Friday, August 26, 2011

VICTORY OVER HST! YES to Extinguish the HST wins referendum vote!

The Winners!  Today at noon - Fight HST celebrates victory!  From left, Chris Delaney, Bill Tieleman, Bill Vander Zalm, Kelly Carson, Lillian Vander Zalm.  Not visible here - Sal Vetro & Rick Dignard.
Bill Tieleman and Bill Vander Zalm

Chris Delaney and Bill Tieleman

We are all so thrilled with the strong YES vote to Extinguish the HST!

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard for so long to get this result - it was tough but well worth it!

I'll have more to say here soon but today we celebrate a victory for democracy and the end of an unfair tax imposed on British Columbians.

You can find full results of the 54.73% YES vote, including riding by riding results, at this Elections BC page.

And here is Fight HST's news release on the big win today:

News Release                                                     Friday August 26, 2011                    


Bill Vander Zalm says citizens David beat HST Goliath in mismatched battle

VANCOUVER – British Columbians’ rejection of the Harmonized Sales Tax in today’s binding referendum is historic and a victory for the people and for democracy in BC, says Bill Vander Zalm, the former BC premier who leads Fight HST, the grassroots group that fought the tax.

“British Columbians have not only rejected an unfair tax but they have also sent a message to not just the BC Liberal government but all governments in Canada – do not break your word to voters after you get elected, “ Vander Zalm said.

“The BC Liberals thought they could get away with imposing the HST after promising not to before the May 2009 election – we proved them wrong twice,” Vander Zalm said. 

“We organized the first successful citizens Initiative petition in Canadian history to force a referendum, gathering 705,643 voter signatures in less than 90 days from every one of BC’s 85 ridings.”

“Then we were outspent by up to 100 to 1 but still defeated a combined government and big business advertising campaign using TV, radio, newspaper, telephone and Internet worth between $15 and $30 million that was intended to mislead voters.”

“This has truly been a David versus Goliath battle and today the giant HST has been slain,” Vander Zalm said. “It is an enormous victory for the citizens of BC and for democracy.”

Vander Zalm said it is now urgent that the BC Liberal government quickly bring an end to the HST that shifted a $2 billion tax burden onto consumers and off big business by adding an extra 7% tax onto services and hundreds of items not previously subject to the Provincial Sales Tax.

“British Columbians are cancelling major purchases because the HST added costs of tens of thousands of dollars – to items like home repairs and renovations and new homes.  The BC Liberal provincial government and federal Conservative government must repeal the HST as fast as possible because it is hurting the BC economy,” Vander Zalm said.

Vander Zalm said he expects the BC government to refuse to take responsibility for its own actions when it imposed the HST after the May 2009 election and instead paint a picture of economic doom and gloom.

“The reality is that the BC Liberals looked for a quick fix to their massively out of control deficit in 2009 and refused to honestly tell voters about our financial problems,” Vander Zalm said.  “Premier Christy Clark should learn from former Premier Gordon Campbell’s mistakes and consult with voters about BC’s finances and seek a consensus, not make rash decisions in anger at the rejection of the HST.”

“The BC government needs to skilfully negotiate an end to the HST that takes place quickly and reduces costs to the province for this ill-fated mistake,” he said. “The $1.6 billion ‘grant’ from Ottawa to impose the HST should be pro-rated for the period of time this tax was in place, consideration must be given for the $ 30,000,000 + per month the federal government collected in income taxes since the hst refunds to business became a taxable item, and the excess tax revenue BC is collecting from what it claimed was a ‘revenue neutral’ tax should be more than enough to cover any money Ottawa is owed after the negotiations.

Fight HST Lead Organizer, Chris Delaney said the Referendum result would have been even greater vote for the YES side had Premier Clark kept her promise to fund both sides equally and had spending limits been kept in place as it was for the Initiative process.  As it was, our $250,000 less the $25,000 we had to pay in HST out of that, was no match for the estimated $25,000,000 spent by government and big business.

Delaney says a precedent has been set with the HST Referendum: “No government, no matter what their political stripe, can ever again create a new tax, expand the tax base, or indeed implement a significant new policy without first obtaining the people’s permission through either an election or a referendum. The people have spoken, and voters on both sides of the issue agree – you must consult us first.”

