NDP says HST funding not fair

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston

The B.C. government is stacking the deck in favour of the harmonized sales tax in its financing of a province-wide debate and referendum, NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston says.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has promised that $500,000 will be shared evenly between opponents and proponents of the HST, as Elections BC mails out ballots for a vote to be held in June and July.

Another $500,000 is budgeted to advertise and stage town hall meetings around the province, and $700,000 has been provided for a brochure to go to every household with arguments for and against the tax represented.

Ralston said the brochure and town hall forums are “under the thumb of the government,” and Falcon is also planning a government advertising campaign with an unspecified budget to promote the HST.

“Clearly, nothing has changed from before,” Ralston said Thursday. “The Liberal government is trying to persuade people with their own tax dollars that a $2 billion tax shift to big business, to take money out of their pockets, is good for them.”

Ralston said he expects the new NDP leader, to be chosen Sunday, will embark on his own campaign against the HST. And leadership candidates were quick to denounce the plan.

Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth said the the “talking taxes” forums announced by Falcon are the sort of public consultation that should have been done before the tax was introduced last year.

Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix said the funding should be shared evenly between the yes and no sides, along with “a clear and binding limitation” on third party spending by business groups who support the HST.

Just Posted

Derina Harvey Band – Heartfelt, Energetic, Celtic rock comes to Port Hardy

Front-woman Derina Harvey leads this Celtic-rock act, who offer an authentic east-coast experience.

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read