Canada is a democratic country. People have the power to stop a government from acting irresponsibly. Even though there are still three years until the next election, there is a way to stop the implementation of the HST.
This is how it works. According to BC's election laws, if 10% of BC voters petition to demand a referendum on the HST, the provincial government should either table a bill to abolish the HST or call a referendum. If there is a referendum, voters could use their ballot to abolish the HST.
The fact is, the referendum initiative process has already begun. Former premier Vander Zalm has earlier applied to Election BC and got his request approved in February.
Here are the steps: the petition drive will commence on April 6 and the applicant must collect petitions from 10% of the voters. Then, Election BC will verify the petition and if it passes the threshold of 10%, It will declare ďThe Initiative to End the HSTĒ successful.
Who is leading the Initiative?
Although the initiative is tabled by former Socred premier Vander Zalm, the campaign has cross-party support. Carole James has already declared that she would lead the NDP to participate in it. Other political parties like the BC Conservative Party, the BC Refederation, and even our independent MLA Vicki Huntington are all working to defeat the HST. The interesting thing is that in this crucial action, only the Green Party has stood with the Liberals. This indeed illustrates the intriguing relationship between the two parties.
The public should understand that the initiative must meet strict requirements.
1) Signatures must be collected between April 6 to July 5. Each petition must include the name, address, telephone number and signature of the petitioner.
2) A petitioner must sign in front of a registered canvasser.
The Initiative needs a great many volunteers to serve as canvassers. According to the information on the Initiativeís website, the three-month campaign would require about 4500 volunteers. So far, 3000 people have stepped forward to help.
What are the chances of success?
As an estimate, the Initiative needs to collect about 300,000 votersí petitions. Since some of the collected petitions might not qualify, it is prudent to collect more, so the target is 400,000.
If this campaign could recruit 4000 volunteers, then that means each volunteer/canvasser only needs to collect 100 petitions in three months.
To those who are committed, it should not be difficult to collect 100 petitions. One only needs to knock on the door of their neighbours, and visit a nearby community centre, library, church, school or restaurant a few times. Since almost everyone opposes the HST, it should not take too long to collect the required number.
Thus, the biggest challenge to the Initiative is whether the campaign can recruit enough volunteers. If only half of the desired volunteers are recruited, then each canvasser would have to double his or her petition number. If some of the canvassers cannot meet their target, others would have to help and fill the gap.
Letís roll up our sleeves. I declare that Iím going to participate in the End HST Initiative. Iím willing to help recruit and organize volunteers. For those who are interested, please contact me at Gabriel_Yiu,,,telus.net or you can filled in the attached form and fax it to meat 604-321-7378.
Why should we oppose the HST?
In last yearís election, the BC Liberals promised in black and white that they would not bring the HST to BC. They said it is bad for consumers and our economy would be adversely affected. But when the election was over, they showed us another face. The Liberals now say that implementing the HST is the best they can do for our economy.
The Liberal government declared that the HST is revenue neutral, meaning government would not collect more tax. The extra $1.9 billion sales tax paid by consumers would be given to business corporations as tax cuts.
Right now, a great many goods and most of the services are not subject to the 7% PST. Once the Liberals combine the federal and provincial sales tax into one HST, what we are paying now, the 5% sales tax, will be increased to 12%, i.e. an increase of 1.4 times!
According to the calculation of Fairchild TVís news documentary show, a single person living alone would have to pay over a thousand dollars more sales tax because of the HST, whereas a family of 5 would have to bear an extra $2,688 sales tax per year.
Whatwould be subjected to the 7% tax increase?
Restaurant meals, fast food, prepared food, coffee shops, beverages, cable TV, internet, telephone, propane/natural gas, some groceries, dry cleaning, heating fuel, newspapers, magazines, vitamin, dietary supplements, non-prescription drugs,school supplies, animal feed, safety equipment, helmets, first-aid kits, lifejackets, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, strata fees, home maintenance and renovation, insulation, energy equipment, new homes, health equipment, haircut,beauty salon, spa services, massage therapy, bicycles, car repair and maintenance, parking, taxi fares, bus fares, movies, theatre, museum, admission fees, membership fees, golf fees, skiing, hockey tickets, music lessons,concert tickets, painting, campgrounds, RV parks, fishing charters, moorage, resort packages, air tickets, real estate fees, accounting, legal fees, architects, naturopathy, reflexology, physiotherapy, Chinese medicine,veterinarian, funeral services...
Can anyone sign the Initiativeís petition?
No, only legible voters can sign. If you are not a registered voter, please register to become one by April 5. If you received your voting card or votedlast year, you are already an eligible voter. Otherwise, you can register online.
Iívealready signed the Stop HST petition earlier. Do I need to sign again?
Yes, all the petitions you have signed cannot be used or counted in the Initiative. Thus, you need to sign the petition. Also, you need to sign the petition with a registered canvasser.
How can I become a volunteer?
It is unfortunate that not everyone can become a volunteer canvasser. According to Election BC's regulation, a canvasser must be: 1) a Canadian citizen; 2) over 18 years of age; 3) must have lived in BC for 6 months.
The following is how you can register to become a volunteer/canvasser:
1. Make sure you're registered to vote. If you voted in the provincial election in May 2009, you are registered. If you're not sure, head to the Elections BC website, and register (https://eregister.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/ovr/welcome.aspx).Anyone
not registered by April 5 can't sign the petition. Make sure you remind all your friends and family to register as well.
2. Every person who volunteers to canvass for initiative petition signatures must be registered with Elections BC. Registration is free, and here's the process:
1. Download the registration form here. Itís a PDF, and you can fill it out on your computer, or by hand. If the latter, print out the form.
2. Date and sign the form in the appropriate spaces.
3. Each form must be signed by the initiative proponent, Bill Vander Zalm. Fax your form to Bill at 604-946-1981.
4. Wait by your mailbox. Bill will send your form to Elections BC, and they will send you your ID within 2 weeks. You cannot canvass without your ID.