FORSETH – The piper will have to be paid for all the COVID-19 spending

SOMEHOW I CANNOT help be feel a very LARGE disaster is looming on the near horizon – all of it due to COVID-19, and the accumulating provisos that have and continue to be made to, at least in the short-term, provide financial relief.

Businesses were closed, people were out of work, and no one knew how long that would be. For over a week now, B.C. has been at stage two of re-opening the province, provincial parks, workplaces and more.

What, however, is going to be the outcome of steps that were put in place early on, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?  Steps that have continued, and are still being expanded?

Banks are allowed deferrals for loans and mortgages … and utilities including BC Hydro, provided deferrals for payment on regular monthly bills, and that included a 90-day deferral on payment offered by the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC).

The provincial government offered businesses filing and payment deadlines for the Employer Health Tax (EHT), the carbon tax, logging taxes, motor fuel taxes and more … along with rent relief … and much more.

The problem with deferring what is owed is … the piper will still have to be paid. For those unaware of the meaning and origin of that phrase, I provide the following … if you do not pay the piper (or pay your debts), something bad will happen to you … (from Writing Explained)

And Grammarist offers this explanation
when it is time to pay the piper it is time to accept the consequences of a thoughtless or rash action. Or the phrase can mean that it is time to fulfill a responsibility or promise, usually after the fulfillment has been delayed already

Okay, so where the heck are you going with this, you ask?

Well, Monday, WorkSafeBC announced … it is extending the deferral period for quarterly premium payments for an additional three months, without penalty or interest

That’s a deferral on payments owed, for what is now six months. And when, will the piper have to be paid?

Again, according to WorkSafeBC, payments for the first and second quarters will not be due until Oct. 20 … when third-quarter payments are due.

Businesses – including some of the hardest hit (hair salons and other personal services), restaurants, and many small mom and pop businesses — that were closed and only just recently opened — and which have had little much lower sales, and thus revenue, will be expected to ‘pay the piper’ for a total accumulated amount equal to NINE months!!

In other words – and to use another idiom – accumulated debts and payments have been further delayed.  It’s a game … and a very unwise one … of ‘Kick the can down the road’. In other words, dealing with what is potentially a BIG problem, has been avoided – but only temporarily … as it has only been left to deal with at a future date.

The question know one seems to be asking, is what will happen when payments are defaulted because there is no money to pay them?

Government won’t be able to collect – meaning taxes will have to be increased and/or debt increased.

Utilities, and entities, such as ICBC will also not be able to collect those costs which have been kicked down the road, leaving them in an extremely vulnerable financial position.

Landlords will not be able to collect leaving them with no options other than to evict tenants, or to take pennies on the dollar for what is owed.

We need a plan to deal with how the piper is going to be paid – but I’m not hearing anything provincially from John Horgan’s NDP government … nor from Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government in Ottawa.

The clock is ticking … and planning to deal with a potential serious financial disaster can’t be delayed as well — it has to begin now.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.

About Mel Rothenburger (8485 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on FORSETH – The piper will have to be paid for all the COVID-19 spending

  1. Government deferrals should not be lump sump payments at the end of the deferral period. People who have been with out work or resources did not have the money then and many will not be going back to work, or if they are, will likely have reduced incomes. The debt for deferred mortgages should be tacked on to the end of amortization period. People behind on rents, need some financial planning help on how to meet their payment obligations with what income they have, their should be some gov’t help here, for working with banks to get small loans so they can catch up and consolidate their debt payments til they are back on their feet. People have never experienced this type of crisis before, so it would be more humane to try to assist people meet their financial obligations, than to bring the hammer down and demand immediate payment when they have no money, that should be the next steps…financial interventions with an accredited resource. That way the taxpayer is not on the hook yet again. There will be some who default, but the majority of people want to pay their bills and maintain their homes and lifestyles, but need that financial advising and assistance.

  2. I agree with you Alan, I see some very scary times ahead

  3. Jennie Stadnichuk // June 9, 2020 at 2:56 PM // Reply

    yes, and …. something had to be done by all our governments in the face of this unplanned for COVID pandemic! They’ve done what they believed was necessary given the immense health concerns!. I’m pretty sure most of us knew there’d be debt to deal with right from the beginning! Better to be alive and healthy or financially secure but dead? Raising taxes is a reasonable price to pay!

  4. Dawne Taylor // June 9, 2020 at 11:59 AM // Reply

    And yes our taxes may have to go up. And corporate Canada needs to pay more taxes and look for less handouts. Taxes are to benefit all, and especially those with the least ability to pay and live. So be it!

  5. Really…the typical conservative crap about debt to gather unnecessary anger and perpetuate ignorance…the “debt” is the fountain of youth of our capitalist system. Our grandchildren will similarly deal with their emergencies.

    • As usual Pierre you attack the piper and go on a rant about the ‘capitalist system’, rather than take a close look at what I had to say. The big guys are in a better position to whether the storm — my concern is for the small independents — Mom and Pop businesses — that won’;t have the ability to weather the storm when the accumulated bills of government, have to be paid.

      The financial toll will be devastating 😦

      • I am the one “ranting”? What-eve-er Allan…

      • What you had to say Alan, is the government is providing relief to the broader economy, keeping “mom&pop” businesses going through really tough times. And that’s nice! Then as we go forward, a wise government may nationalize all resources of the land and use the money for the greater good. Or tax large businesses a bit more or close tax loopholes which generally benefits the richer part of the population or curtail spending in general to provide for “needs” rather than “wants” especially at the local level. But I just don’t see how you and the ilk will ever be part of a wise government.

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