Documents show B.C. Liberal government examined HST before election: reports
Documents obtained by several B.C. media outlets reveal provincial government officials were looking into the harmonized sales tax in the months before the Liberals’ May 2009 re-election.
The documents, released under provincial freedom of information legislation, show B.C. government officials had been in contact with federal officials regarding the tax, according to reports today (September 1) from the CBC, CKNW, and the Globe and Mail.
Provincial officials were also aware the economic benefits of introducing the tax might take years to materialize, according to the documents.
The HST was announced in July 2009 to widespread opposition that eventually fuelled a successful petition campaign that gathered more than 550,000 valid signatures across B.C.
Premier Gordon Campbell told reporters in August 2009 that the 12-percent tax “was not anywhere on our radar” during the election.
Finance Minister Colin Hansen affirms he was not aware of the HST discussions until the provincial election was over.
“At no time did anybody at the political level in our government ask ministry of finance officials to put any information together or do any work on the HST prior to the third week of May last year,” Hansen told the Globe in an interview yesterday.