Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 07/5/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 07/5/2013 7:54 AM | Updates
If you thought Winnipeg's glorious heat wave and a done-deal tax hike might spell the end of the PST hearings, you don't know Keith Bazin and Allison Campbell.
Bucking speculation the long, hot hearings on Bill 20 might be fizzling, Bazin and Campbell were part of a strong turnout at the Manitoba legislature Thursday night.
Instead of watching the Bomber game, Bazin chose to sit through several hours of moderately repetitive public presentations in a stuffy old committee room with a lot of sweaty Manitobans.
"That's how annoyed I am at this bill," said Bazin, a class 1 truck driver.
-- Keith Bazin
Thursday was the fourth evening of hearings on the PST hike, all following a similar pattern. People blister NDP MLAs with accusations of fiscal mismanagement, dishonesty and despotism. Finance Minister Stan Struthers politely thanks the presenters, and Tory MLAs ask loaded questions designed in part to run down the clock.
Earlier this week, the hearings ended early when more than half the speakers were no-shows. But 22 people spoke Wednesday, keeping MLAs at the table until 11:30 p.m., and Thursday was on track for the same.
But why spend a precious summer evening railing against a done deal?
"The way I see it, nothing's a done deal," said Bazin. "The next election, hopefully they'll be defeated and they'll repeal this increase."
Allison Campbell, who owns a spa and a bookkeeping business, was a little more attuned to the futility of it all.
After distancing herself from those who call New Democrats liars and acknowledging governments occasionally need to raise taxes, Campbell systematically schooled MLAs on the cumulative and devastating trickle-down effect of the PST increase on consumers.
She said she was glad she spoke first before MLAs had completely wilted.
"I think they heard what I was saying, but I don't think it will change anything," said Campbell outside in the cool hallway. "The thing I didn't get to say was how angry I am as a taxpayer that they're running roughshod over the (referendum) law -- 'Nope, doesn't matter. We're going to do it anyway.' "
It was the first time Campbell had ever spoken to a legislative committee. Out in the hallway, she said she felt satisfied she'd said her piece.
Tory Leader Brian Pallister popped out of the committee room to shake Campbell's hand, towering over the petite lady and shmoozing her in his shirtsleeves, as he has done with nearly every presenter in recent evenings.
Thursday's hearings were sprinkled with some people, including union leaders, who support the PST hike, giving the NDP a short respite from some harsh words. Norm Gould, vice-president of the Manitoba Teachers' Society, told MLAs the PST hike and proper investments in education are a vital antidote to the cuts of the 1990s. Others, including Lynne Fernandez from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said the NDP is making a wise long-term decision despite the short-term political pain.
But Bazin, who deliberately rushed out to buy a tent-trailer before the hike took effect Monday, said the PST has changed his political allegiance.
Not an overly partisan guy, he voted for Education Minister Nancy Allan and the NDP in the last election, but says a two-year wait for the next campaign will not dampen his anger.
"Every time I look at that tent-trailer, it will remind me of the PST," he said.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2013 A8
Updated on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 7:54 AM CDT: adds link, adds sidebar
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
'Fifth Estate' questions CBC's Ghomeshi probe
15 arrested at demonstration in Ferguson
S and P upholds rating, confident province will balance books
Selinger sidesteps questions on rules for leadership race
Winnipeg Airports Authority's debt soars to $646.3 million
Hutchinson stands out in Jets' overtime loss
Teen who killed party-goer with punch avoids jail
Police looking for a suspect in an alleged road rage incident that left a man dead
Bowman to attend Grey Cup, promote Winnipeg as a tourist destination
When pigs fly? Not on this US Airways plane
Doug & Buck gear up for Grey Cup
Harper announces $500 million vaccination aid
Water problems not linked to frozen underground lines, city says
Police seek help in finding teen last seen in Fort Rouge
Key of Bart: Let It Blow
Officer gets 6-day suspension for pushing woman
Black Friday gets a little less frenzied
Agreement ends standoff at Jenpeg station
Winnipeg man jailed for assaulting girlfriend, off-duty officer
Expanded powers for conservation officers
Bowman to introduce proposals next week to keep campaign promises
RCMP arrest Norway House man and woman after finding drugs, cash
City considers annual review for CAO
Guay Park riverbank cash not lost, but project's future unclear
Winnipeg shoppers hope for Black Friday deals
Manitoba Music director leaves to launch record-label expansion
Snow-route parking ban begins Monday
Polar bears return to enclosure
Japanese paper regrets use of term 'sex slaves'
Hospital says Pele's condition is improving
Adult sentence sought for youth in assault case
Oswald says she's being wooed
Thalidomide survivor hopes ongoing help around the corner
Earthling to touch down in city
Battery-powered bus to hit city streets
Man arrested after multiple stabbings
New community-mailbox sites in St. Vital
As holiday season approaches, multiplexes start to fill with cinematic gifts
Michael Hutchinson: the comeback kid
Ticats DB Stewart recalls icy reception