Friday, February 05, 2010

You say you want a referendum, well we all wanna change the tax...

The return of Bill Vander Zalm to the province's political scene took another step today, as Gordon Campbell's worst nightmare found favour from Elections BC and can now move forward on his plans to over turn the proposed HST in British Columbia.

Like a boy with his Lego set, the former Premier plans on building up support block by block across the province, as he and his fellow axe the tax coalition members fan out to sign up names in a petition to force the issue back to the Liberal government.

Chief Electoral Officer, Harry Neufeld, granted approval for Vander Zalm’s initiative petition application on Thursday, a move that will see the former Premier begin his quest on April 6th. A process that will have him seeking to collect enough names within ninety days, compiling the signatures of at least 10 per cent of the registered voters in each of the province's 85 electoral districts. As a condition for the petition to be accepted as valid, those who sign it must have been registered to vote on the date the petition was issued.

If his initiative is successful, it would set in motion the process that could bring an end to the agreement between the federal government and B.C. to establish the HST and reinstate the PST with the same exemptions as were in effect as of June 30, 2010.

And while the emotions of the stop the tax movement may get pretty heady in the short term, history dictates that initiatives of this type don't have much success.

Since the initiative process was approved and came into effect in 1995, initiative petitions haven't fared very well, three failed to gain the required amount of signatures, one was withdrawn and two were never submitted into the process.

What remains to be seen this time around is if this cause is one that will motivate the population to ally themselves to the former Premier, or if much of that original anger over the tax has dissipated into a sense of acceptance, leaving this one as a battle that won't in the end be fought.

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