B.C. government launches HST ad campaign

VICTORIA – Stick figures puzzled about the harmonized sales tax are the main characters in a $5 million ad campaign unveiled by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon Thursday.

The television, radio, print and online ads begin appearing in mid-May and continue until early July, when ballots are mailed out to every household in the province in a referendum to decide the fate of the HST.

The ads don’t present arguments for or against the HST, but urge people to go to the government’s dedicated website and look at its information about what is and isn’t affected by harmonizing the federal and provincial sales taxes.

Falcon said his travels around the province and participation in telephone town hall sessions on the HST have repeatedly shown that many people misunderstand the effect of the HST, and they want impartial information about it.

“This is not going to be a persuasion campaign,” Falcon said. “It is going to be an information campaign, and it is going to ensure that British Columbians get basic facts.”

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston said the government is stacking the deck in favour of the HST with its spending. In addition to the $5 million ad campaign, it has spent $200,000 to stage the telephone town halls, while the FightHST organization is receiving only $250,000 to publicize its argument for getting rid of the HST.

In the legislature Thursday, NDP critics demanded assurances from Falcon that the government will go back to the old provincial sales tax with the same exemptions that existed before harmonization with the federal goods and services tax on July 2010. Those exemptions included bicycles, energy-efficient appliances and new homes, as well as a hybrid vehicles.

Falcon has refused to comment on possible changes to the PST, if more than 50 per cent of voters say they want the HST eliminated, until after the referendum results are known.

Falcon and Premier Christy Clark have also indicated they will offer changes to the HST based on public input gathered in the lead-up to the referendum.

Just Posted

Port Alberni to receive $8.7 million in affordable housing

Two projects in the Alberni Valley will provide 87 units of housing

EDITORIAL: School washrooms are no place for fear

This is about access for people who need to use the facilities…

Paula Wild, Rick James hold duo book readings in Port Alberni

Wild talks wolves while James tells tales from the rum running trade on Nov. 15

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Soccer dream comes true for young Port Alberni players

AVYSA’s development team takes to the pitch with VIU Mariners

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Threat of extremism posed by proportional representation overstated: academics

As B.C. voters decide on electoral reform, the Vote No side is cautioning that the system would allow extremists to be elected

What now for Calgary, Canada and Olympic Games after 2026 rejection?

Calgary, along with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., made Canada a player in the international sport community

Sex-misconduct survey excludes vulnerable military members: Survivors’ group

But It’s Just 700 says recent research has shown young military members and those on training are among those most at risk for sexual violence

Many child killers have been placed in Indigenous healing lodges according to stats

As of mid-September, there were 11 offenders in healing lodges who had been convicted of first- or second-degree murder of a minor

Active investigation into reported sexual assault at Vancouver Island naval base

An Oct. 5 allegation is being investigated by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Expect no quick end to Canada-wide cannabis shortages, producers warn

Provinces including British Columbia, Alberta have all reported varying degrees of shortages

Vancouver Island home lost to fire, but family and 14 dogs are safe

Firefighters were called to a blaze Wednesday morning at house near Nanaimo Airport

Want to buy your first home? Move to Kamloops or Prince George

Kamloops, Prince George, Campbell River and Langford are the only other markets in the study without gaps between required and actual income in owning a home.

Most Read