“People can debate whether the HST is a good tax or a bad tax, but there was no debate about whether we should have a Referendum or a more robust democracy. That is perhaps the greatest achievement of this whole exercise,” said Delaney.

Fight HST Strategist Bill Tieleman said the defeat of the HST is a victory for both consumers and businesses negatively affected by the HST: “The HST hurts people who can least afford it. Extinguishing the HST will stimulate the economy as consumers begin spending again.”
Tieleman added that despite winning the vote, Fight HST will continue to call for an independent inquiry into the referendum process in order to find improvements for future ballots.
“Too many people did not get their ballots, despite being on the voters list, despite requesting ballots from Elections BC before the deadline,” Tieleman said.  “We want to see a much better process for the next referendum because no one should be denied their democratic rights and we know there will be referenda in the future.”

Vander Zalm said the victory belongs to the people of BC, but most especially to the tens of thousands of volunteers who gave their time, talent and treasure on the Initiative petition that led to the history making referendum result.
“We thank each and every one of you for your tireless efforts in collecting signatures, distributing pamphlets, telling people about the issue, hosting town halls, driving around town on your own fuel to help organize. This is your day for a well deserved celebration!”

Vander Zalm also thanked the other Fight HST Board of Directors and organizers who worked tirelessly for months to coordinate the entire project.
“I want to personally express my deep appreciation for the incredible dedication of the people on our board: Sal Vetro, who took care of all of our printing and logistics for the entire province; Corisa Bell who organized all our volunteers across the province during the referendum; Cheryl Baron who organized the captains and thousands of canvassers during the Initiative petition; Rainer Schmoll who built and maintained our indispensible web site; Kelly Carson for her determined fighting; Rick Dignard for his hard work and excellent advice; Jon Peters for his loyal support; and Patricia Storey and Jennifer Strelive for their superb skills as our Financial Agents. Thank you!”

Vander Zalm says he expects the BC government to wind down the HST quickly and return to the PST as it was with the same exemptions as before.
“All the bluffing and threatening is over now. It’s time to respect the will of the electorate and obey the results of the legally binding Referendum and move on. Democracy itself demands it,” Vander Zalm concluded.


Earlier blog post:

Waiting for the results of the Harmonized Sales Tax referendum vote today - more than two years after Bill Vander Zalm, Chris Delaney and I founded Fight HST with a great group of people from every political persuasion.

More than 7,000 volunteers worked for the citizens Initiative petition; 705,643 signatures were gathered from British Columbians in less than 90 days in every one of 85 BC ridings - the first ever successful Initiative in Canadian history.

Here's hoping for a clear victory for the YES side and for democracy today!

Thanks to all who have supported us.



Anonymous said...

The BC people appreciate the HST team. All of you worked so hard for us.

The BC citizens had no protection from Campbell and his Liberals. They forced the HST on the people during this recession. BC citizens were losing their jobs, homes, vehicles and everything they had.

Now we have Christy and the BC Liberals, following Campbell's exact footsteps. BC is a province of natural resources. the HST does absolutely nothing for the people. Besides which, the HST goes directly to Harper, who was in on the HST scam.

We know the BC people, do not want the HST. However, we have no faith in Craig James, of Elections BC. He is not trustworthy either. He is totally, a biased pro Liberal.

Kim said...

Regardless of the outcome, Bill, I'd like to take a moment to thank you for spearheading this campaign. Without you and your facebook page, we may never have gotten off the ground. A proud footsoldier, Kim

Anonymous said...

Let's hope there aren't obnxious winners.

And to those who figured BC is a dictatorship. It isn't. There would be NO repeat NO referendum if BC was a dictatorship.

As for Craig James, remember the Selection Committee also included two NDP members who assented to his appointment (there was NO contest regarding his credentials from the NDP participants).

Gary E said...

We Won. Period. Now get rid of it ASAP

Bill and Dot Bell said...

Job well done Bill! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Congrats and thanks to you and the other British Columbians who worked so hard, Bill.

DPL said...

