Photo: B.C.’s Finance Minister Colin Hansen addresses some HST questions at the Pomeroy Hotel on Tuesday – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca
By Christine Rumleskie
The B.C. Finance Minister faced tough questions, as he briefed Fort St. John’s business community about the looming Harmonized Sales Tax.
Colin Hansen was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.
While he didn’t indicate how the blended tax will prevent shoppers from migrating to Grande Prairie, he insists it will benefit local businesses by bringing down costs for local merchants.
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Local business owner Bob Fedderly, who attended the meeting, couldn’t see how the HST would bring financial benefits to his company.
He runs Fedderly Transportation, a company that does business in both British Columbia and Alberta.
After addressing Hansen about his concerns on B.C.’s competitiveness once the HST is implemented, Fedderly says he still isn’t convinced the blended tax is right for the Province.
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Mayor Bruce Lantz says he thinks the Peace Region will see the benefits of the HST once it’s implemented.
He says if residents of the Northeast want to see less Alberta license plates, the Province needs to better enforce the laws that are already in place.
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Mayor Lantz adds he hopes the Province will make good on the promised rebates that are meant to offset HST costs.
Meanwhile, experts are predicting that the loonie will be on par with the American dollar as soon as this summer.
The recovering forest industry is expecting more headaches, as the loonie closes in on the U.S. dollar, but Hansen says the HST will help mitigate those impacts.
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The new blended tax is set to be implemented on July 1st. Former Premier Bill Vander Zalm is spearheading a Province-wide petition, registered with Elections B.C., to stop the looming HST.
Last year, an Ipsos Reid Poll concluded that 85% of B.C. residents were opposed to the Harmonized Sales Tax.
Photo: Local business owner Bob Fedderly voices his concerns over the HST on Tuesday – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca