NEWS RELEASE · 27th June 2011
B.C. New Democrat leader Adrian Dix today called for a two week extension of key deadlines in the HST referendum.
"From day one, the Liberal government, under both Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark, has done everything in its power to frustrate the democratic rights of B.C. voters with respect to the HST," said Dix. "Unfortunately, the Canada Post lockout has further eroded the ability of citizens to have their say. The time to act is now."
In a letter to the Acting Chief Electoral Officer, Dix requested that the deadline for voter registration be extended to July 22, 2011, while the deadline for receipt of completed ballots extended to August 5, 2011.
"If Christy Clark had kept the promise she made during the Liberal leadership campaign to hold the referendum just like a provincial election, the lockout would not be an issue," said Dix. "But because she has been intent on subverting the hard won right of British Columbians to make their own decision about the HST, she made the process vulnerable to exactly this type of disruption."
Adrian Dix and B.C. New Democrats are campaigning to encourage British Columbians to vote yes to scrap the HST, which is an unfair shift of the tax burden from big corporations onto B.C. families and small businesses.
Below is a complete copy of the text of the letter sent.
Mr. Craig James
Acting Chief Electoral Officer
PO Box 9275, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9J6
Dear Mr. James,
As you know, Canada Post workers were locked out for 13 days and have been legislated back to work by the federal government.
The delay created by the lockout has compressed the original timeframe within which voters receive their ballot and must return it before the deadline of July 22, 2011. In particular, within this timeframe, citizens have until July 8 to register and request a voting package.
I am concerned that this compressed timeframe increases the likelihood that a significant number of voters will have their right to vote in this referendum compromised.
This likelihood is amplified by the fact that a greatly increased number of voters will not receive their voting package until after the Canada Day weekend. July sees significant numbers of British Columbians taking vacation, which means many will receive their voter package when they are away from home.
In addition, it is by no means clear how effective Canada Post will be in expediting the delivery of the remaining ballots. By the time it is clear, it may be too late to act.
I am therefore writing to request that the deadlines for both voter registration (currently July 8) and receipt of completed ballots (currently July 22) be extended by 14 days in order to ensure that as many voters as possible can exercise their democratic rights in this referendum. This would result in revised deadlines as follows:
Voter registration and request for voter package:
Receipt of completed ballots:
I believe that these revised timelines would preserve the integrity of the referendum process.
It is my sincere hope that you consider this request in the interests of British Columbians and the hard-won right of voters to decide upon the future of the HST.
Adrian Dix, Leader
New Democrat Official Opposition
Copy to: Bruce Ralston, Opposition Finance Critic
Honourable Christy Clark, Premier