Thursday, April 29, 2010

BC Liberal Finance Minister Colin Hansen goes bonkers - tries to stop Fight HST Initiative after Elections BC outlaws government HST $1 million mailer



BC Liberals go crazy after Elections BC stops them from sending out pro-HST propaganda during Fight HST Initiative period

To my amazement, BC Liberal Finance Minister Colin Hansen has gone off the deep end, filing a complaint with Elections BC about the Fight HST citizens Initiative petition campaign the same day his government invoked closure to stop MLAs debating the government's HST legislation!

The reason for Hansen blowing a head gasket? Elections BC ruled Thursday that the government cannot send out a $1 million HST propaganda mailer to every BC household while the Initiative campaign led by former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm is underway.

So the government is trying now to attack a small, grassroots campaign with over 5,000 volunteers who have the audacity to say "No!" to the Harmonized Sales Tax with a "people's petition".

I truly think the BC Liberals have lost it - neither the government, nor the BC Liberal Party nor their big business HST supporters bothered to even register as official opponents to the Fight HST Initiative with Election BC - now they don't like having to play by the same rules!

Here is Fight HST's news release from Thursday April 29.

* * * *

Campbell Government trying to smear and intimidate volunteers

Delta – Former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm calls an official complaint filed by BC Finance Minister Colin Hansen with Elections BC over the Fight HST citizens Initiative petition an example of a government “totally out of control”.

Hansen says he filed the complaint over what he is calling “misinformation” by the all-volunteer Fight HST group in a pamphlet titled the “HST Hit List”.

But Vander Zalm, Fight HST Leader, says it is clear from the government’s actions that they are angry at his group for thwarting the government’s plan to do a mass mail-out to try to sway voters from signing the petition.

Elections BC today ruled that the government cannot send out the pro-HST mailer until after the Initiative signup period ends July 5.

“Attacking the people’s petition, using the undemocratic motion of closure to stop debate in the Legislature on the HST – this is a government that is totally out of control,” Vander Zalm said.

The HST Hit list, first compiled by a group calling themselves angryformerliberals.ca, was posted by Fight HST on its web site and distributed to BC voters at meetings and rallies. It contains over 77 items that will be affected by HST after the new tax is implemented.

Fight HST made numerous public requests to government to publish a definitive list of items affected by the HST, but have not received a response to date. The list has a qualifying statement that says “This list is a rough guide only and may change depending on what the Liberals decide to do.”

“Without a clear list from government, we were forced to use the best information available to compile the items. We have never said it was definitive, and have been constantly updating it as new information has come to light, both adding items that were left off, and removing items that proved to be incorrect, or clarifying them,” explained Vander Zalm.

“There has been no intention to mislead anyone. Out of 77 items, only four or five have been incorrect, and even those only partially. To see the government trying to use its power and resources to beat up on a small band of volunteers, including seniors, young people, small business people and working families who are trying to assert their democratic rights borders on totalitarian demagoguery,” Vander Zalm fumed.

“This government is so mad that they are losing public support on this issue that they have turned on the very people who elected them. It is outright dictatorship and they must be stopped before this peaceful revolt against them turns ugly. They are doing everything in their power to try to intimidate people from participating in democracy, and it is frankly quite scary.”

“In all my years in politics, I have never seen anything like it,” Vander Zalm concluded.
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BASI-VIRK - Crown to call staff, ex-cabinet ministers, appointees of Premier Gordon Campbell in BC Legislature Raid case

Basi-Virk Special Prosecutor Janet Winteringham gave BC Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie the Crown's list of 44 witnesses it intends to call in the corruption trial of three former BC Liberal government aides on Wednesday.

David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi all face trial beginning May 17 in connection with the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail in 2003. A police raid on the BC Legislature on December 28, 2003 was the first sign to the public of the major political scandal.

Former BC Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins and former Transportation Minister Judith Reid, the current Chief of Staff to Premier Gordon Campbell - Martyn Brown, former BC Rail Chair John McLernon, federal Liberal Party operative Mark Marissen, former BC Liberal government deputy ministers Ken Dobell and Brenda Eaton, and former railway company executives among others.

The Crown's key witnesses, former BC lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran, are also listed.

The Globe and Mail's Rod Mickleburgh has a good report on the jury selection and witness list.

A publication ban continues on reporting any pre-trial hearings or evidence given in the absence of the jury, which has now been chosen.

The Province's Keith Fraser reports that MacKenzie said the trial should last six weeks but may go an extra two weeks into mid-July if necessary.

I am travelling this week and was unable to attend the jury selection process.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fight HST holds day-long citizens Initiative petition signing for Vancouver, North Van, West Van - Saturday May 1 at Vancouver Art Gallery


For those wanting to sign the Fight HST citizens petition - a day-long signing takes place for all Vancouver, North Van and West Van ridings on Saturday May 1 at the Vancouver Art Gallery - details in the Fight HST news release below.

Other ridings should check the Fight HST website for signup locations in their community.

* * * * *

News Release
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fight HST organizers hold day-long petition signature drive for all Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver ridings at Vancouver Art Gallery Saturday May 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

VANCOUVER – Fight HST organizers will hold a day-long signature drive on Saturday May 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Vancouver Art Gallery for registered voters in all Vancouver, West Vancouver and North Vancouver ridings to sign citizens Initiative petition to stop the HST.

The petition signature drive will take place on the West Georgia Street side of the Gallery, located at 750 Hornby Street in downtown Vancouver, rain or shine.

The petition drive follows Fight HST reporting that 145,549 signatures had been received province-wide by last Sunday April 25.

There will not be a rally or speeches at the petition drive – just volunteer canvassers accepting Initiative signatures. For more Initiative signing locations across British Columbia please check the Fight HST website at www.FightHST.com

The following Vancouver, West Vancouver and North Vancouver ridings will have canvassers available to take signatures on Saturday.