The vote pleases so many of us. The guy who caused the mess, left the local area to be a rep. in England , given the job by Harpo.

The people spoke.

Anonymous said...

The problem I still have with this whole situation is that the concept of collecting one tax was a good one, just not the way it was done. I don't want to be going back to the "old" PST, GST system, but rather would like to see a better designed single tax system.

AND I want the ability to vote for or against what has been designed.

Robert Ballantyne said...

Congratulations Bill. Job well done!

Anonymous said...

The people spoke.

and the bloggers vomited pixels.

Anonymous said...

Not a victory at all. Look out for a long negotiation process with CRA. The repayment of $1.6B is gonna hurt most of you. And lookout for and increase PST to 9% and GST of 5% for a combo of 14%. Sound familiar? It was 14% not too long ago,

Anonymous said...

The vote pleases so many of us

Including those bloggers here that kept continually calling BC a dictatorship? If it were, there would not be any referendum.

Anonymous said...

It is a yes. I would like to thank you, you do have an informative blog, and The Fight HST team including the ZALM who never lowered the price of beer for the working man.
But the win here is even more of a victory.

Anonymous said...

Not a victory at all. Look out for a long negotiation process with CRA.

There wouldn't be any long negotiation process with CRA. It would just be reimplementation of what existed before.

As for the payback to the feds, it would more than likely be in the form of reduced transfer payments to BC.

So what happens next? More blogger whining and complaining for the next 18 months during the transition process??

Anonymous said...

We Won. Period. Now get rid of it ASAP

It will be gone in 18 months, not 18 hours, 18 days or 18 weeks.

Be patient. This is what you wanted, and got it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to each and every one of you that gave their time and energy to defeat this corrupt piece of Legislation.
The message sent today to each and every Liberal MLA that supported misleading before, during and after the introduction of the Hstm is that we will not tolerate such corrupt representation by our elected Members.
That goes for Mr. McCrae my MLA in particular.
Are you all listening?
If you are not, start dusting off your resumes.

Grant G said...

Congratulations from your friendly neighborhood Powell River Persuader.

"Don`t mess with the Baldies"

Have a little champagne for me Bill.

Good Day

Bill P said...

Meanwhile. BC Rail simmers in the background.The Hydro/IPP/smartmeters debacle is roasting nicely, BC Ferries is browning on the grill and soon you can pay to cross bridges........the Liberal slop/soup is overdone.
One victory but a lot of war to still wage.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I will very much enjoy paying higher taxes in the long run thanks to you, and short minded individuals who cannot understand the bigger picture.

Thanks for screwing my generation!

Anonymous said...

It didn't take Campbell, Hansen and Harper that long, to force the HST scam on us. 2013 to switch back, good grief!! Harper, Campbell and Hansen, had the HST in action, within 90 days.

As far as the BC Liberals go, we never ever have had, any good expectations from them, for over ten years now. Campbell twice lied to the people, to be re-elected for two different elections. He thieved our assets and sold them.

Not one of the BC Liberal ministers, or the mla's, lifted a finger to stop Campbell's insanity.
They willingly allowed Campbell's thieving corruption, to destroy our province

cherylb said...

Hey Anonymous 2:46 - You're thanking the wrong people. We didn't screw your generation. It was Gordo and the BC Lieberals with their arrogance, incompetence and fiscal irresponsibility. Get it right please!

It's a proud day to be British Columbian. Way to go people!

Bill P said...

Anonymous Anonymous said... Thanks, I will very much enjoy paying higher taxes in the long run thanks to you, and short minded individuals who cannot understand the bigger picture.

Thanks for screwing my generation!

Friday, 26 August, 2011 2:46:00 PM PDT

Your welcome for SAVING your generation, although you may be too short sighted to see the bigger picture of democracy yet.

bewlay said...

$1.6 billion dollars, did they spend it all already? Sure says a lot about the so-called fiscally responsible political party if they did.

Anonymous said...

Here come the pink slips. Enjoy your EI until it runs out. Lots of businesses will be heading east now. Typical BCers. Too much drugs makes the brain dumb. Oh well, when your rich, it makes no difference. The next generation is screwed.

