NEWS RELEASE · 23rd August 2010
Vander Zalm: "The time for delays is over. The government must act now to ensure the democratic will of the people is respected."
Fight HST Leader and former BC premier, Bill Vander Zalm, has sent a letter urging Premier Gordon Campbell to agree to accept the Initiative petition to end the HST for a vote in the legislature this fall.
Vander Zalm says the court ruling on Friday paves the way for the legislature to vote on the draft Bill now, and the time for delays is over. “We have asked the premier to indicate to the Standing Committee that he is willing to receive the draft Bill to extinguish the HST in a fall sitting of the legislature. We have told the premier that a costly and undemocratic, non-binding “Initiative Vote” is a waste of time and money, since even if it passes, the Bill will only come right back to the legislature for a vote anyway.”
Vander Zalm says the threshold for an Initiative Vote is 50% of all registered voters, instead of a majority of votes cast, meaning that twice as many people who voted for the BC Liberal government are required to defeat a policy implemented by that government.
“That is totally undemocratic and an exercise in futility. It is contrary to Canadian democratic tradition which has always relied on a majority of votes cast, not a pre-determined number of people showing up to vote,” said Vander Zalm.
“It is also a colossal waste of money. It is estimated to cost $30-$50 million to conduct such a non-binding vote. During a time of economic hardship for so many, and massive deficits by the government, that is money that could be better spent on health care or education or other services.”
Vander Zalm says he has told the premier that if a vote is not conducted this fall, it will be seen by British Columbians as just another delaying tactic by the government. “We won’t let them derail this process again. Their big business partners tried it last week in the courts and failed. The judge was very clear – this is a matter for the legislature. Failure to deal with it fairly and expeditiously will result in Recall campaigns against BC Liberal MLAs starting in November.”
Vander Zalm says that the only acceptable vote in the legislature is one that will defeat the tax and obey the will of an overwhelming majority of British Columbians as evidenced in the dozens of opinion polls taken on the matter, as well as the hugely successful Initiative petition.
“The people have spoken. The Supreme Court has spoken. It is time now for the government to get rid of the HST or bear the consequences of an outraged public,” Vander Zalm concluded.
It is about who pays and who does not.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 25th August 2010
It is also a food idea to remember that the HST is a Tax shift and even the government claimed it was revenue neutral. That means that business will pay less (some business) and consumers will pay more. The only extra is the $1,8 billion one-time bribe for the Federal Government.
So if the consumer pays more every year into the future and corporations pay less every year the only benefit is a one-time only grant of $1.8 billion. And where do you think that money will be spent?
Comment by Barry English on 25th August 2010
Just restoring the tax on bank profits alone would do a lot to cut their deficit.
Maybe an idea.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 24th August 2010
Maybe the sector that has been getting all the tax breaks since 2002 and in every budget since, should now contribute a little more? Maybe the government should demand more for our resources instead of "giving' them away? Maybe they should tell BC Hydro to stop buying independent power at inflated rates thus making us users pay more? Maybe just learn how to run a peanut stand before telling us how the province should be run?
Taxable sources, Where next?
Comment by Bill Braam on 24th August 2010
Ok, looks like the HST is on the brink of being written off. Sooooo, anyone like to wager where the BC gov't is going to draw more tax money from. Hope the gaming funds don't get hit anymore, all that gaming money should still go back to the community.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 23rd August 2010
It is Thursday, July 7, 1994 in the afternoon and the BC Legislature is debating The Recall and Initiative Act. Gordon Campbell, Opposition Leader has the floor. Here is a section:
G. Campbell: Section 14 really deals with the commencement under the bill. A number of other amendments have been put forward to the House with regard to this. It seems to me that it is in all of our interests to encourage this to happen as quickly as possible -- as soon as is practicable has been suggested earlier. I would like to suggest to the House that we may want to move with the kind of timing used in the earlier legislation of 1919.
I'm going to move an amendment to section 14, as follows: "If required, initiative votes shall be called by the government for a date not earlier than three months and not later than ten months after the select standing committee refers the initiative petition and draft bill to the chief electoral officer, pursuant to section 13, above."
The rationale behind this is that I think there are times when it's important for us to act expeditiously. Again, I think the principles behind this bill are those of providing the citizens with full access and full accountability of their public institutions and indeed of some of their public policy. I believe the amendment allows us ample time to put a properly constituted referendum before the public. I urge the government and the House to consider the adoption of this amendment, so that once again we can reiterate our concern for providing full access to initiative opportunities for the citizens of British Columbia. (end of quote)
Hard to imagine that the concern for acting "expeditious" while in opposition does not stand the test once the need for action is directed at you. Now a free vote, albeit a good idea, might (repeat might) give liberal MLA's a chance to salvage some of their credibility, but allowing it would probably be like Campbell signing his own political death warrant.