Vancouver-Fraserview (VFV) Vancouver-Hastings (VHA)
Vancouver-Kensington (VKE) Vancouver-Kingsway (VKI)
Vancouver-Mount Pleasant (VMP) Vancouver-Fairview (VFA)
Vancouver-False Creek (VFC) Vancouver-Langara (VLA)
Vancouver-Point Gray (VNP) Vancouver-Quilchena (VNQ)
Vancouver-West End (VNW)
North Van-Lonsdale (NVL) (North Van East & West, Lower Lonsdale)
North Van-Seymour (NVS) (North Van East & West, Indian Arm)
West Van-Capilano (WCA) (West Van North & South, Ambleside)
West Van-Sea2Sky (WSS) (Squamish, Whistler, Bowen, West Van)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Canadian Taxpayers Federation and BC Chamber of Commerce betray members by supporting HST

Canadian Taxpayers Federation and BC Chamber of Commerce won't fight HST for taxpayers and small businesses - they like it!Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday April 27, 2010

By Bill Tieleman


With the overwhelming
majority of B.C taxpayers fighting the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax, you would think a group called the Canadian Taxpayers Federation would be leading the charge.

But you would be dead wrong. They could care less.

And with thousands of restaurants, realtors, developers, accountants, and other businesses facing an extra seven per cent imposed on the goods and services they provide, you might presume chambers of commerce are trying to stop the B.C. government's HST.

Wrong again. They love it.

Who really is the 'voice of business'?

Amazingly, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce actually strongly supports the HST, with its president John Winter one of the only HST cheerleaders in the province.

"The HST has our support... This is the Voice of Business speaking," Winter
said last year.

But wait a minute -- is Winter truly the Voice for B.C. chambers?

Because at the local level, some chamber members -- especially restaurant owners, realtors and developers -- have to be asking why the heck they pay good money for Winter to go around supporting a tax they believe will harm their businesses and the economy.

Nearly 80 per cent of North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce members surveyed
said they are opposed to the HST on their businesses, with 68 per cent saying it will have a negative impact on their businesses.

And a Kelowna Chamber of Commerce member survey found that 64 per cent believe the HST will have a negative impact on the economy while less than ten per cent
think it will be positive.

And as businesses like A&W Restaurants and Serious Coffee in southern Vancouver Island
open their doors to help volunteers gather signatures for the Fight HST citizens' initiative petition led by former premier Bill Vander Zalm, it sounds like the chamber isn't speaking for its members.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation lies down

Then there’s the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's B.C. branch, which is not opposing the HST despite their
slogan, which says they are a “citizen's advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes, less waste and accountable government."

Really? Not from what I can see.

When it comes to the HST: "Simply saying NO is not realistic," says the Federation's website.

"The provincial and federal government have entered into an agreement including a $1.6-billion carrot to the province that is not likely to be reversed."

And B.C. director Maureen Bader
says:"The HST is not going away. It doesn't matter how many petitions there are, or how outraged people are -- and they are really outraged about it -- the government is not going to back down."

Talk about giving up on taxpayers desperately who actually want to stop the HST!

When the HST was first announced last July, Bader even
praised the idea.

"In theory, it's a good thing. In the short term it's bad for families, but over the long run it should help with economic growth and increase incentives to work and invest in the province," Bader said.
Ouch!

Petitions filling up fast

These days the Federation is more concerned with getting a municipal vote for businesses and criticizing MLA pensions than opposing a new $2 billion a year tax that would hit all consumers and devastate small businesses. They do say taxpayers are "rightly" outraged by the HST but that’s about it.

A
nd despite 145,000 people having signed the Fight HST Initiative petition, and before the planned July 1 imposition date, the Federation has its own campaign online -- to get the HST not stopped but simply lowered after implemented!

Forget about the Federation even posting links to
Fight HST or the NO BC HST Facebook page for its members who actually do want to stop this tax -- they're nowhere to be seen.
But you can find a link to the B.C. government website!

A Taxpayers Federation that won’t fight a terrible new tax and a Chamber of Commerce that won’t represent small business -- no wonder British Columbians are furious at more than just the HST.

* * * * *

Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver residents can sign the Fight HST petition from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday May 1 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Over 145,000 British Columbian sign citizens Initiative petition to stop the HST!

One quarter of BC ridings have already hit 10% mark in Fight HST citizens Initiative petition

Amazing news from the Fight HST campaign that I am proud to be working on today - over 145,000 people have already signed the citizens Initiative petition to stop the HST as of Sunday! Also very happy to report that my NO BC HST Facebook protest group has over 134,000 members - a new high!

Here is the Fight HST news release:

News Release Monday, April 26, 2010

Fight HST signatures quadruple in third week to over 145,000
24% of Electoral Districts have met or exceeded Elections BC’s threshold of 10% of registered voters signatures

Delta - Another 105,000 British Columbians signed the Fight HST petition to repeal the HST last week, bringing the total signatures reported as of Sunday, April 25, 2010 to 145,549 province-wide, says Chris Delaney, Lead Organizer for the Bill Vander Zalm Initiative petition.

“This is a significant increase over our Week 2 report, and shows the momentum continuing to build across the province. Twenty Ridings have met or exceeded the Elections BC threshold of 10% of registered voters signatures already, with seven of those reaching 15% or better. This is a phenomenal achievement in only two weeks of steady campaigning for signatures,” Delaney explained.

Delaney says the big ridings so far are Cariboo-Chilcotin, Cariboo North, Parksville-Qualicum, Peace River North, Shuswap, Skeena, Fort Langley-Aldergrove, Langley, Abbotsford South, and Chilliwack-Hope, with Kamloops North, Nanaimo, Columbia River-Revelstoke, Boundary-Similkameen, Delta North, Saanich North and Victoria Beacon Hill all posting 3,000 signatures or more in each riding as well.

