Voice Report   August 13 2009


Fraser Valley Farming & The Harmonized Sales Tax


If you consume then the proposed HST will affect you. In order for consumers to get the full perspective and appreciate the positive and negative ramifications of the new taxation system, we at the Valley Voice want to hear how the HST will affect you personally or as a business owner, so send us your story. Over the next few months we will be doing a series of articles on the HST as we endeavour to understand it.


The following is a press release which the Valley Voice received last week from the BCAC regarding the proposed HST.


BC Agriculture Council Welcome Proposed Harmonized Sales Tax


Abbotsford, BC – The BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) is pleased with today’s announcement by the Premier and BC Finance Minister Colin Hansen that the Province intends to harmonize the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) with the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) effective July 1, 2010. “This will have a significant and positive impact on agriculture overall, and is consistent with what our members have been calling for,” said BCAC chair and Abbotsford area turkey producer, Garnet Etsell.


For years the BCAC has been filing annual submissions for additions of items and services to the PST exemption list for bona fide farmers.  The system has been frustrating for both farmers and retailers, so the BCAC had made a considerable            Garnet Etsell

effort to work with government on the development of alternative options.  The proposed harmonized tax is consistent with BCAC requests for changing the current system, as it will streamline and simplify the process.


The direct financial benefits will not be as significant for agriculture as for some other sectors because of the current PST exemption list, but the BCAC’s previous estimates suggest that the savings could be over $15 million per year.  “The BCAC intends to work with government to ensure that farmers and ranchers will receive the maximum possible benefit from the measures put in place to implementation of the new system,” said Etsell.   


Across British Columbia, over 60,000 people are employed by the primary agriculture and processing sectors. Farm gate sales total $2.3 billion and food processing accounts for $6.6 billion in revenue. "We recognize the fiscal challenges facing the Province,” noted Etsell, “so we are pleased that creative measures are being taken to help agriculture contribute to BC’s economic, environmental, and social fabric.”


 Voice Report   August 22 2009

by Craig Hill/The Valley Voice


Funding Cut Fallout
Seniors Come Out Swinging

Chilliwack elders let the the BC Liberal government and the Colin Hansen carpetbaggers know that they better wake-up and smell the napalm. The Fraser Health Authority (FHA) announced last week budget cuts that would hit Chilliwack seniors hard and in particular, the Chilliwack & District Seniors Resource Society (CDSRS) "Time-Out" program which provides an array of services to approximately 800 elders in the community and was going to be all but eliminated.

The seniors were up against the ropes and came back swinging delivering a vicious flurry of punches to John Les' solar plexus while protesting at his riding office on Thursday. Les bobbed and weaved his magic and they managed to bloody his nose and pound him into the canvas later sending him packing to Victoria with hat in hand.

All this for a mere $77k which is a part of the CDSRS' $122k annual budget.

Let's face it, there are more senior citizens here than in most other cities across BC. It's pension money which provides the main thrust to Chilliwack's economy. Without pension money the city would be half the size, struggling to stay out of bankruptcy and would undoubtedly be nothing more than a ramshackle one-horse farm town.

The FHA has completely stonewalled the CDSRS and according to society president Al Hunt, the health authority's iron fist will remain tightly clenched. "The FHA made it very clear that as far as they are concerned the decision was not up for review," said Hunt.

The CDSRS was waiting for the axe to fall however it still came as a surprise to the society.

"Our plans involve exploring a variety of options. In the dead of Summer, it is a challenge to react and put a plan together. We do plan for emergencies, this is more of a financial crisis for one of our programs. This particular crisis isn't necessarily one we envisioned until very recently. Once we had an indication that FHA was reducing or eliminating funding we anticipated far more time to prepare," he said.

The society provides transportation to seniors and last year acquired a new bus to deal with increased membership needs. Hunt says their transportation services will still function and those not directly involved with the "Time-Out" program will not be affected.

"The Time Out program is the only program at risk. If we are unable to develop an alternate funding stream in very short order, the Time Out Program, as we know it will cease to exist. The transportation service is a separate entity within the Society, of course if there is no Time Out Program, there would be no need to transport that group of Seniors. There are many other facets to the Transportation System that are in place and growing, no matter what happens to the Time Out program."

Regarding their ability to raise funding elsewhere, Hunt said they are working on that. "We are a registered non-profit society and we do have several initiatives we are working on. One will be launched this coming Monday at our meeting. Government agencies other than our municipal government seem to be barren ground at this point in time."

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Chilliwack Flightfest 2009

Boss, zee plane! Zee plane!

August 30 2009

Joe Reporter

The Joe Report



                                                                                       photos Craig Hill/Valley Voice

A classic bush plane was just one of dozens on display at the Airshow in Chilliwack this weekend.

Flights of Fancy

        Chilliwack Airport was flight deck for dozens of planes of every size and shape from scale model electric planes to the big boys toys during this year's 2009 Flightfest. Some even looked like they were out of this world with props where they weren't supposed to be and wings at the oddest angles. Old classic planes and small Cessna planes not much larger than the seats inside and others with names like "Trojan Hoss" and "Pussycat".

        Included at the show was a Snowbirds mobile flight simulator which puts people into the cockpit of a CT-114 Tutor jet where riders can feel the g-force and experience something they might not be able to again. Another interesting site to see was the "Extreme 3-D Helicopter" show where operators of these larger style scale model hobby aircraft wowed the crowds by performing stunts which included flying backwards.

      More Air Show photos in our gallery here


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Voice Archives - August 2009