FightHST campaign tries to rally local support

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm and his FightHST partner Chris Delaney were at the Penticton Sandman Hotel Saturday afternoon, encouraging residents to vote to cancel B.C.’s harmonized sales tax in the upcoming provincial mail-in referendum.

  • May. 31, 2011 12:00 p.m.

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm and his FightHST partner Chris Delaney were at the Penticton Sandman Hotel Saturday afternoon, encouraging residents to vote to cancel B.C.’s harmonized sales tax in the upcoming provincial mail-in referendum.

Speaking to over 100 people, the vast majority of whom were seniors, while an ice cream bucket was passed around to collect money to help with the costs of the two anti-HST campaigners travels throughout the province, Delaney asserted the provincial government’s latest efforts to adjust the tax demonstrates the ill-conceived manner in which it was drafted.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced last week that should the province’s electorate vote to keep the HST, the tax will be decreased by one per cent as of July 1, 2012 and by a second percentage point in 2014. In addition to the current low-income rebates, he also announced new rebates for parents with children under 18 and some seniors.

Falcon said with those rebates taken into account, the majority of families will be better off with the HST at the 11-per-cent rate. And once it falls to 10 per cent, he added, everyone in the province will be better off than under the old PST/GST system.

Neither Delaney nor Vander Zalm are convinced.

“They are trying to bribe the people of B.C. with their own money,” Delaney said. “They are not giving you the rebate. They are not giving you the tax cut. They are only promising that if you vote a certain way and that is called a bribe.

“It is saying, ‘We are going to take your money and we are going to take way more of it then we said we were going to take. But to make it easier on you we are going to give you a little bit back.’ Isn’t that an admission that their tax doesn’t work? Isn’t that an admission that it doesn’t stimulate the economic activity; that prices didn’t come down; and that the employment rate didn’t go down?”

Delaney said that since the HST was initiated in B.C. last July employment has risen.

“We were told by this government that the HST is not just a good tax, but that it is the single best thing we could do to stimulate the economy,” he said. “Well folks, it didn’t turn out to be that way at all.”

Furthermore, Delaney said, the new rebate system Falcon came up with is not fair because it does not take into account people’s overall annual earnings.

“If you are a wealthy guy, let’s say you’re a lawyer or an accountant, and you are earning $150,000 or $200,000 a year and you have got three kids, you are going to get a $500 to $600 rebate from the government,” said Delaney. “But if you are a pensioner and you earn just over $40,000 a year between you and your wife, you are not going to get a dime. How fair is that?

“This tax is a disaster … Vote yes to extinguish the HST. Save our province. Save your democracy. And save your money.”

After the event, which included a 30-minute question-and-answer session, Vander Zalm said he was impressed with how engaged and informed the crowd was regarding the HST.

“Today’s meeting was fantastic,”  he said. “If the meeting that we had today is any kind of measure then I would say that we are going to win this. But I don’t know what sort of an ad campaign the government and the business sector still has in mind. I suspect they will be pouring money into this, particularly on TV, for some time to come.

“We don’t have the money that they do but that’s OK because we have the people on side and that is who we need to win this.”

Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)
Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read