“The good news is we are getting strong numbers everywhere in the province. There is no single region or riding we are canvassing that is not getting strong results. We have now achieved over 48% of the total signatures required for a successful petition in just under 3 weeks. With 9 weeks left to go, we are on track to meet our internal threshold of 15% of registered voters’ signatures in all 85 Electoral Districts in BC,” said Delaney.

Bill Vander Zalm, the leader of the grassroots organization conducting the petition, says the only thing slowing his team down is the time it takes to gather the signatures, “Quite frankly, if most of our volunteers didn’t have to work for a living, we would be done by now. These numbers are even more astounding when you consider the bulk of them were collected only on weekends.”

“We will keep going until we reach the 15% threshold we have set for ourselves in every riding, or until Premier Campbell cries ‘uncle’ and agrees to withdraw the HST, whichever comes first,” said the smiling former premier.

“The idea that the HST is a done deal that cannot be reversed is rapidly collapsing under the reality of a citizen revolt that has spread right across the province, and is now threatening to bring down the government with ‘Recalls’ if they don’t listen to the people,” said Vander Zalm.

Page 11, Section 42 of the CITCA Agreement signed between BC and Ottawa says: “The terms and conditions of this Agreement will continue in full force and effect, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this Part, until the date that is specified by a Party in written notice that is delivered to the other Party setting out the Party’s desire to terminate this Agreement.”

“We thought it was important to reference the ‘Termination Clause’ of the HST Agreement for the premier, since he may want to avail himself of it very soon,” Vander Zalm concluded.

-30-

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Wine Barbarian's Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival top picks!

Bill drinking Rose in Chateauneuf-du-Pape last summer

To whine or to wine?

Okay - it can't be all politics all the time!

Some of you may and others may not know that in my almost non-existent spare time I am a wine collector and enthusiast.


I also run a wine, food and restaurant blog called The Wine Barbarian that offers advice based on my drinking and eating experiences - it's nowhere near what I'd like it to be but I hope you might find it useful to have a look.


And particularly if you are going to the Vancouver Playhouse's International Wine Festival on Friday or Saturday night - because I went on Thursday night and tasted and tasted and tasted wines in order to give Wine Barbarian readers the fruits of my labour without the after effects


So visit The Wine Barbarian blog for my picks that click - even if you aren't going to the Festival many of the wines there and others on my blog are readily available at your local liquor or wine store.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

BASI-VIRK EXCLUSIVE - corruption trial start delayed to May 17 from May 3 - reporting details why prohibited by publication ban

David Basi and his lawyer Michael Bolton outside court, February 2010 - Bill Tieleman photo


BASI-VIRK EXCLUSIVE

BC Legislature raid corruption trial start delayed to May 17 from May 3 but publication ban prohibits reasons why being reported

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

NOTE - I will be discussing this new development with Sean Leslie on CKNW AM 980 at 6:35 p.m. tonight - tune in!


The start of the B.C. Legislature Raid trial for three former B.C. government staffers facing corruption charges has been delayed to May 17 from its scheduled start of May 3.

But because of a publication ban imposed by presiding B.C. Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie in March on all matters connected to pre-trial hearing and other evidence previously discussed in court, reasons for the delay cannot be reported.

An official in the Court Registry told 24 Hours on Wednesday that the trial had been rescheduled to start May 17.

David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi face corruption related charges stemming from a December 28, 2003 police raid on the B.C. Legislature in connection with the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail in November.

The publication ban stops any media from publishing or broadcasting details of what takes place in pre-trial hearings - only evidence presented to the jury in the trial can be reported.


Here is the publication ban implemented by MacKenzie:

"Vancouver Supreme Court

Registry Number: 23299

Case Name:R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi

Date: 04/03/2010

Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, there shall be no publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings in the absence of the jury until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."


As a result of this ban I am unable to report about anything that happened at the pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, including what reasons may have been given for the trial start delay, or whether any future pre-trial hearings are even taking place and when or why.


If a pre-trial hearing is scheduled it becomes public knowledge and reportable when it appears on the BC Supreme Court website scheduling section early the day of the hearing.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Finance Minister Colin Hansen is mad at Bill Vander Zalm and I - BC is furious with Hansen's HST!







Fight HST is growing and Hansen's not happy


BC Liberal Finance Minister Colin Hansen tries to push Bill Tieleman and Bill Vander Zalm out of the HST picture - good luck!


Bill Tieleman's
24 hours/The Tyee column


Tuesday April 20, 2010


By Bill Tieleman


"The Initiative challenge is clear -- can HST opponents get organized enough in every single riding to obtain the magic 10 per cent of legitimate voter signatures? I say we can!"


- Bill Tieleman in
The Tyee and 24 Hours, August 18, 2009


B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Colin Hansen is really mad at me.


But that's okay -- the rest of the province is furious with him for trying to impose the Harmonized Sales Tax on us!

Hansen went after me
in the Legislature and on CKNW AM 980 last week, saying that with the Fight HST campaign, former premier Bill Vander Zalm and I were "misleading" people about what goods and services the HST's extra 7 per cent will apply to.

But I think the real reason is because I first suggested in
this column last summer that a citizens' initiative was the best way to fight the HST -- an idea that has now caught on like wildfire.

Who's misleading?

Besides, who misled whom? This is the finance minister who never told voters before the 2009 election he would bring in an HST to transfer $2 billion a year in taxes from big business onto the backs of consumers. And whose party
told the restaurant and development industry in writing it would not introduce an HST?

This finance minister claimed B.C. had a $495 million deficit before the election -- but a
$2.8 billion deficit afterwards!

This finance minister
said he hadn't considered the HST before the election -- but whose officials, according to documents obtained by Canadian Press through a Freedom of Information request, called the federal government about the HST just three days after the May 12 election!

And this same finance minister's government website has this "comprehensive"
list of what the HST would apply to:

"Taxable -- Most goods and services are taxable, which means that HST is charged on the supply of those items. Examples: cars, clothing, furniture, haircuts."

Wow, four examples!

Small mistakes, big battle

I am so sorry that Fight HST -- a grassroots volunteer group without the vast resource of the government -- actually tried to tell British Columbians about the very long list of goods and services they'll have to pay an extra 7 per cent on as of July 1 and made a few small errors.

Fight HST has now pulled the entire page off the website and has challenged
Hansen to produce an actual list of everything that will be subject to the HST -- from restaurant food to funeral services to airline tickets to gym memberships and on and on.

But Hansen won't do that, because the Fight HST Initiative has already gained the support of angry B.C. voters, with a new Angus Reid Public Opinion
poll showing 81 per cent of respondents want to sign the petition.

It also says the B.C. Liberals have plummeted to just 29 per cent support, with the NDP at 47 per cent, Greens at 14 per cent and B.C. Conservatives at 5 per cent.

That poll also shows that a majority believe the B.C. Liberals are arrogant -- 64 per cent -- and dishonest -- 52 per cent.

Hansen and Premier Gordon Campbell should do the right thing -- withdraw the HST.

But don't count on it.

How to join the fight

Meanwhile, please keep signing the petition by checking the
Fight HST website regularly for new signing locations and be patient -- the demand is overwhelming.

And join my
NO BC HST Facebook group, which now has over 133,000 members, for more information and debate!


UPDATE from Monday's BC Legislature Question Period


I just have to share this priceless exchange between NDP MLA Mike Farnworth and BC Liberal Finance Minister Colin Hansen about the government's failure to publish a comprehensive list of what goods and services would be subject to an additional 7% tax because of the HST. This is from the draft Hansard Blues:

* * * * *

M. Farnworth: You know, really what it comes down to is that the Minister of Finance is mad. He's mad at Bill Vander Zalm. He's mad at the NDP. He's mad at the public of British Columbia because they just won't take his word for it or the word of this government.

Will he, when he spends his millions of dollars on this mailout, do what the public wants and show a comprehensive list of everything that is going to go up because of this government's HST agenda? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. C. Hansen: It's actually pretty simple for the member to figure out.

If it's something that's not currently subject to GST today, it won't be subject to the additional 7 percent of the HST.

In addition to that, there is a whole list of goods and things that are on the website which are currently subject to the GST but which will not be subject to the additional 7 percent.

That includes books. That includes children-sized clothing. It includes all motor fuels in British Columbia. It includes home energy costs, and it's pretty easy for the members to figure out. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

* * * * *

In other words - forget about the BC Liberals putting out a comprehensive list - they will only list things that are NOT subject to the HST - not those that are going to cost an exta 7% if the full 12% HST is applied.

Dam Gordon Campbell - Rest In Peace River!

Dam Gordon Campbell!

Just a quick comment about yesterday's ridiculously expensive BC Liberal government fly-in staging of a minor announcement - that the Site C Dam hydroelectric project is going to the next stage towards possible construction.

The name for this project is an obviously and popular one - Dam Gordon Campbell. And his rapidly dropping credibility and approval rating can then Rest In Peace River.

There are merits to building Site C - massive hydroelectric power - the cleanest and greenest of all, massive construction jobs in the north - and there are real problems to overcome - environmental and First Nations concerns.

It's also obvious that if this is going to be a Public-Private-Partnership or P3 and be a non-union project to pay off the BC Liberals financial supporters, it's going to be a bad, bad deal for British Columbians.

But the biggest worry I have is that this is a way for the public - taxpayers - to subsidize Independent Power Producers - IPPs - to an even more outrageous degree than the already terrible amount we're giving them today.

[To see how bad that is, read Will McMartin's excellent story in The Tyee about the profit rates of some of the IPPs operating in BC.]

How could that happen? If Site C - Dam Gordon Campbell provides the BC Hydro power the province needs, the IPPs can export their electricity to American markets - with taxpayers and Hydro ratepayers subsidizing the entire enterprise and the IPPs laughing all the way to the bank!

Now that's making an already bad situation even worse, way worse.

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Another Basi-Virk pre-trial hearing today - another hearing the publication ban prohibits reporting on it

Today at 10 a.m. in BC Supreme Court there will be another pre-trial hearing in the Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid case - it's open to the public and media but no one can print or broadcast anything said there - because of Justice Anne MacKenzie's publication ban.

To make matters worse, I was aware of the hearing because I attended the previous one on March 29, where it was scheduled, but could not report that until now, when the BC Supreme Court website announced the hearing was on.

At that hearing on March 29 I also learned about a possible hearing on April 15 - but couldn't report that.

If I know of other pre-trial hearings from being at the past one or if I learn of new hearings by attending today's session - I am prohibited from reporting that to you, faithful readers, until it's posted on the Court website.

And I can tell you what happened at these hearings until the trial concludes, not begins.

I deeply regret the nature of this publication ban but with the trial starting on May 3 there is little one can do about it.

But I may not even bother going to court - this is a rather frustrating situation.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Basi-Virk In Camera hearing yesterday - and I can't tell you what happened

There was an in-camera pre-trial hearing in the Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid case Thursday at BC Supreme Court.

That means no members of the media or the public were allowed to attend.

And if the timing and purpose of Thursday's hearing was discussed at the last pre-trial hearing on March 29, I would be prohibited by a court ordered publication ban from telling you anything about it at all until the conclusion of the trial.

Justice Anne MacKenzie's publication ban blocks any reporting of pre-trial hearings going back years to the beginning of this case until the trial is over.

Meanwhile my colleague Robin Mathews has a report about his attempts to enter the courtroom at BC Mary's blog - The Legislature Raids - which is well worth a read.

And I'll be happy to tell you all about this sometime in July when the trial has ended!

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Protest BC Liberal government cuts to Vancouver kids and schools - Sunday April 18 2 pm - John Oliver Secondary School

Please come out and oppose devastating provincial government funding cuts that will force the Vancouver Board of Education to slash its budget by $18.2 million.

This will mean program closures, the termination of hundreds of teachers and support staff and eventually school closures.

Go to Stop School Cuts for more information.



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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bill Tieleman debates the HST with corporate tax lawyer David Robertson - Friday 7:10 a.m. on CBC Radio AM 690's The Early Edition

I will be debating the HST with corporate tax lawyer David Robertson on CBC Radio's The Early Edition - AM 690 - with host Rick Cluff at 7:10 a.m. Friday - tune in!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Could former NPA one-term Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan really replace Michaelle Jean as Governor General? Yikes!

Sam Sullivan for Governor General? Heaven save us! Stephen Harper save us!

Sam Sullivan - Ian King photo


Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday April 13, 2010

This one-term mayor's Order of Canada and Conservative ties aren't enough to put him in the G-G's seat.


By Bill Tieleman


I like the fact that people underestimate me. You know, they pat me on the head and then I rip their throat out.


- Sam Sullivan

Is it remotely possible that Sam Sullivan, the most discredited Vancouver mayor in recent memory, someone rejected to run again in 2008 by his own party -- could be Canada's next Governor-General?

The Toronto Star thinks Sullivan is a front runner.

If so, heaven help us! Stephen Harper help us! Please don't replace the elegant and effective Michaƫlle Jean with Sam Sullivan!

Sullivan was the most hapless mayor this city has seen in a long time -- and we've had some real doozies.


But to recap -- Sullivan was such damaged goods that by the end of his only term as mayor Non-Partisan Association members nominated then-councilor Peter Ladner to replace him as their 2008 election candidate.


Ladner launched his campaign to unseat Sullivan by saying: "Overall I feel the mayor has lost the confidence of voters...When I'm part of a team and I see the ship headed for the rocks, I feel an obligation to change course."


The NPA agreed and dispatched Sullivan.


So would the prime minister really appoint as Canada's head of state and commander-in-chief someone who couldn't even maintain the backing of his own party members and expect him to hold this country's confidence?


Then there's Sullivan’s, shall we say, "colourful" record in office.

Helping a drug addict buy crack and bring it back to Sullivan's van to smoke so the then-city councillor could learn from the experience.


Allowing a four-month Vancouver civic workers strike to go on when every other municipality in the Lower Mainland easily settled their negotiations, leading it to be called "Sam's Strike."


Sullivan even said during the strike that resolving a dispute that took thousands of workers off the job and paralysed city operations was not his "top priority" as mayor!


To be fair, Sullivan has done some admirable work with disability issues -- which has won him the Order of Canada -- and is one reason why, along with being a westerner and having Conservative links, he may be considered. But even there controversies abound.


The Tyee discovered that five directors on the board of a non-profit society Sullivan formed didn't even know they had donated over $5,000 to the NPA.


The Nanitch Policy Society -- not a charity -- also funded some of Sullivan's efforts to defeat the ward system in a 2004 city referendum.


Sullivan refused to speak to The Tyee's Monte Paulsen at the time -- but two full years later penned a long "clarification" that does not refute the central points.


As to why Sullivan hadn't responded to interview requests or cleared up the controversy in two years, he wrote: "Hey, I was the mayor and I was busy."

All told -- and there are many more unanswered questions, such as who funded Sullivan's personal political war chest -- the one-term mayor is not the candidate Canadians want to see as governor-general.


He wasn't even the candidate his own party wanted to return as mayor.


* * * * *


Where can I sign the citizens inititiative petition started by Bill Vander Zalm against the Harmonized Sales Tax?


It's the biggest question I get -- so check the Fight HST website for locations.


Or come to St. James Community Centre at 3214 West 10th in Vancouver on Wednesday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. to hear me and Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell on the HST and sign there.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Vancouver-Point Grey anti-HST public meeting - come sign the citizens Initiative petition, hear Sue Hammell MLA, Bill Tieleman speak on HST


Vancouver Point-Grey anti-HST meeting with MLA Sue Hammell & Bill Tieleman from Fight HST - Wednesday April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. James Community Centre - 3214 West 10th Avenue at Trutch in Vancouver.

If you haven't yet signed the citizens Initiative petition to stop the Harmonized Sales Tax yet in Vancouver-Point Grey - or if you want to learn more about the negative impact of the HST - come to a special town hall meeting this Wednesday night.

I'll be speaking there and taking questions along with NDP MLA Sue Hammell - Surrey-Green Timbers and registered canvassers from Fight HST will be in attendance to get signature for the petition begun by Fight HST leader and former Premier Bill Vander Zalm.

Here's your chance to tell Gordon Campbell you don't want him to impose the harmful HST on British Columbia - right in his own home riding!

All are welcome - the event has been organized by the Vancouver-Point Grey NDP constituency association.
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Friday, April 09, 2010

BC Solicitor General Kash Heed resigns! Election Act investigation by police; BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite gets Special Prosecutor














Breaking news - BC Liberal Solicitor General Kash Heed has suddenly resigned this afternoon from cabinet because of a police investigation into possible Election Act violations in his 2009 campaign in Vancouver-Fraserview.


And a Special Prosecutor has been appointed to decide if BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite should be charged with drunk driving after the North Vancouver-Seymour MLA was pulled over and found to be intoxicated at the wheel February 23. Vancouver criminal lawyer Mark Jette has been named as Special Prosecutor.

Photos - above left former NDP MLA Bernie Simpson and Kash Heed, who he endorsed in the 2009 election; above right, BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite

Public Eye Online's Sean Holman is reporting exclusively this afternoon that police are investigating "negative stuff" that was out during the 2009 provincial election in Vancouver-Fraserview - that according to an election volunteer interviewed by Holman.

Heed's "Campaign Coordinator" in the election was Barinder Sall, who describes himself as having "built a reputation as one of Canada's top strategic advisors by navigating the careers of several of the country's highest profile personalities."