Winthorpe said...

From Ontario, we thank you!!!! Bye bye BC film industry. Bye bye ship building contract. Bye bye any type of manufacturing. Oh well, BC you can continue to smoke your week. Obviously majority of the population does.

Henri said...

Anonymous ...Friday, 26 August
2011 2:46:00 PM PDT
Listen you clueless Liberal, not happy about the anti HST majority vote ,you want the HST, move, leave, go back east there's more than enough HST to go around you.

Ron1 said...

Well done, Bill.

We fought to oust Idle Chong here in Oak Bay-Gordon Head but lost howver keeping the issue alive has paid off.

It is a victory for the people.

Why will it take a year and a half to re-introduce the GST?

Geoff said...

A victory for democracy? Only 29% of registered voters (55% of 52%) voted to scrap the HST. When less than a third of the province - virtually none of them tax experts - gets to decide a major tax policy for all of us, I do not call this a victory for democracy. I call this a victory for propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill from the bottom of my heart! You are a patriot and a great man. Your work will benefit generations of British Columbians.

Now lets hold the scoundrels to their promise. We know they will try to weasel and renege at every opportunity. Keep the pressure on the crooks everyone!

Anonymous said...

Geoff said...

"A victory for democracy?... I call this a victory for propaganda."

If that were the case Gordon Campbell would still be premier.

You do realize that the no side neocons spent 15 million dollars trying to bully the population into fearing what harper might do to us if we disobey his will? 5 million of that was tax payer money that could have gone into hospitals, education,... 10 million was corporate cash (which is questionable in terms of legality)

The yes side - which was grass roots thank you - spent about 1/100th of the pro-hst tycoons.

Ken in Victoria said...

I wish to thank all voters who did vote. To those that did not vote. Please, do not complain as to the result. For those that did spent their valuable time to vote, I thank you. Finally, I must give a shout out toi all that played an active role, Large or small. The sum of the total is the addition of all the parts. The public faces of FightHST were more convincing that the faceless and clueless Sick Strick men, Let destroy the baby smart meters. Fix Hydro, BC ferries BC rail sitution and what else the stupid liberals are up. Is not an election in order. Then all voters can decide. I have more comments to add later. Cheers!Ken a very happpy young man at the Empress Hotel. The Jaguar Room.

Anonymous said...

The Tea Party is alive, well and living in British Columbia! The next time any elected government in this province-- be they Liberals, NDP or Greens-- opts to increase taxes, either on business or the individual, we can all take great comfort in knowing that Bill Vander Zalm, Bill Tieleman, Chris Delaney and others of their ilk will be ready to step into the breech and visit referendums on those who have the temerity to increase taxes and do the electorate harm.

Anonymous said...

Geoff said...

"A victory for democracy? Only 29% of registered voters (55% of 52%) voted to scrap the HST."

Even less voted for the BC Liberals.

DPL said...

Looks like the PAB is working hard today. The BS they spread is so obvious. How did we all survive for those years with the GST and the PST if returning is such a bad things??BC has been throwing away its resources since Gordo and Gang showed up. It will be interesting to get the truth on so many things those people did to hurt us. Gordo gets a fancy job, away from here, we get to pay for the visions that clown used to get and push into law. The revenue neutral HST brought in over 800 million in one year, so paying back most of the loan is doable. The stated need to keep the tax till 2013 or so , is a crock. They simply want to suck every dollar out of us that they can Congrats to those who worked so hard to get the win today. Time to celebrate folks. I'm lighting up one of my Cuban cigars as I type.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. This was a difficult and determined exercise in grassroots democracy.

No matter which side of the debate one is on, the achievement is undeniable

Paul said...

Premier Christy Clark said it's time to move on from the HST

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the HST will remain in place until 2013.

Who's really running the show?

Anonymous said...

Totally embarrassing. The hurt will only get worst. Higher taxes are coming. Lower services. Oh well. "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter"..... Winston Churchill

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone at FightHST for doing what they did to make this happen.


NeoDude said...

CONGRATULATIONS - on this historic occasion!

