Skip to content

HST: the Dutchman cometh

One of this province's most colourful and at times controversial politicians could be current Premier Gordon Campbell's worst nightmare. That's right folks, the Zalm is back and he's ready for a fight - a harmonized sales tax (HST) fight - that is.

One of this province's most colourful and at times controversial politicians could be current Premier Gordon Campbell's worst nightmare.

That's right folks, the Zalm is back and he's ready for a fight - a harmonized sales tax (HST) fight - that is.

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm launched his anti HST campaign this week in an effort to overturn the new tax using the province's Recall and Initiative Act.

The Zalm and his supporters have 90 days from now to July 5 to sign up 10 per cent of registered voters in all 85 B.C. electoral ridings. The petition includes a draft bill that would overturn the controversial tax.

If enough signatures are collected by the due date and verified by Elections BC, the select standing committee on legislative initiatives could introduce a draft bylaw to end the HST or could hold a referendum on the legislation in September 2011. Neither proposal is not binding on government, meaning even if Vander Zalm is successful, the government could turn a blind eye, but let's get real for a second, if the overwhelming support is there to abolish the tax, then the Liberals are going to have to pay attention, or face losing the next election.

Let's face it, since the announcement of the HST last year, the Liberals have been plummeting in the polls. It's not so much the tax that has so many people angry, although who likes more taxes right. But it's the way the Liberals went about implementing the tax. During the last election, the Liberals promised to not introduce a new tax during the economic downturn, but after they were re-elected, surprise, here comes the HST after the federal government dangled a $1.6 billion carrot in front of their faces.

Are the Liberals really naïve enough to think that voters in this province believe that they didn't know about the feds plans before the election? The Liberals of course deny any of this, saying they only found out after the election was over of the feds' promised cash cow. However, we and many in this province aren't buying that.

If the Liberals had been up front with their plans, who knows whether they would have been re-elected or not. The point is voters were not given that choice. Now the Liberals are faced with a tax that few want and the job of selling the idea to an angry and disenfranchised electorate - just the ammunition that Vander Zalm needs to convince voters to sign his petition and set in motion a referendum.

Watch out Liberals, the Dutchman cometh.

- Ian Jacques

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks