Bill Vander Zalm calls HST referendum results “historic”
Fight HST leaderBill Vander Zalm called the results of today’s referendum on the harmonized sales tax “historic” as he celebrated his group's successful battle against the policy.
“This is a historic day, not only in our province, but in the country,” Vander Zalm told reporters shortly after the referendum results were released today (August 26).
“It’s the first time in the British commonwealth that the people actually had a say in how it is they’re taxed.”
The former premier said the referendum results also “sent a message” to politicians that they must consult with the people on issues as big as the HST.
Vander Zalm then challenged B.C. Premier Christy Clark on developing the government’s next steps.
“If plan b goes the way of plan a, they’re in trouble again, so I would tell the premier and the government right now that if you have a plan b, involve the people in your plan b—they need to have a say,” he said.
“It’s they that pay not only the taxes, but your wages, your benefits and your pension.”
Fight HST organizer Chris Delaney also called the vote “history making”.
“The people of British Columbia stood the line against the biggest powers and won,” he said. “The little guy today won. This is one for the little guy.”
“We were told we’d lose the referendum with $10, 15, 20 million being spent against us,” he added.
“People didn’t listen to that. This is a victory for democracy because big money did not win the day in this referendum.”
Fight HST organizers say they plan to continue calling for an independent inquiry into the referendum process for future ballots.
The group launched an anti-HST petition in April 2010 calling for a referendum on the tax.
More than 1.6 million British Columbians cast ballots in the mail-in referendum.