Sall says he having worked "with dynamic leaders in the realms of politics, business, law enforcement, and community development, he is widely recognized as a highly effective people connector whose collaborations have an impressive record of success."

Sall says he has worked "closely" with Kash Heed, Liberal Member of Parliament and former NDP Premier Ujjal Dosanjh, former federal Liberal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal and former Attorney General Wally Oppal. Sall says he attended the Harvard JFK School of Government with former U.S. Secretary of State General Colin Powell.

Sall has worked previously as Oppal's Ministerial Assistant and as former constituency assistant to ex-Vancouver-Fraserview Liberal backbencher Ken Johnston.

During the campaign Heed's election opponent, New Democratic Party candidate Gabriel Yiu, complained publicly that Heed was featured in photos wearing his West Vancouver Police Chief's uniform. Yiu said that was a violation of the Code of Professional Conduct Regulation for police officers, a criticism brushed off by Sall, acting as Heed's spokesperson.

RCMP Inspector Tim Shields said late today that RCMP are investigating an Elections Act of BC offence allegedly involving Kash Heed's campaign office and that "more than one person [is] potentially involved".

The investigation came after a complaint was originally made to Elections BC, Shields said.

"I am confident that I have done nothing wrong," Heed said today. "It is my sincere hope that this matter is concluded as quickly as possible." Heed says he is cooperating fully with the investigation.

Lawyer Terry Robertson has been appointed as independent Special Prosecutor in the Heed case. Premier Gordon Campbell has appointed Attorney General Mike de Jong to replace Heed at least temporarily.


Two former BC Liberal Solicitor Generals have previously been forced to resign also - John Les remains under investigation over allegations regarding his former role as Mayor of Chilliwack while John van Dongen resigned after it was disclosed he had a lengthy record of speeding tickets and a four-month driving suspension.

UPDATE - All attention is now focused on the distribution of an allegedly unauthorized flyer severely and slanderously attacking the NDP during the final days of the campaign to households in the riding.

Dwaine Martin, campaign manager to NDP candidate Gabriel Yiu, tells the Province's Mike Smyth that they were "precision slimed" with a leaflet saying the NDP would impose a death tax, legalize heroin, cocaine and prostitution and force seniors to live in slums - with photo illustrations and written in both Chinese and English.


MORE AS IT BECOME AVAILABLE

Here is Heed's resignation statement released today:

For Immediate Release

April 9, 2010

STATEMENT FROM SOLICITOR GENERAL KASH HEED

Solicitor General issued the following statement today:

VICTORIA - "On March 24 I was informed by the RCMP that they were investigating alleged Elections Act violations pertaining to a 2009 Vancouver-Fraserview provincial election campaign. At that time I was informed that I was not a subject of that investigation and that I may be interviewed as a witness. I understand that the deputy to the Premier, informed the Premier of this fact on March 26.

On late Tuesday evening, April 6, while I was out of the country, I was informed that the investigation was evolving and the RCMP would want to interview me to determine if I had any role in the allegations. On Wednesday, I informed the Premier of that development.

Upon returning to Vancouver on Wednesday, out of an abundance of caution, I immediately obtained a lawyer to engage the RCMP on my behalf and to establish the facts that were appropriate for me to know and to ascertain what was expected of me to help me make the appropriate decision for my office.

On Wednesday, my lawyer called the criminal justice branch to determine if a special prosecutor had been appointed and he subsequently advised me that a special prosecutor has been appointed in this investigation.

Today I have concluded, out of the respect and regard for the office of Solicitor General of British Columbia and to ensure the continued integrity of that office, that the appropriate action is to step aside pending the outcome of this investigation. I have spoken with the Premier and he has accepted my decision.

Over my 30-year career in law enforcement and public service I have prided myself on putting the public interest first and acting with the utmost integrity. It is with that in mind that I have chosen to step aside.

I am confident that I have done nothing wrong. I fully support the RCMP's efforts and will be co-operating fully with the investigation.

It is my sincere hope that this matter is concluded as quickly as possible. I will continue to represent my constituents as the MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview.

Until all aspects of this ongoing matter are complete, I will not be commenting further on the substance of the investigation as that would be inappropriate."

Kash Heed will be available to speak to media this afternoon:

Time: 3:45 p.m.

Location:

MLA Kash Heed's constituency office
3158 East 54th Avenue
Vancouver

Media Contact:

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Public Affairs Bureau


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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Blogger problems posting comments

UPDATE - Blogger is working normally now and comments are being published as usual

Thursday I posted this comment and will leave it up, as others indicate they are having problems.

THURSDAY APRIL 8 - Unfortunately Blogger is having some serious problems allowing comments to be posted - I have a number waiting but cannot publish them - hopefully this will be resolved shortly - please be patient.

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New Brunswick rejects Harmonized Sales Tax increase


New Brunswick Liberal government, Convervative opposition rule out increasing Harmonized Sales Tax rate

The Canadian Press is reporting today that both the Liberal government and Conservative opposition say they will not increase that province's HST a day after the Nova Scotia NDP government hiked its HST from 13% to 15%.

New Brunswick’s finance minister Greg Byrne: "The government of Nova Scotia has made a decision on how they will deal with their fiscal situation and best stimulate their economy. New Brunswick has adopted a different approach,"

"As a matter of fact, we are doing all we can to make New Brunswick the most competitive tax jurisdiction that we can," he said. "We believe that is the way to stimulate investment and to grow the economy."

NB Conservative Leader David Alward also says if elected his party will not raise the tax.

"The last thing that I think needs to take place is that we raise taxes," he said. "Keeping taxes lower for New Brunswickers and for businesses creates opportunity and creates prosperity."

NDP leader Roger Duguay has not yet commented on the HST issue.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Peace River North 1/2 way to petition goal in 1 day! Nearly 600 at Fight HST Initiative launch with Vander Zalm, Delaney &Tieleman

Thanks to all who could attend - a great launch to the Fight HST citizens Initiative Tuesday night with nearly 600 people coming out to Kitsilano Secondary in Vancouver-Point Grey to hear from former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm, ex-Unity Party leader Chris Delaney and myself.

