saw, and a crowbar. I was still listening to the business guy and the minister while grunting and wrenching the board up. “What was that?”  Several Town Hall participants said.

“Sorry, that was me,” I said. “I had to pay HST on these nails so I want to use all of them.”

I reached for the phone and scooped it out of harm’s way. Then I aligned the board to smash it back into place with the hammer.

“Now what are you doing?” a participant asked.

“I’m hammering the board back into place. I want to use the same board so I don’t have to get taxed for a new one.”

“You cheap bugger,” he said as I started the skill saw. I told them that was a sign for us to cut our taxes. “Hello?” I said. …”Hello?”

I don’t suppose I’ll be invited to too many more town hall meetings. That’s just as well. I don’t expect  to see too many cabinet ministers at my step class ether – especially during chanting exercises.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at or at 604-464-4195.  If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.



  1. Sharon Says:

    So funny, Mike! Does the HST replace income tax or in addition? I’ve heard rumblings of eliminating income tax and replacing with “enhanced” sales tax. Doubt it will ever happen. But who knows?

    • mikebroderick Says:

      Up here we have Income Tax, which is so important that we capitalize the First Letter. Then we have sales taxes, and then, a Goods and Service Tax. The HST, or Harmonized Sales Tax is one that blends the GST and the Sales Tax, and when you add the two together it costs more. That’s called New Math.

      The’ll never get rid of Income Tax.

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