May 16, 2011 Press Release
Finance Minister Kevin Falcon won’t rule out adding PST to previously untaxed items like restaurant meals if HST is extinguished
Vancouver – (Monday, May 16, 2011) – In a stunning revelation, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has admitted he may break faith with BC voters in the HST Referendum if they vote “Yes” against his wishes and extinguish the tax, says Fight HST Leader Bill Vander Zalm.
Vander Zalm says Falcon admitted last week in the BC Legislature he may expand the PST to a number of goods and services that were previously exempted, such as restaurant meals, if British Columbians vote to repeal the HST in the Referendum.
“That is a total betrayal of what the whole HST citizens Initiative petition and Referendum are about and he knows it. More than 700,000 people signed our Initiative because they wanted to return to the PST and GST exactly as they were before the HST. The proposed legislation attached to our Initiative petition specifically laid this out as what we intended.”
“Furthermore, when the question for the Referendum was drafted by Acting Chief Electoral Officer Craig James, he clarified to us that it means to restore the PST and GST to their previous status with the same exemptions,” said Vander Zalm.
Following is the email response from CEO James in answer to our concerns about the Referendum question meaning to include the previous exemptions for PST:
—– Original Message —–
From: “James, Craig EBC:EX” <Craig.James@elections.bc.ca>
Cc: “Bill Vander Zalm” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 11:11 AM
Subject: RE: Draft HST Referendum Question – Changes Need to Be Made
The dictionary meaning of “reinstate” is to restore to a former position. I therefore don’t see anything “implicit” in the question and thus no reason for the concern you have raised.
“The Referendum is a legally binding process. The Finance Minister cannot change the meaning of it at his own discretion. If Mr. Falcon does not heed the result of the Referendum he will be breaking the law,” Vander Zalm charged.
Vander Zalm says the HST mistakes that cost both Gordon Campbell and Colin Hansen their jobs as premier and finance minister are now being repeated by Premier Christy Clark and Falcon. “The names and the faces have changed, but the lying hasn’t. These people are pathological. Every time I think I have never seen anything like it before, they top themselves. It is the height of arrogance and lawlessness for Kevin Falcon to tell people he will decide what the Referendum means. It’s unbelievable!”
Vander Zalm says his group will consider a legal challenge if the government breaks the law by not following the Referendum results.
Vander Zalm said an editorial in Friday’s Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper should serve as a warning to the government:
“Falcon won’t say whether the government would impose the PST on restaurants if the HST is rejected by voters,” the editorial read. “The HST initiative petition certainly called for the restoration of the tax and exemptions. The government claimed [it was] willing to accept the referendum results as binding. If that commitment is not to be honoured, then voters -and the affected businesses -have every right to know.”
Vander Zalm called on the pro-HST business lobby group the Smart Tax Alliance to tell voters if it supports Falcon’s position that even a “Yes” vote to extinguish the HST will not bind him from removing the tax on restaurant food and other items previously PST exempt.
“If the Smart Tax Alliance is actually smart they will immediately tell Minister Falcon he is wrong and they profoundly disagree with his statements,” Vander Zalm said.
“What is the point of having a referendum if you won’t regard the result if it doesn’t go your way? How can anyone align themselves with people like this?” Vander Zalm asked.Share on Facebook
Tags: BC, British Columbia, chief electoral officer, christy clark, citizens initiative, craig james, extinguish, FightHST, finance minister, HST, Kevin Falcon, Premier, PST, Referendun, restaurant meals, vander zalm