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

Temporary Cold Weather Shelter in the works for Revelstoke

The Women’s Shelter Society, BC Housing and the city are working on making it happen

Black bear kills donkey in Revelstoke, put down by RCMP

Conservation Officer says once they attack livestock they are a danger to the public

Alberta woman dies in motorcycle accident in Revelstoke

RCMP say an SUV turned left in front of the motorcycle

High 30 for Revelstoke today

Roads and weather conditions

Balu Pass closed in Glacier National Park

The National Park is east of Revelstoke on Highway 1

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Okanagan RCMP superintendent helps with arrest

Vernon Supt. Shawna Baher arrests man for theft; turns out to be suspect in assault and robbery

Kelowna man arrested after allegedly setting blaze near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

Most Read