Good to see a few people (not many) here can see through the BS. Sorry to rain on your parade but there is no victory to celebrate, not that this will stop those fooled from "popping champagne" and "lighting cigars". We still have a broken democracy that right-wing sympathizers like Tieleman and Dignard want to keep broken. I had hoped the failure of this pointless Initiative process would lead people to a more prudent revolt. Now how long must we wait before we see how the Liberals will screw us next? They apparently have 18-24 months to figure that out - while they CONTINUE to collect HST! Wakey-wakey people. The Liberals aren't going away while you pat yourselves on the back for accomplishing nothing.

Congratulations - on the first ever successful Initiative Referendum (except of course it would have failed under Initiative Legislation). I won't deny what a monumental (though wasted) effort that was. But to apply the misnomer "victory" to this result simply demonstrates a pathetic misunderstanding of politics and human nature.

PS - Still not PAB, Pabsmear, Pablum or whatever else any responders come up with so don't bother. Just a different opinion of someone who hates the Liberals as much as anyone else here.

Anonymous said...

Somone said it best, the result is undieable, and would add precedent setting.

But then the level of debate on the subject and the means of how the result came about through this blog shows ignorance (many people calling James a fascist amongs the more polite terms), and many times a few said BC was a dictatorship.

Bill does receive congratulations, but while he started the process, he was not by any means the sole reason why the voting occured. That goes to VanderZalm. A real oxymoron as there was never any means of him responding to voter angst (and other idiotic policies he put in which also caused angst) when he was Premier.

Bill Tieleman is the Best Boy and Key Grip in this theatrical production. Bill VanderZalm is the actor.

But alas let the whining continue.

There's something just as bad as a sore loser.

An obnoxious whiny winner.

Anonymous said...

BC was dead last, at the bottom of the pile. of all the western provinces. All the HST provinces are failing. The HST or VAT country's are dead in the water, belly-up.

You would have to be as brain dead as Martyn Brown, not to see the damage the HST has done to this province.

BC has been shedding jobs, since the HST was brought in. Even in June, the start of summer, BC lost 12,000 jobs. Stats Canada named all the provinces, that had gained jobs. BC didn't even get an honorable mention. This province gained, NO jobs, we lost jobs instead.

I got a call from my house insurance agent. I was told my insurance had gone up $165.00 from last year. I was shocked and very angry. They said, materials to repair homes, had gone way up, because of the HST. This outrageous tax, has a very long arm. The HST has put the cost of living sky high.

All that "trickled" down from big business was, we gave them money for bigger bonuses, reno's to their places of business, and new vehicles.

Campbell thieved and sold our assets. He gave himself a, $60,000 per year salary hike. Ida Chong ate her way through, $6.000 of food, for her fine dining. BC has over 131,000 children living in poverty. BC still has the lowest minimum wage in Canada. Because of Campbell, BC is the most corrupt province in Canada.

Christy had the opportunity, to clean up Campbell's garbage. Instead she added to it.

Where is the hell, were the BC Liberals logistics? BC citizens were taxed to death already. And, they add the HST during a recession? Not only that. Price gouging in BC is rampant. There were no price controls. Gasoline prices are asinine. Food costs have gone, out into to orbit. ANOTHER carbon tax hike. Campbell thieved and sold our rivers. Our hydro cost will go up to, 53% higher.

BC has lost billions of dollars, by people shopping in the U.S., Alberta and on line. BC citizens are using the underground.

The HST was designed for big business. The intent was never for the citizens benefit. The HST was to thieve from the people, for the benefit to big business.

The demise of this province, rests solely on the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals and Harper. The Liberal ministers and mla's, sat by and watched Campbell working for Harper. They allowed Campbell to completely destroy this province. Now Harper rewarded Campbell a very cushy position. While he left one hell of a mess, for the to-day BC Liberals, and the people.

off-the-radar said...

Hello Bill,
really wanted to thank you for your leadership working with Bill Vanderzalm and Chris Delayney.

It's been a incredible journey over the past two years defying all the odds, from your facebook page, to thousands of volunteers getting a minimum of 10% of registered voters in EVERY riding in the province, an almost impossible task.

The mainstream media said it couldn't be done; the BC Liberals couldn't even be bothered to register as opponents.