You can see clips on YouTube for Bill Vander Zalm and Bill Tieleman by clicking on the links on each name.

More on this later but it was a faaaaaantastic start to a wild 90 day campaign that will rock the province and hopefully block the HST!



And now we're hearing great news out of Peace River North - where volunteers for Fight HST have already got more than half the signatures needed for the Initiative in JUST ONE DAY!


See Fight HST news release below:


NEWS RELEASE

April 7, 2010

FIGHT HST INITIATIVE PETITION FIRST DAY LAUNCH EXCEEDS ALL EXPECTATIONS

Vancouver – Bill Vander Zalm’s Fight HST Citizen Initiative petition launch yesterday exceeded all expectations for first day sign ups, says the former BC premier.

Elections BC would only issue the petitions on April 6th, so the first day was spent madly rushing to print and get petitions into the hands of canvassers. However, despite the challenges, thousands of signatures were gathered at several locations throughout the province, with Ft. St. John taking the prize with over 1,800 sign ups in one day – a new provincial record.

Alvin Stedel, Regional Organizer for The Peace, said they started at 8:00am yesterday and weren’t able to leave until 10:30pm when the deluge of voters slowed enough to do a final tally. They ended the day with a total of 1,820 signatures – over half the amount required for the North Peace’s overall petition target of 3,387 signatures representing 15% of registered voters there.

“We were very pleased, and expect to reach our targets in both the North and South Peace within a couple of weeks here,’ said Stedel.

Vander Zalm says the kick off meeting in Point Grey was also a huge success. There, over 475 people signed the petition for the premier’s home riding, and joined hundreds more to pack the Auditorium of Kitsilano High School to hear speeches on how the Citizen Initiative petition strategy will work to defeat the HST.

“We were able to gather 10% of the required signatures for Point Grey in just one day! Once our troops get their petitions distributed to them and begin knocking on doors, we will increase that number dramatically in the next 89 days of the petition period,” Vander Zalm explained.

Vander Zalm says similar results will happen in other areas of the province once canvassers receive their petitions and are able to begin knocking on doors and taking signatures.

“Point Grey and Fort St. John are just the tip of the ice berg. These ridings, as far apart geographically and demographically as you can find in BC, prove that the desire on the part of all British Columbians to get rid of this hated sales tax is both wide and deep,” Vander Zalm concluded.

The Citizen Initiative to repeal the HST requires the signatures of 10% of registered voters in all 85 electoral districts in BC to be successful. Fight HST is targeting 15% or better in each riding to ensure a safe margin of victory. Signature gathering by canvassers will take place mostly on evenings and weekends, with some central location sign-ups planned for each region.

BC Liberals HST Legislation is "longest political suicide note in history"

What the BC Liberals don't want you to know about the disastrous HST - find out and what you can do about it tonight - Kits Secondary 7:30 p.m.!

Bill Tieleman speaks at Fight HST rally - Sept. 19-09 Vancouver

BC Liberals write 'Political Suicide Note' with HST legislation

Fight HST launches campaign Tuesday April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Kitsilano Secondary School with former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm, Chris Delaney, Bill Tieleman

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/
The Tyee column

Tuesday April 6, 2010

What Premier Campbell won't tell you about the disastrous HST. How to help stop it.

By Bill Tieleman

"We do not support harmonization because of the $400-million burden of taxes that is going to go from business to consumers in this province and we think that's entirely inappropriate."


Given that Premier Gordon Campbell didn't tell you he would jam an HST down your throat before last year's election -- even telling the restaurant and development industries in writing that the B.C. Liberals would not do that -- it's important British Columbians know the facts.

And you can hear them for yourself tonight, Tuesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. when I speak at a town hall meeting at Kitsilano Secondary School at 2550 West Tenth Ave. and Larch Street in Vancouver, featuring former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm and ex-Unity Party leader Chris Delaney to launch the
Fight HST citizens initiative to stop the HST.

But here's what you haven’t heard, certainly not from the B.C. Liberals.

Why a right-wing party rejected HST

First, the right-wing Saskatchewan Party government last month strongly rejected the idea of an HST because the HST's enormous tax hit would flatten consumers while transferring all the extra money raised to big business.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall made that
clear last August: "You know in an election campaign in 2007, I was asked about harmonization and I said that we wouldn't be going in that direction if we were elected... we don't think it's right."

That's refreshing to British Columbians, a premier who tells voters the truth both before and after an election -- and keeps his word.

Maybe that explains why Wall has a 56 per cent approval rating in Saskatchewan while Campbell only has the approval of 23 per cent of British Columbians, according to a recent Angus Reid Public Opinion
poll, barely ahead of Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty's 21 per cent.

Hmmm. The popular Wall rejects the HST while the unpopular Campbell and McGuinty are about to impose a hated new tax on July 1 -- coincidence?

A left-wing party rejects HST, too

Second, Manitoba's left-of-centre New Democratic Party government has also ruled out the HST for the
same reasons.

And while the B.C. Liberal government only produced a
study of the impact of the HST a full eight months after announcing it would be imposed -- and it was a 13-page paper by a known HST supporter saying jobs would be created over ten years -- Manitoba actually researched the issue before making a decision, something unheard of here.

Its
report concludes that if the HST were adopted: "Manitoba would impose $405 million in additional sales taxes on families, increasing their share of the sales tax burden to 86 from 54 per cent."

Said Rosann Wowchuk, Manitoba's finance minister: "With the global recession causing so much economic uncertainty for Manitoba families, we don't think it makes sense to impose $405 million in new sales taxes. We are not prepared to risk the economic recovery by undermining Manitoba's growing consumer confidence."

It's worth noting that Jack Mintz, the professor who produced B.C.'s slim report for $12,000, and also produced a similar study for Ontario, previously said two years ago that introducing the HST would actually
cost Ontario 38,000 jobs.

