Liberals finally introduce legislation to repeal HST months after referendum results
Victoria – Eight months after British Columbians voted to reject the Liberals’ HST, New Democrats are saying it’s about time the government introduced legislation that will strike it down and return the PST to B.C.
“Adrian Dix and the New Democrats are proud to have stood with the people of B.C. in saying no to an unfair tax,” said New Democrat finance critic Bruce Ralston. “The results of the historic August 2011 referendum on the HST were a victory for fairness and for democracy.
“Unfortunately, the Liberals confirmed again that B.C. families still have to pay the HST for months to come.”
Ralston said it is very disappointing that British Columbians are still stuck with the tax until April 1, 2013.
“While it only took 11 months for the Liberals to bring in their HST, they say that we must wait for 19 months after the referendum to see the end of the tax,” said Ralston. “They told British Columbians that the delay was because the legislation was complicated, but now the finance minister is saying it’s straight-forward.
“If the Liberals had the political desire to return to the PST earlier, they could have begun the transition work earlier. I’m certain they could still speed up the process if they truly wanted to.”
Ralston noted that while the Liberals have committed to reinstating all permanent PST exemptions, today’s legislation does not include a listing of them. Instead, exemptions will be introduced by allowing cabinet to make them through Orders in Council. He said the opposition will be looking in detail at how the new legislation will be implemented during debate on the bill.
Ralston said the Liberals are asking British Columbians to trust them when it comes to returning to the previous exemptions, however, voters remember how the Liberals implemented the HST in the first place.
Before the election the Liberals promised they wouldn’t bring in the HST, then they brought in the tax as soon as the election was over.
“Millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded advertisements by the Liberals couldn’t fool British Columbians into forgetting the election deception,” said Ralston. “And multi-million dollar ads couldn’t fool families into thinking the Liberals had B.C. families’ best interests at heart with a $1.6 billion tax shift onto their backs.”