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NEWS RELEASE · 27th July 2010
BC NDP Caucus
New reports out today show that since the HST was implemented on July 1, British Columbians have become increasingly concerned about making ends meet, the New Democrats say.

Consumer confidence is at an all-time low in British Columbia, according to the Conference Board of Canada. B.C. saw the biggest drop in consumer confidence in the country, losing 12.5 points.

“The B.C. Liberals caught consumers and business by surprise when they announced the HST last summer after pledging during the election not to do so. Now that people are paying the tax at the till, it’s not surprising that B.C. consumers are having a crisis of confidence in the B.C. Liberal government,” said Bruce Ralston, New Democrat finance critic.

“The people of British Columbia have spoken loud and clear and warned this government not to move forward with the HST, but the B.C. Liberals just won’t listen.”

Conference Board economist Todd Crawford told the media that the drop in consumer confidence “coincided almost one-for-one with the onset of the new HST tax in British Columbia.” The only province with a lower consumer confidence than B.C. is Ontario, which also brought in the HST earlier this month.

“The B.C. Liberals’ HST doublecross has undermined consumer confidence, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Just as we should be building the economy to create jobs as the world emerges from the economic downturn, the B.C. Liberal government is taking the opposite approach,” said Ralston.

Ralston pointed out that an Angus Reid poll, also released today, shows that British Columbians are more concerned about both the state of the economy and their own personal finances than other Canadians. The only other province where people show the same level of concern is Ontario.

“The B.C. Liberals made a desperate grab at $1.6 billion in federal transition money to attempt to cover up their budget lie before the election, and already British Columbians are paying the price, both in a compromised economic recovery, and through $1.9 billion in higher taxes,” said Ralston.

Elections B.C. is currently vetting the Citizens’ Initiative petition to stop the HST, which gathered an estimated 700,000 signatures.