Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fight HST launches BC citizens Initiative after approval from Elections BC!

I am very pleased to tell you that Fight HST's citizens petition has been approved by Elections BC, it was announced today. The Initiative signing period of 90 days will run from April 6 to July 5, 2010.

I am working with former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm and a wide range of other people from every political persuasion - or none - to try to stop the unfair 7% Harmonized Sales Tax from being imposed by the BC Liberal government.

Below is today's news release from Fight HST - a photo from the news conference is above with myself, Chris Delaney and Sal Vetro pictured - please sign up in your riding!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 4, 2010


Vancouver, BC – A British Columbia citizens’ Initiative petition to kill the BC Liberal government’s proposed 12% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on virtually all goods and services in BC, has been approved by Elections BC, former Premier, Fight HST leader and petition applicant Bill Vander Zalm announced Thursday.

Fight HST, the group started by Vander Zalm, said the Elections BC approved citizens’ Initiative can begin signature collection on April 6, 2010.

If implemented on July 1, 2010, the HST announced last year by Premier Gordon Campbell would add an additional 7% tax on everything from restaurant meals, haircuts, bicycles, and gym memberships to golf fees, airline tickets, funeral services, new homes over $525,000 to professional fees like accounting and much, more.

Vander Zalm is currently travelling on business in California but issued a statement.

“The citizen's Initiative petition is our first move and it is the people's opportunity to tell the governments that we are still a democracy and not totally an elected dictatorship,” Vander Zalm said. “The Initiative is also the people's opportunity to kill the HST.”

Fight HST spokesman Bill Tieleman said that: “The citizens’ Initiative petition is a legally-binding petition, which if successful will require the government to either conduct a province-wide referendum on the HST or to present an Act to repeal the HST in the legislature.”

Tieleman explained that the Fight HST group must collect the signatures of 10% of registered voters in all 85 BC electoral districts in 90 days to be successful.

“We will have to collect all those signatures between April 6 and July 5. We have over 1,500 volunteers from across the province who have already agreed to canvass for signatures, and we expect that number to increase dramatically as we approach the start date and people see that the HST can indeed be stopped,” he said.

Chris Delaney, Lead Organizer for Fight HST, said that the proposed legislation for the citizens’ Initiative would nullify the HST agreement between the federal government and the province, thereby extinguishing the HST in BC.

“We would return to the Provincial Sales Tax as it was applied before the surprise HST announcement,” said Delaney. “Our legislation would be effective retroactively from June 30, 2010, the day before the proposed implementation of the HST. This means the government will have to refund all extra HST revenues they collect over and above what they would have received under the PST, to British Columbia taxpayers. It’s their money after all,” said Delaney.

Delaney said Fight HST is calling on Premier Campbell to tell British Columbians whether he will abide by the voters wishes and repeal the HST if the petition is successful.

“British Columbians deserve to know if their Premier, the same man who has repeatedly expressed support for grass roots democracy and effective Citizen Initiative legislation, will abide by it when it is applied to his government.”


Laila said...

Congratulations to all of you that have worked tirelessly to achieve this important step!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, for your good work and I will help in any way I can to stop the HST and Mr Campbell. I also think the people of BC should be informed to the Run of the River Power that Mr. Campbell imposing on the people of BC which will take more money of their pockets. Their is a lot to this story that BC'S don't know which is on Mr Campbell's adenda to dismantle BC Hydro and hold BC's for ransom.

Gary E said...

Well done Bil, Bil, Chris et al.

I will be pounding the streets in the Cariboo on starting day.
This draconian tax grab has to go.
Fair taxes for all. (that includes big business)

Chub Chub Yuile said...

And when you fail, please move to Alberta

Lynda said...

where can i sign up to volunteer?

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks everyone!

Lyndaen - you can sign up at

Gantry said...

Well, that's the easy part taken care of. And despite my opinion that those involved are wasting their time, congratulations are in order for getting this far. Not that this was a difficult hurdle. Congratulations for still believing in your efforts and making the commitment to see this through to the end.

And then on to the even harder task of recalling several MLAs.

Ron said...

Great news Bill.

The anti-HST movement is a true coalition that transcends parties.

For me it is the struggle to prevent the greatest tax shift from corporations onto individuals in our history, and

an attempt to retain the ability of the Province to influence environmental, social and economic objectives of our province via a "made-in-BC" tax approach.

Keep up the good work, Bill.

Anonymous said...

And when you fail, only you yourself is to blame.

Evalynn said...

And just when I thought politics in BC was getting dull. What will the Liberal machine bring out to counter this threat? How much money will be spent to either bring us back to where we are now, the HST on July 1, or jack up the deficit because we won't have the one time payment from Ottawa? So many wonderful choices. And it will be interesting watching the numbers grow in all the ridings, which one will lag behind in late June and will it be the death of this initiative? I estimate it will take about 3,300 signatures minimum per day for all 90 days, maybe more because of the toughest ridings. I think it's do-able but I'll believe it when I see it. In the fall, after the verification of signatures.

Laila said...


