Clark rules out free vote on killing HST

Abbott lashes Liberal challenger for 'flip flop'



Christy Clark has dropped her contentious plan for a new free vote of MLAs on whether to quickly kill the harmonized sales tax.

The radio talk show host is falling into line with the other Liberal leadership contenders in concluding the HST must go to the binding referendum pledged by premier Gordon Campbell.

Clark now says the idea of a free vote in the legislature – which rankled sitting Liberals who already voted on the HST last June – was just “an option” she had raised for discussion in the campaign.

“Part of leading is being able to take advice and then act on it,” she said.

Clark spelled our her position in a video posted Wednesday, in which she calls for an accelerated HST referendum on June 24, three months earlier than currently planned.

“The tax does need to go to a referendum,” she said. “And it needs to go sooner rather than later.”

Clark said Elections BC must ensure equal funding to both sides of the referendum question, as happened with the 2009 vote on electoral reform.

And she said voting in the referendum should happen at the same polling places and similar hours to the last provincial election, adding anything less may “send the wrong signal.”

As with other Liberals, Clark said she will vote for keeping the 12 per cent value-added tax that replaced the seven per cent PST and five per cent GST.

“Will it pass at referendum? I hope it does. But that will be up to the people to decide.”

She’d previously said the referendum was an unnecessary waste of money when politicians could dispense with the issue in the legislature.

Rival George Abbott quickly denounced Clark’s move as a “flip-flop” that proves she has “no credible plan” to lead the province.

“The public wants certainty and clarity, not more double-speak and misdirection,” he said.

Abbott also criticized Clark’s “misguided” plan to provide funding to the Fight HST forces.

“She now thinks it’s a good idea for taxpayers to cut Bill Vander Zalm a blank cheque for his efforts and pay groups who are actively misusing recall legislation to unseat BC Liberal MLAs,” he said.

Abbott added he called for an earlier June 24 vote on the first day of the campaign.

Just Posted

Port Alice trailer goes up in flames in the early morning hours

The North Island Gazette will continue to update the story with more details as it progresses.

1041 customers without power due to outages in Northern Vancouver Island

Keep following the North Island Gazette for more on the power outages.

VIDEO: Sports Talk with Tyson: North Island Bantam Eagles are ready for provincials

Sports Talk with Tyson is back this week with an indepth look at the North Island Bantam Eagles.

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

Thunderbird movie films in downtown Port Hardy

A film crew of approximately 30-40 people has shut down part of Market Street in Port Hardy.

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Announcement made Saturday evening from Europe

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Most Read