$2 billion annual taxes shifted to consumers

So, both a right and left wing government reject the HST for exactly the same reasons -- because an HST will dramatically shift taxes from big business onto consumers, causing an economic disaster at the worst possible time.

For British Columbians, that means consumers will pay an extra $2 billion a year in order to give that same amount of money to large corporations.

You likely have heard, because B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen and others keep repeating it, that three Atlantic provinces have done just fine since introducing the HST there in 1997.

But what Hansen doesn't tell you is that the sales tax in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick actually dropped when the HST came in -- while in B.C. it will
rise on hundreds of goods and services!

Newfoundland's sales tax went from 19 per cent to 15 per cent initially and later to 13 per cent, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick's went from 18.7 per cent to 15 per cent initially and later to 13 per cent.

So for those Atlantic Canadians, the HST meant a significant tax cut, not a painful increase.

But in B.C., when the seven per cent Provincial Sales Tax is combined with the five per cent GST to apply a new 12 per cent HST tax, it will be levied on consumer goods and services like restaurant food that were not previously subject to the seven per cent PST.

And you probably haven't heard that Saskatchewan briefly adopted the HST in 1991 and -- after the defeat of the Conservative government which introduced it -- the new NDP government of Premier Roy Romanow
rescinded it immediately.

This is no 'done deal'

Lastly, a lot of political commentators and HST supporters are telling British Columbians the HST is a "done deal" and that the citizens initiative process led by Vander Zalm will either fail or won't work because it isn't binding on the government.

Wrong on all counts.

The initiative, first championed in this column on
Aug. 18, 2009 as one way to fight the HST, has a real chance of success.

The
Fight HST volunteer campaign -- which I am part of -- has nearly 5,000 canvassers signed up to take signatures. And my NO BC HST Facebook protest group has over 131,000 members to draw recruits from.

It is a difficult process to obtain the signatures of ten per cent of all registered voters in every one of B.C.'s 85 ridings -- but not impossible at all.

It is not, unfortunately, binding on the government.

But consider this -- 77 per cent of British Columbians oppose the HST according to the most recent polling. And that's before the tax even starts taking money out of their wallets and purses.

Any government that imposes policies strongly opposed by an overwhelming majority of voters is likely to be removed from office.

Think of federal Conservatives after forcing the GST onto Canadians and going from a majority government under prime minister Brian Mulroney to only two seats in the next election.

'Longest political suicide note in BC history'

As NDP MLA Leonard Krog quipped last week, the 213-section and nearly 100-page HST legislation introduced by the B.C. Liberals is
"the longest political suicide note in provincial history."

With the Orwellian and misleading title the
Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act, the B.C. Liberals' Bill 9 may go down as Gordon Campbell's electoral version of Little Big Horn.

In November, B.C. voters can start the
recall process against MLAs who supported the HST -- and they'll have had five months of paying the HST to give them an incentive.

So will the most obvious and simple political calculations cause Campbell to listen to public opinion and cancel the HST?

We'll soon see, but one thing is clear. If the B.C. Liberals win the HST battle to impose the new 12 per cent tax, they will surely lose the political war that it has sparked.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Allen Garr, Virginia Weiler win seats on VanCity Credit Union Board of Directors


Congratulations to Allen Garr and Virgina Weiler on their election to the VanCity Credit Union board of directors!

The two Action Team candidates were successful in the elections that ended last month.

Virginia was re-elected and Garr - columnist with the Vancouver Courier - will serve his first term as a director.
Heather Tremain ran a good campaign also but finished just out of the running for the top three spots. I was pleased to endorse all three.

Congratulations also to Bob Williams, who was re-elected, and thanks to Doreen Braverman, an incumbent who was not re-elected, for her years of service to VanCity.

If you are a member please attend the VanCity Annual General Meeting on Tuesday April 20 at the Italian Cultural Centre at 3075 Slocan Street, Vancouver, BC. Doors open at 6:15 p.m., and the meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fight HST launch citizens Initiative petition April 6 - former Premier Bill Vander Zalm in Premier Gordon Campbell's riding of Vancouver Point Grey

Lillian and Bill Vander Zalm with Bill Tieleman at September 19, 2009 rally in Vancouver against the Harmonized Sales Tax - never anger the Dutch!

Former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm will launch the Fight HST citizens Initiative petition campaign to stop the Harmonized Sales Tax in BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey on Tuesday April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Kitsilano Secondary School, 2550 West 10th Avenue at Larch Street.

The public rally April 6 marks the beginning of the 90 days Fight HST has to collect the signatures of 10% of registered BC voters in each of the province’s 85 constituencies for the Initiative petition to be accepted by Elections BC, says Fight HST Lead Organizer Chris Delaney.

Vander Zalm says it was important to launch the campaign right in Premier Gordon Campbell’s own riding to send a clear message to the BC Liberal government.

“British Columbians don’t want Premier Campbell’s HST – not even in his own riding,” said Vander Zalm. “If Premier Campbell and the BC Liberal MLAs don’t listen to the people and drop the HST, he and his party are finished.”


Vander Zalm says he is confident British Columbians will make the Initiative a smashing success after drawing huge crowds as he toured across the province over the past two weeks.

“British Columbians are fed up with the HST and fed up with the undemocratic way Premier Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen are imposing a tax after promising they wouldn’t do it,” said Vander Zalm. “This citizens Initiative petition is the people’s chance to tell Premier Gordon Campbell they want him to drop the HST – and demand that he drop it.”

“The HST is the most hated tax ever because it is a cruel tax that takes money out of people’s pockets but doesn’t put a dime into healthcare, education or important services,” said Vander Zalm.

In addition to Vander Zalm, speakers at the rally will include Delaney and FIGHT HST Strategist Bill Tieleman, founder of the NO BC HST Facebook protest group with over 131,000 members.

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