BC Liberals ignoring the will of the electorate to ram the HST through

Local anti-HST petition organizer Jim Daniel (left) watches as people line up to sign the petition at last weekend's Home & Leisure Show. David F. Rooney photo
David F. Rooney

The BC Liberals plan to ignore the soaring number of registered voters signing the anti-HST petition by ramming their odious Harmonized Sales Tax legislation through the Legislature today.

So far, according to Chris Delaney, lead organizer of the Bill Vander Zalm Initiative Petition, more than 145,549 registered voters have so far signed the petition province-wide.

“This is a significant increase over our week two report, and shows the momentum continuing to build across the province,” he said in a statement posted on the fighthst.com website. Twenty ridings have met or exceeded the Elections BC threshold of 10% of registered voters’ signatures already, with seven of those reaching 15% or better. This is a phenomenal achievement in only two weeks of steady campaigning for signatures.”

Here in Columbia River-Revelstoke  we are 91.55 per cent of the way to hitting the 15% mark with 3,229 signatures submitted to the central campaign office. Jim Daniel, the petition organizer here in Revelstoke said earlier this week that 1,361 of those signatures came from Revelstokians. All told we need 3,527 to hit the 15% mark.

But why stop there?

We should seek signatures from 20%, 30% or even 40% or 50% of all registered voters in this riding to stick it to the BC Liberal government that is making a no-holds barred grab for our money.

The BC Liberals have consistently misled the public about the HST. Before and during the election they said they had no intention of implementing and then a few short weeks after the ballots were tallied they announced they had reached an agreement with Ottawa on the HST. Were they lying? Or what?

And they are continuing to make claims about the HST that are simply unbelievable. David Pacey, president of the BC Liberal riding association in

Click on the image to see a full size version of this cartoon by Don Filipchuk.

Columbia River-Revelstoke, has been sending out propaganda from MLA Bill Bennett that claims “there are some very misinformed, even dishonest statements being made in our communities about the Harmonized Sales Tax. While it is true the tax will apply to some items not formerly taxable, the real cost to consumers is minimal and the benefits in terms of jobs and investment are major.”

Hmmm… is this believable? Is Bennett credible? Or would you rather believe Carole Taylor, the former BC Liberal Finance Minister, who came out last week saying that while in office she resisted all attempts to implement the HST because it was going to be bad for British Columbians.

“This particular tax takes the tax off businesses – it takes $1.8-billion off of businesses – and puts it on consumers,” Taylor told a CTV News panel last week. “But I think the bigger issue is that [Premier Gordon Campbell] promised that they would not – they would not – do the harmonization of the sales tax. And then right after the election, decided to do it.”

According to MLA Norm Macdonald the government’s insensitivity to public opinion defies understanding
Despite the fact that there are still four weeks left in the Legislative session, debate on the HST legislation is being is cut short using closure, he said.

“The implementation of the HST is one of the issues that has raised the most public interest that I can recall in the time that I have been in Victoria,” Macdonald said.  “I can’t remember any issue that has been so thoroughly discussed by the public. I also cannot recall any time that the people have so clearly been against a government action.  Every poll on the issue proves itt.”

Bills are passed in the Legislature following a procedure that allows for significant scrutiny of each section of the bill.  The three stages of debate include an opportunity for each member to speak for up to thirty minutes about how that legislation will impact his or her constituents.

The committee stage gives the Opposition time to review, section by section, each aspect of the bill.  This final stage of debate is crucial as it helps to establish the legal interpretation of each definition and clause within the legislation.

Closure was invoked Thursday afternoon leaving the committee stage debate incomplete.

“This bill which will drastically change our tax system contains 213 sections.  Each of those sections needs to be examined yet the BC Liberals shut debate down after only a quarter of those sections had been covered.

“People want to have their say on the HST and now the BC Liberals will not even allow fulsome debate on the legislation.   It’s an attempt on the part of this government to over-ride democracy and I can’t imagine that British Columbians are going to stand for it.”

The bottom line is this: Gordon Campbell and his minions want us to believe that this is a “done deal” and nothing can stop it. They want your to believe that you are powerless. You are not. This petition can be repealed. With enough signatures the government will be forced to pay attention to the wishes of British Columbians and if they choose to ignore us… well, there’s always recall — starting with Gordon.

If you are a registered voter and haven’t yet signed the petition you can do so at one of the following locations in town:

  • Silverline Auto Repair, 770 Lundell Road, 8 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday
  • Spice o’ Life Emporium , 106 Orton Avenue, noon – 7 pm, Monday-Saturday
  • Conversations Coffee House, 205 Mackenzie Ave, 8 am – noon, Monday- Saturday
  • Daspy Fashions, 555 – 9 Victoria Road, 9:30 am – 6 pm Monday-Saturday, 9:30 am – 9 pm on Thursdays
  • Grizzly Book & Serendipity Shop, 208 Mackenzie Avenue, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday-Saturday

Canvasser James Walford also says people who want to sign the petition can stop by his house at 217 4th East or phone him at 250 837 4465 and he’ll go to their house if they can’t get out.

For more information about the campaign please go to fighthst.com or call Jim Daniel at 250-837-2562.