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NEWS RELEASE · 15th March 2010
Bill Vander Zalm
Former BC Premier, Bill Vander Zalm, is bringing his grass roots organization Fight HST to Northern BC to raise awareness for the Citizen Initiative petition he has launched, set to begin on April 6, 2010.

The colorful former premier, who governed BC under the Social Credit banner from 1986 – 1991, has been approved by Elections BC to conduct a legally binding Citizen Initiative petition to repeal the HST. The petition requires the signatures of 10% of registered voters in all 85 electoral districts in BC. Vander Zalm is touring the North from March 12 – 17th to raise awareness and to sign up volunteers to canvass in their districts.

“So many people and businesses have told us they will do anything they can to stop this cruel tax. We have signed up over 2,000 volunteers so far, but we'd like to double that number to assure success,” Vander Zalm explained.

“We are holding public Town Hall meetings to explain the petition and get people mobilized in each community to help stop this tax. The Citizen Initiative petition is a legally binding petition, which, if successful, will require the government to put our Bill to repeal the HST to a vote in the legislature, or to conduct a province wide referendum.”

“By getting all British Columbians to work together, we can stop the government from proceeding with this tax.”

Vander Zalm says that in addition to the hundreds of small business people who have signed on, he now has several large business associations coming on board. He says many groups who had previously been trying to attack the problem independently are seeing that a united front is the strongest way to stop the HST.

“This petition is uniting British Columbians of every walk of life and every political stripe. We have business people, working people, professionals, teachers, unemployed, seniors, NDP, BC Conservatives, Independents, BC Refederation, and many former Liberal voters acting as organizers, canvassers and captains.”

Vander Zalm was responsible for putting the Initiative and Recall Act legislation on the ballot in 1991. The NDP later drafted the current legislation, making BC unique in Canada in having a method by which citizens can speak to issues and government between elections.

“We don’t have to accept a tax that the government has no mandate to bring in, and which will hurt people and families at a time when they can least afford it,” said Vander Zalm.

Mike Summers of Vanderhoof is the Regional Organizer for Fight HST in the North, and has been helping to organize the Northern Tour for Prince George, Vanderhoof and several other communities, together with Arthur Hadland, Alva Stewart and Jean Leahy of Ft. St. John, Rod Taylor of Smithers, Arjunna Mayagawa of Terrace and Roberta Walker in Kitimat.

“The people here have a pivotal role to play in making this initiative a success. Without the North, the petition cannot succeed. We want everyone here to understand how critically important their participation is,” said Summers.

The Vander Zalm Fight HST Town Halls will hit a number of key communities in BC’s North, as follows:

March 12 – Prince George – UNBC Room 7-238 – 7:00pm – contact Mike Summers (250) 567-3395
March 13 - Chetwynd – Media interviews – 11:00am
- Tumbler Ridge - Media interviews 2:00pm
- Dawson Creek – Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre – 7:00pm - contact Verna Savor (250) 786-5156
March 14 – Fort St. John – The Lido Theatre - 1:00pm – contact: Arthur Hadland (250) 789-3566
March 15 – Vanderhoof - The Village Inn – Noon - contact: Mike Summers (250) 567-3395
March 15 – Smithers / Telkwa – Bulkley Valley Christian School – 7:00pm - contact: Rod Taylor (250) 846-5432
March 16 – Kitimat – Mount Elizabeth Theatre – 7:00pm - contact: Roberta Walker (250) 632-7776
March 17 – Terrace – Best Western Terrace Inn – Noon – contact: Arjunna Mayagawa, arjunna,,,