The provincial NDP is calling on the MLA for Peace River North to meet with the party members to address the HST initiative and the petition.
Last Wednesday, B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer, Craig James, ruled that the Fight HST petition was valid, but that he would not act on the initiative.
The NDP is challenging the committee members not to wait until the legislature is in session in the fall, but rather to begin discussions on the petition immediately, says Jennifer Jones an NDP spokesperson.
Jones says if the committee meets to discuss the HST initiative, its two most likely options are to either have a free vote in the legislature – where MLAs vote based on their constituents’ opinions and regardless of their party – or to have a provincial referendum in which B.C. residents can vote on the initiative.
Bill Routley is the MLA for the Cowichan Valley and is the NDP representative for the Peace River Region. He says he believes the most preferable option would be to have a referendum.
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Routley says a third option could be for the committee to do nothing and simply ignore the petition.
He says the province should have had a vote on the HST instead of having the Liberals sign the agreement without having discussed it during the 2009 election campaign.
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There are four NDP members and six Liberal members that sit on the committee.
Pimm was one of several Liberal MLAs that had more people in the riding sign a petition against the HST than had voted for him in the 2009 election. Pimm received a total 3,666 votes, accounting for 43.44 per cent of the votes in the election.
However, there was a total 8,303 constituents that signed the petition against the HST initiative in his riding.
Pimm refused to comment on the matter, saying all questions regarding the initiative should be directed to the committee’s chair, Terry Lake. Terry Lake was unavailable for comment.