" Chub Chub Yuile?" " Phat Laila wasn't pretty" ?

Ha, you should see me smiling right now! Really!

Obviously your father failed to tell you that real men have the cajones to cast insults directly at the intended target,whereas cowards will only do it with their tails between their legs - on other people's blogs no less!

Bill,I do apologize that you seem to have attracted a rather cowardly hater of mine, you feels threatened enough by my ability to track people down that they are only left to comment over here!

Such a waste of good commenting space, but it is nice to know I'm onto something.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for this, and for showing the NDP can work with the BC Conservatives and some Lib/Socreds.

However, as Evalynn states, the loss of the one-time $1.6 Billion PAYOFF from Ottawa is significant. That would result in a larger BC deficit, which is not a good idea, to my mind.

As always, my question remains:

If not the HST, then what?

Anonymous said...

"If not the HST, then what?"

The HST is about shifting tax from businesses to consumers. So the answer to your question is obvious – If there is no HST then business still pay their share.

Remember, according to the Liberals the HST is revenue neutral to the government. Therefore government does not lose if we dump the HST. Consumers, however, do lose if it's implemented.

Bill Tieleman said...

To PX90 and anyone else who want to post insulting and juvenile attacks on other bloggers - give it up! I'm not going to offend my readers with your sophomoric junk - debate the issues or get lost - because this blog obviously bugs the hell out of you.

Bill Tieleman said...

Kam - you can email me privately about your posting if you wish but I cannot publish it.

Bill Tieleman said...

PS to Kam - my comments about insulting other bloggers obviously were not a reference to you!

FYInescu said...

Anybody read Michael Smyth in the Province today?

So after 9 months since this mess all started, the petition gets underway.

After 3 months of signing, the verification begins.

After 6 weeks of verification, the process moves to stage 2.

Mr. Campbell would you like to bring the bill to a vote where you still have enough MLAs to kill this proposed legislation? No? You're afraid of recall repercussions and some backbenchers might vote against you?

Well, alright. But you will have to hold a referendum where some 85% of the people want to see this through.

We'll wait for about 13 months, but late Sept 2011, we'll have the crucial vote.

We only need 50% of the registered voters out of 51% who actually vote (based on last year's election turnout), just a shade over 99% voting yes to succeed.

What's that Mr.Campbell? Foreshore...stilting..what? Please stop laughing so hard. Oh, we'll still be 14% short of what's needed before you care what BC says. Yeah, that is kind of funny that we're going to all this wasted effort. I guess it just keeps us amused. You enjoy the Olympics now. No, no. We'll pick up the tab for you.

Crankypants said...

Good job Bill and team. It will only get tougher from here on out, but I think that even if the petitioning fails, you may succeed in getting many more people involved in the political process.

Vaughn Palmer had an article earlier this week that basically laid out the exemptions to date, and it looks as if the HST will now bring less net dollars into the government's coffers. If the HST becomes a reality, the Liberals will either have to increase other taxes or cut more programmes to compensate for their stupidity and all the while the citizenry will still be subsidizing big business to the tune of $2 billion per year(if not more).

We are definitely playing against a stacked deck, but even a rigged game can be beaten on occaision. Keep the faith.

Bill Tieleman said...

Just one point regarding the $1.6 billion from the federal Conservatives to implement the HST - if BC didn't get that money, yes it would be part of the deficit.

But we as BC consumers are going to pay up $1.9 billion every single year if the HST if passed!

And either way, it's ordinary taxpayers that will take the hit in their income.

So don't worry about $1.6 billion once - worry about $1.9 billion every year from now on! That's why we have to stop the HST.

Ludicrus said...

Some clever comments from our Fight HST leaders:

“The Initiative is also the people's opportunity to kill the HST.” - Bill Vander Zalm
(No, the Initiative is the opportunity to force the government to choose between voting on HST with their majority or calling a referendum which is impossible for them to lose unless voter apathy is reduced, whichever Gordo feels has a better chance of success.)

"...people see that the HST can indeed be stopped.” - Bill Tieleman
(Bill is additionally quoted in the press release getting the facts straight, as noted above, about what the Initiative accomplishes. So what makes him think everyone else is as blind as him? We can only guess at his thought processes.)

An our double winner:
"...whether he(Campbell) will abide by the voters wishes and repeal the HST if the petition is successful."
(I'm sure he meant 10% of the voters, the standard for measuring the success of the petition. It's never done anything for the Green Party.)


“British Columbians deserve to know if their Premier, the same man who has repeatedly expressed support for grass roots democracy and effective Citizen Initiative legislation, will abide by it when it is applied to his government.” - Chris Delaney
(Well, seeing that we will be applying INeffective Citizen Initiative legislation the question is rather moot.)

Thanks, gentlemen. Don't you have a cow-tipping seminar to administer?

Anonymous said...

Gordon Campbell, Ottawa and their lawyers and business associates will now starve out FIGHT HST and BCers through the courts and legal fees. History shows we can't beat them at their own game playing by their rules. Only one choice left. Western Seperation, I'm sure Alberta would come along for the ride.