500,000 people have signed the anti-HST petition

With the Fight HST campaign by former premier Bill Vander Zalm approaching its half-way point, 72 of BC’s 85 ridings now meet the Elections BC threshold of 10%, with 51 ridings exceeding 15%, the campaign’s lead organizer, Chris Delaney, said in a statement.

And the frosting on this particular political cake is a whopping 500,000 signatures on the Fight HST petition.

“This is monumental,” he said. “We are not even half way through the campaign, and we are on track to complete our 10% threshold in all 85 ridings by next week, with everyone reaching their 15% target by the first or second week of June.”

Delaney said 78 of 85 ridings have reported for this week, representing a total of 475,680 signatures in hand. He says there are another 25,000 signatures in the pipeline still to come, bringing the total collected to over 500,000.

“The most encouraging sign is the surge in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby. Those ridings started late, and were behind in previous reports. Now, they are not only catching up, but are tracking faster than the majority of other ridings did during their peaks.”

Meanwhile, NDP Finance Critic Bruce Ralston is telling British Columbians they are about to enjoy their last HST-free long weekend — unless the B.C. Liberals do the right thing and stop the HST before its implementation on July 1.

“This weekend, British Columbians will be camping, golfing, going to movies, and eating lunch on their favourite restaurant patio,” Ralston said in the statement released Friday. “But if the B.C. Liberals push ahead with the HST, long weekends will cost British Columbians a lot more.

“There is still time for the B.C. Liberals to listen to the overwhelming opposition to this tax and stop the HST before July 1.”

Ralston noted that many of the things families will do on the Victoria Day long weekend will be hit with the HST.

“If you charter a boat and buy a lifejacket, tune up an old bike or buy a new one, you’ll pay seven-per-cent more with the HST,” said Ralston. “If you buy vegetable plants for your garden, go camping, or take a train trip to the Interior, you’ll pay seven-per-cent more.”

Ralston noted that voters are angry the B.C. Liberals said they would not implement the HST and then, after the election, announced the tax that will shift a $1.9 billion burden on to consumers.

“It’s no wonder British Columbians are so outraged,” said Ralston. “The right thing for the B.C. Liberals to do is apologize immediately to British Columbians, and stop the HST.”

Some of the items and services that will cost more with the HST include: camping reservation fees, theatre and movie tickets, food-producing plants like tomatoes, boat rentals, concerts and festivals, golf memberships and fees, bikes and bike repairs, helmets and lifejackets, moorage, parking, bus and train fares, domestic flights, prepared food, restaurant meals, spa and massage services, fishing charters, and much, much more.