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NEWS RELEASE · 2nd September 2010
Chris Delaney
FOI reveals BC Government in negotiations on HST months before 2009 Election

A damning report out of the BC Ministry of Finance, made available through the Freedom of Information Act, shows the BC Government was in negotiations with the federal government regarding implementation of the HST months before the provincial election in 2009.

Fight HST Leader, Bill Vander Zalm, says the report proves the BC Government deliberately deceived the public during and after the 2009 election when they said they did not have plans to implement the HST until weeks after the election.

“This document shows the premier and finance minister not only did not tell the truth during the election, but they repeated that deception over and over again afterward. Now they've been caught red-handed, and they must resign,” said the former BC premier.

Vander Zalm says the report also shows the government was made aware that the HST would have a negative impact on the economy of BC for at least five and perhaps up to ten years. “They also told us the HST was the best thing they could do for the economy of BC. It turns out they were not telling the truth about that either, since they were fully aware of a C.D. Howe Institute study showing the exact opposite.”

Vander Zalm says the C.D. Howe Report puts the lie to the argument that cancelling the HST will be too costly for BC. “This report shows that cancelling the HST would help BC’s economy and actually save our health care, education and social programs from cuts due to a shrinking tax base under the HST. Not cancelling it will result in business losses, higher unemployment and deep cuts to services.”

“The premier and finance minister’s credibility is shot. How they thought they could get away with this is hard to imagine. It’s the sign of an arrogant, out of control government that believes it is above any code of ethics, morals or accountability of any kind.”

Vander Zalm says it would appear that Campbell and Hansen deceived not only the public but their own MLAs as well, who were fed the government line that there were no plans for an HST prior to the election.

“It is time for every MLA in the government to come clean on where they stand. Are they on the side of the people, or are they on the side of deception?”

“Failure by any MLA to take a stand against this shocking revelation means the excuse that they have been defending the tax on its merits changes to defending duplicity and untruth in government. And if they are on the side of deceiving the people, then they are fair game for Recalls starting in November. It’s all we’ll have left to restore some semblance of honesty and integrity to government in BC again,” concluded Vander Zalm.