Clark rules out free vote on killing HST

Abbott lashes Liberal challenger for 'flip flop'



Christy Clark has dropped her contentious plan for a new free vote of MLAs on whether to quickly kill the harmonized sales tax.

The radio talk show host is falling into line with the other Liberal leadership contenders in concluding the HST must go to the binding referendum pledged by premier Gordon Campbell.

Clark now says the idea of a free vote in the legislature – which rankled sitting Liberals who already voted on the HST last June – was just “an option” she had raised for discussion in the campaign.

“Part of leading is being able to take advice and then act on it,” she said.

Clark spelled our her position in a video posted Wednesday, in which she calls for an accelerated HST referendum on June 24, three months earlier than currently planned.

“The tax does need to go to a referendum,” she said. “And it needs to go sooner rather than later.”

Clark said Elections BC must ensure equal funding to both sides of the referendum question, as happened with the 2009 vote on electoral reform.

And she said voting in the referendum should happen at the same polling places and similar hours to the last provincial election, adding anything less may “send the wrong signal.”

As with other Liberals, Clark said she will vote for keeping the 12 per cent value-added tax that replaced the seven per cent PST and five per cent GST.

“Will it pass at referendum? I hope it does. But that will be up to the people to decide.”

She’d previously said the referendum was an unnecessary waste of money when politicians could dispense with the issue in the legislature.

Rival George Abbott quickly denounced Clark’s move as a “flip-flop” that proves she has “no credible plan” to lead the province.

“The public wants certainty and clarity, not more double-speak and misdirection,” he said.

Abbott also criticized Clark’s “misguided” plan to provide funding to the Fight HST forces.

“She now thinks it’s a good idea for taxpayers to cut Bill Vander Zalm a blank cheque for his efforts and pay groups who are actively misusing recall legislation to unseat BC Liberal MLAs,” he said.

Abbott added he called for an earlier June 24 vote on the first day of the campaign.

Just Posted

Port Alberni realtor trekking the Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team will spend five days hiking in the Sahara Desert

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Port Alberni bear spraying suspect arrested in Coombs

Nanaimo resident facing 16 criminal charges after “well coordinated” RCMP effort

Port Alberni considers implementing ‘hotel tax’ for travellers

Municipal and Regional District Tax could lead to revenue of $325,000, says Collette

Car theft suspect arrested in Coombs

Vehicle and two motorcyles recovered on Jan. 16

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

More than 100,000 toxic toys named in Canada-wide recall

Plastic doll contains levels of phthalates over allowable limit and may pose chemical hazard

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Wind, tides could combine for 7-metre Long Beach waves Saturday

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Parents in this B.C. city can no longer opt kids out of class for personal beliefs

Change comes as part of ‘big overhaul’ of school district’s learning resources policy approved by board

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Most Read