A rally against the provincial government’s proposed Harmonized Sales Tax is scheduled for noon, Saturday, September 19, outside of Liberal MLA Pat Bell’s constituency office (770 Central Street East in Prince George).
Mike Summers, spokesperson for the local Fight HST group, says polls indicate that the vast majority of British Columbians are against the imposition of the HST.
According to Summers, voters across the province are very upset by two things. First of all, he says: “During the May provincial election, the government denied it was even considering bringing in the HST. Yet just two months after the election, it is now proposing to spring it on the people of the province.”
Secondly, the HST will mean that everyone in the province will now be paying more for restaurant meals, coffee shop food, real estate fees, cable TV, hydro, home renovations, hockey tickets, magazines, telephone, funerals, haircuts, first aid kits, airline tickets, school supplies, and a wide range of other goods and services.
“With the imposition of the HST a huge tax burden is being shifted onto the backs of workers, professionals, students, businesses, and the elderly,” Summers said. “It is just not fair.”
The rallies, which are taking place in many centers across the province and are non-partisan in nature, were initiated by former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm. Supporters include Carole James, leader of the BC NDP; Chris Delaney of the BC Conservative Party; Vicki Huntington, Independent MLA (Delta South); Jordan Braun, Deputy leader of the BC Refederation Party; Bill Tieleman and others. Locally, the rally has been endorsed by the Prince George & District Labour Council and the Stand Up for the North Committee.
Organizers want to use the rallies to kick off a campaign to launch a citizen initiative, under the province’s Recall and Initiative legislation, with the aim of forcing a provincial referendum on the HST.