And now here we are, two years later, with the HST defeated.

Despite relentless pro-HST propaganda from mainstream media, government and "independent" panels, despite Craig James,it was ordinary citizens and bloggers who figured out the truth: this was a massive tax shift onto the backs of British Columbians while we are still getting hit with increased fees, rising costs, slashed services and fewer jobs; and who defeated the HST.

Not that the vested big business interests are respecting the results. Today they're talking about coming up with another version of HST, the "son of HST", a fairer HST. And lots of comments about how stupid BC citizens were to vote out the HST.

Wow, they just don't get it. We live in a democracy, not a plutocracy.

Thank you for making a difference to this province.

Jack Layton was right, it's better to believe, to dream, to hope and to work together than to live in cynicism and despair. And ordinary people are way smarter than the self-serving elites.

It is so inspiring to see democracy in action.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know which BC Liberal ridings voted against the HST?

I've heard speculation that this is why crusty will defer the election as long as she can...

Anonymous said...

This is a sad day, not only for Bc's NDP, but for evyone. We are now thrust headlong into T-party politics. Taxation should never be done by referendum. That is not good governance.Taxes need to be raised to deal with infrastructure and other issues. The is far too much discretionary income out there. Selfish people. Me firsters. The Two Bills are a scary sight.

Gini said...

I haven't actually broken it down into Liberal/NDP ridings, but I do know that 60 ridings voted to axe the tax, and 25 voted to keep it.

That's proof enough (to me) that Christy had better rethink her 'I need a mandate from the people' idea.

Bill Tieleman said...

If you go to the link at the top of my post where it says Elections BC page - and click it you get the riding breakdown.

The 25 ridings that voted majority NO were all BC Liberal ridings.

Anonymous said...

Still a pathetic turnout for voting. The next election will be no different. It's not a guarantee who will win the next election. If you think this was a victory, you are sadly mistaken. Add the non-voters to the no voters and this equates to a lot of people that just don't care.

Anonymous said...

@cherylb Hardly, you can hardly tell me any political party has exercised sound financial judgement. What does Tieleman actually know about tax policy, what does Gordon Campbell actually know, not much. The people who actually have a clue had spoken, and quite frankly, they weren't claiming the Port Mann bridge had 6 lanes. You know, people who think logically and not emotionally.

The US is screwed because they require a vote every time they need to raise taxes / revenue sources. It scares me that BC has now started down that slippery slope with the extremely uneducated on the issue masses saying no to everything they see as a tax increase (even when in the long run, it's a tax decrease)

As I said, you guys have screwed up my generation. I thank you for it.

Anonymous said...

Looking at places like Chilliwack -neocon strong holds- they divide is as close to 50 / 50 as you can get. The BC Liberals must be sweating right now...

North Van's Grumps said...

23 BC Liberal Ridings voted FOR the HST

24 BC Liberal Ridings voted Against the HST

Jsomm said...

Well done, gentlemen, and thanks for your tenacity.Falcon was stubborn to the bitter end and the grim look on his face does not bode well,I'm afraid.
18 months to dismantle this tax and reinstate the old system when it took a nansecond to impose the HST?! Voters will want evidence their wishes have been honoured before the Liberals dare ask for another mandate!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. HST will be reintroduced in the future. PST rate is going to be increased by 2% to probably 9%. Individual tax rates are going to rise as much as 15%. And those who shop in the US, a federal consumption tax of 10% is being discussed. Love it.

Anonymous said...

JSOMM said: "18 months to dismantle this tax and reinstate the old system when it took a nansecond to impose the HST?!"

Actually it took over a year. But since you're obviously an anti-HST advocate, I'm not surprised that you're misinformed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, they just don't get it. We live in a democracy, not a plutocracy.

Thye same thing will exist when the NDP becomes government.

They WILL have to listen to the people each time THEY want to raise or alter taxes too.

and ABSOLUTELY NO and I mean NO government advertising of ANY sort from an NDP Adrian Dix government when it comes to feel good how wel we are doing fluff ads of the type all of the bloggers here were going after the BC Liberals on, and rightly so. ABSOLUTELY NONE.