NEWS RELEASE · 27th May 2010
BC NDP Caucus
The B.C. Liberal chair of the legislative committee that decides the fate of the HST initiative might attempt to thwart the will of British Columbians by declaring the petition “invalid”, New Democrats said today.
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake is the convener and prospective chair of the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives that will review the results of the initiative and make recommendations to the legislature on how to proceed.
Lake has told the media that “The committee could look at that initiative and say that it's invalid.”
The B.C. Liberals hold the majority on the committee, which includes government members Terry Lake, Eric Foster, Dave Hayer, Richard T. Lee, Pat Pimm, and John Slater. Four New Democrat MLAs make up the remainder.
MLA Mike Farnworth, a New Democrat member of the committee, said if the B.C. Liberals abuse their majority on the committee to declare the initiative invalid, it would be one of the worst affronts to democracy this province has ever seen.
“British Columbians are already outraged by the B.C. Liberal HST deception. Dismissing the citizen-led initiative will only add fuel to the fire,” said Farnworth.
Lake dismissed the initiative process further by saying “I'm not a big fan of direct democracy.”
“If Terry Lake really wanted to respect our representative democracy, he would have supported his constituents and voted against the HST,” said Bruce Ralston, New Democrat finance critic. “British Columbians never gave the B.C. Liberals a mandate to bring in the HST. In fact, the B.C. Liberals promised voters they wouldn’t.
“When the B.C. Liberal government turned around shortly after the election and announced the $1.9 billion tax shift on to consumers, they took representative democracy and tossed it into the wind.”
Ralston said it isn’t too late for the B.C. Liberals to stop the HST before it takes effect on July 1.
Carole James and the New Democrats will continue to hold the B.C. Liberals to account for the HST deception and arrogance toward British Columbian values.