HST raises controversy in Fort St. John

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Photo: Fort St. John residents sign the anti-HST petition on Tuesday morning – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca

 

By Christine Rumleskie

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Fort St. John residents are waging war on the Harmonized Sales Tax.

Alvin Stedel is the regional organizer for Northeastern B.C.’s ‘Fight HST’ Campaign.

He says by noon on Tuesday, around 300 had signed the petition calling on the government to repeal the controversial tax.

In 2009, just 8,440 of the 28,427 eligible North Peace voters turned out to vote in the Provincial election.

And while the HST petition only requires around 3,000 signatures, Stedel says surpassing last year’s voter turnout would send a strong message to the Campbell government.

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Stedel says he’s been seeing a slew of anti-HST activists signing the petition, ranging from business owners to concerned homeowners.

Meanwhile, Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm acknowledges that not everyone will be a winner once the HST is implemented. However, he insists that low-income earners, single parents and small businesses will see the benefits of the blended tax, through the various rebate programs.

He cautions residents to do some research before signing the anti-HST petition.

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Despite the public uproar, Pimm didn’t say what he will do should enough residents of his consituency support the anti-HST petition.

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Pimm admits the Liberal Government should have unveiled its HST plan a bit earlier. But he says the Province wanted to time its HST plans with Ontario, so decisions had to be made quickly.

He still claims MLA’s knew nothing of the HST plans before the Provincial election in 2009.

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Pimm is encouraging residents to visit his booth at the CKNL Trade show on April 16th to 18th. He says he will answer questions on the new tax system, and will provide examples on how the blended tax will benefit North Peace residents.

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