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NEWS RELEASE · 17th June 2010
BC NDP Caucus
Negotiations to scrap HST still possible, say New Democrats

Despite the frantic attempts of both the federal and provincial governments to blame each other for the HST, the B.C. Liberals could call up the federal government and negotiate an end to the tax, New Democrats say.

“In the face of intense public anger over the HST double-cross, the B.C. Liberals are trying to blame the federal government. But that excuse just doesn’t wash,” said New Democrat finance critic Bruce Ralston. “British Columbians are clear that they do not want the HST. The two levels of government should get on the phone with each other and scrap this tax before July 1.”

Ralston noted that both B.C. and Ontario have already negotiated changes to their HST deals.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the federal government would imminently announce a change to the HST deal with Ontario to allow a point-of-sale rebate for Aboriginal Peoples in that province. In March, B.C. changed its HST contract with the federal government to allow a change to the structure of the transition payments.

“Clearly, negotiations are still possible,” said Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley. “Given the outright rejection of the HST by British Columbians, the next negotiation should be to end the HST in B.C. once and for all.

“Beginning urgent talks with Ottawa to end the HST is the least the premier could do after deceiving voters about the tax during the election.”

On Tuesday, B.C. Liberal Health Minister Kevin Falcon claimed there was nothing his government could do about the HST because it was a federal tax.

Meanwhile, when asked about the HST on Saturday, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said, "The provincial government is responsible for its own decision-making process, not the federal government."

“The two levels of government should stop trying to lay blame on each other and stop forcing the HST on B.C.,” said Ralston.

Carole James and the New Democrats will continue to hold the B.C. Liberals to account for their HST deception and the $1.9 billion tax shift on to consumers.