NEWS RELEASE · 26th August 2011
BC NDP Party
STATEMENT FROM ADRIAN DIX, LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRAT OFFICIAL OPPOSITION, ON THE RESULTS OF THE HST REFERENDUM
"Today, we have the results of the people’s referendum on the HST. And we have good news: the people won over the arrogance of the Liberal government and its powerful friends. It is a victory for fairness.
"For a decade, the Liberal Party has shifted the tax burden onto B.C. families. A return to the PST will be good for communities, good for families and good for small business. It will make life a little bit more affordable for working families. It will also ensure that British Columbia has control over its sales tax policy, now and in the future.
"And it is a victory for democracy.
"The people of B.C. sent a clear message to the government – that our voices must be heard and our democratic rights respected.
"The Liberals said they opposed the HST in the last election campaign and then sprang it on unsuspecting voters. Premier Clark ran a campaign largely based on Liberal Party ads paid for by millions of dollars of public funds, and outlandish promises of tax reductions, promises she had previously committed not to make.
"I am very proud of the New Democrat Official Opposition, who stood up from the start to oppose the HST. Over the past two years, we have gone community-to-community, door-to-door in this campaign. In the final two months, I visited 33 communities and was part of more than a hundred events. Earlier, like thousands of British Columbians and my fellow New Democrat MLAs, I went door-to-door to gather signatures in the initiative campaign.
"I also want to congratulate Fight HST who worked hard to make this day happen.
"What I found across B.C. meeting with small businesspeople, students, seniors and working people, were thoughtful voters who understood the issue. This was a two-year campaign, not a thunderstorm on a sunny day and more than 1.5 million people came out to express their views.
"Yes, British Columbians were angry at a Liberal government that had misled them repeatedly for more than two years. But they also understood that the HST would take money out of their communities, out of local business and make it harder to make ends meet.
"At its core, this was the people’s referendum. I think of the people I met in Kamloops and Vernon, Castlegar and Campbell River, and throughout the province, who set up tables in malls, talked to their neighbours and collected more than 700,000 signatures, something never before achieved, and something Christy Clark strongly opposed. Simply put, it is a great day for our democracy. The people won over what may have been the most expensive election campaign ever pursued in B.C. by the Liberals and their allies – much of it with public funds.
"Now it is time for the provincial government to move quickly to restore the PST – as it was on June 30, 2010, as it was on Election Day 2009. The threats made by Ms. Clark and Mr. Falcon against small business, B.C. families, health care in Kamloops and other regions must not be acted upon.
"Now it is time to get down to business and address the real challenges we face – the economy and jobs, affordability, growing inequality, health, education and the environment. It has been more than two years of a Liberal government that has done nothing other than the HST. They have let us down. They have failed families.
"The people of B.C. made a clear decision.
"New Democrats will work tirelessly to hold the Liberals to account as they implement the results of this historic referendum. And we celebrate an historic victory that has transformed democracy in B.C. for the better."
BC Conservative Party
CUMMINS: "YES" VOTE A REJECTION OF LIBERAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT
The results of the HST referendum have been released today.
“The people of British Columbia have spoken,” said Mr. Cummins. “After millions of tax dollars were spent to defend the HST, the Liberals failed to convince British Columbians that the tax was in their best interest.”
Over 1.6 million ballots were received in the vote, with the majority of British Columbians voting “yes” to scrapping the HST.
“This vote is as much a rejection of the manner in which this Liberal government conducts the people’s business, as it is a rejection of the HST.”
“That said, the government must act swiftly and repeal the HST by January 1st, 2012,” said Mr. Cummins, “and the scope of the reinstated PST should not be expanded beyond its pre-HST reach.”
Business Council of British Columbia
DISAPPOINTING HST REJECTION MISSES OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS BC’S ECONOMIC WEAKNESSES
Business Council Looks to Government to Move on Transition Plans and to Accelerate Efforts to Address BC’s Competitiveness and Growth Challenges
The Business Council of British Columbia today accepts the public’s decision on the HST, but called on the government to quickly turn its attention to addressing the short term impacts of the transition back to a separate provincial sales tax as well as lingering problems with BC’s competitiveness that the HST had begun to tackle.
“The public have spoken and rejected the HST, a tax change we strongly endorsed. The business community respects that decision and understands that the government will do the same,” stated Greg D’Avignon President and CEO of the Business Council of BC.
“We are unquestionably disappointed but don’t have the luxury in today’s uncertain times to revisit the past. We need to move on to deal with the real challenges facing BC’s economy and its people if we are to achieve our full potential.”
“Specifically, there is an urgent need to focus on BC’s lagging competiveness, our poor productivity, and most importantly the challenge of attracting the capital that is required to build our economy, invest in innovation, and harness our natural assets to create jobs,” stated Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President of the Business Council.
“We will work with government to try and ensure an orderly transition to the PST, but in doing so we believe there is a pressing need for government and industry to address the lost competitive advantage and efficiency that the HST provided for business and our economy ,” said D’Avignon. “Particularly in today’s unsettled global economy, it is important that we look at all opportunities to improve our economy and grow and maintain BC’s reputation as a stable and attractive place to invest.”
“Unfortunately, businesses and government will face direct and indirect costs and lost revenues in the billions of dollars as the province shifts back to an inefficient and cumbersome retail sales tax,” added Finlayson. “These costs will fall on companies, taxpayers and households. This change poses a risk to the province’s reputation as a stable jurisdiction in which to do business. Government must be mindful of this risk going forward.”
The Business Council will be establishing a Task Force on Productivity, Competition and Innovation with a mandate to develop proposals to enhance the investment climate and improve British Columbia’s ability to attract capital and create jobs.
“Through this new Task Force, we will work with key industry sectors that underpin BC’s prosperity to come up with practical and innovative ideas to develop a stronger and more competitive provincial economy,” stated D’Avignon.
The Business Council of British Columbia is in its 45th year as the premier business organization in BC representing the province’s 250 leading companies and enterprises in every key sector of the economy. Our membership, found throughout BC, accounts for over 25 percent of all jobs in the province.