In a stunning move riddled with suspected political interference, acting Chief Electoral Officer Craig James said Wednesday that the Fight HST Initiative to End the Harmonized Sales Tax in BC has successfully passed the required 10% threshold in all 85 ridings — but he has decided not to act upon the results.
As a result, Fight HST leader, Initiative proponent and former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm announced the organization will launch a “total recall” campaign against all BC Liberal MLAs starting November 15.
According to the Initiative Act, a successful Initiative petition will result in the petition Bill being sent to a Standing Committee of the Legislature who may submit it to the Legislature for a vote, or send it back to the CEO with instructions to conduct a non-binding, province wide Initiative Vote.
But late today Craig James privately told Vander Zalm that Elections BC will not submit the successful petition to the Standing Committee until a final decision has been reached by the courts regarding a lawsuit by a big business coalition attempting to quash the petition.
Vander Zalm was furious with the decision and its implications.
“Craig James’ refusal to submit the successful petition Bill to the Standing Committee means that he has effectively destroyed the democratic process,” Vander Zalm said in a statement. “James is opening the door for any group opposed to a Citizen Initiative in future to thwart the democratic will of the people simply by launching a challenge to that petition in court.
“It is outrageous, and reeks of political interference by the government and their friends in big business, and we are not going to allow it . It is clear to even a casual observer that the government will use any means to get their way, including even the process adopted by Elections BC. It is time to clean out Victoria.”
Vander Zalm said Fight HST will “launch a total recall of the entire BC Liberal caucus, beginning on November 15.”
“We will stagger the recalls so that maximum pressure is brought to bear on the government,” he said. “They have lost their moral authority to govern. We need a new election and a new government.”
Vander Zalm saids recalls will be designed to drive MLAs from office by marginalizing them in their own communities so that they cannot carry out their duties, and the government cannot function.
“This is the worst kind of political meddling I have ever seen in all my political days. It challenges the credibility of the Chief Electoral Officer, and that of the entire organization of Elections BC. It must be stopped. This only strengthens our resolve to restore democracy in BC. And that starts with overturning the government starting on November 15.”
Vander Zalm says his group will also look at obtaining a court order to release the results of the petition. He says a court order may be the best way to get the CEO to reverse his decision and to submit the results of the draft Bill to the Legislature.
Fight HST’s website already has an initial list of MLAs it wants to begin recall proceedings against. They are: