the highs and lows of harmony

Harmonization is going be dominating the discussion of two levels of government this fall. Both of these decisions are going (for either better or worse), to have an impact on the lives of UBC students.


The first of these two harmonizations is the GST-PST harmonization into the HST, a change that has already happened in the Maritimes, and is just working it’s way through the process of implementation in Ontario.

Now, there are good reasons to do this. The compliance costs will be lower on business, so bully for them, but my concern is going to fall on the cost to students. Now, as you may recall, I am not in favour of increasing the tax burden on students, especially when the amount of available Student Aid is going to be slashed.

I have yet to see what the HST rebate is going to be offering, so I can’t really pass judgement on this, but if it is a significant proportion is returned to those with low incomes, this could be a great job grower for the province, funneling more money into small businesses (where compliance costs are proportionally highest) and allowing them to employ more people. Like students.


There have been rumours and chatter flying around the sub-AMS governments about harmonizing the constituency executive elections. These elections would be taking place sometime after the AMS general elections. I would prefer that these elections be after the reading break, especially this coming year, as there is absolutely no chance that the elections posters and Get Out the Vote effort are going to come remotely close to shouting down the steady siren of the Olympic brand that will be plastered around campus.

I think that the new system would certainly slim the situation down. A single election administrator could be hired. It retains the rolling nature of AMS Council turnovers, which protect us from malicious takeovers. Just thinking about it, I would bet that this might be a bigger job than the AMS – there will be something like 40 elected positions being contested, with different groups of people being restricted from certain races. This is a good idea, and should happen, but people are going to have to talk to Chris Eaton quickly to see what changes need to be made to the program the AMS uses, and actually make those changes, find a server, and all other sorts of bureaucratic niceties before enacting this plan.


1 Response to “the highs and lows of harmony”

  1. 1 radicalbeer
    July 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    That single EA would be a /huge/ task. Administering that many campaigns will either involve a huge central investment, or a massive amount of deregulation of campaigning (a good thing, in my opinion).

    Also, the constituencies would have to amalgamate their electoral codes into a unified one for this to be practical, or else you’ll end up having a Grand Poombah EA, with a ton of constituency-specific EAs (which may not be a bad idea itself), which would know the specific electoral codes, and would be best suited to rule on them. This would make the Grand Poombah pretty sterile.

    It would be very exciting though to have a 10-or-so person large constituency elections team. Grand EA, CRO, Promos, and all the constituency EA’s. Appeals first going to constituency EA, then to a committee of the Grand EA, CRO, and maybe some other constituency EAs, then to the Student Court Committee. Neat project!

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