The province's acting chief electoral officer, Craig James, has done the B.C. Liberals a favour with the timing of the HST referendum results.
By releasing the numbers on a Friday in late August, James chose one of the very best times of the year from the perspective of government communications staff.
Many people are on holidays and not paying attention to the news. So today's release ensures citizens won't be paying as much attention as would have been the case if the numbers were publicized in September.
A big advantage of issuing the results on a Friday is that it's more likely to be seen as "old news" on next week's talk shows.
James did the B.C. Liberal government a second favour with his suggested wording of the question: "Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) in conjunction with the GST Goods and Services Tax? Yes/No.”
Asking people who hated the tax to vote "yes" served to confuse the issue. It's one of several reasons why James came under criticism from a citizens' group called Integrity B.C.
The group's managing director, Dermod Travis, claimed in a commentary that the wording was "manipulative".
The initiative headed by former premier Bill Vander Zalm succeeded anyway, even though there wasn't a level financial field between the "yes" and "no" forces.
If the vote was closer—and if the "no" side won in a squeeker—we would probably be hearing a lot more about this issue in the future.