Alvin Stedel said the campaign to extinguish the HST was successful mainly because it was an expression of the will of the people.
“The petition itself was successful – obviously because the HST is going to be repealed – but it was successful mainly in sending a message to the government that you have to bring the people with you if youre going to bring in legislation,“ said Stedel. “Whether it may be a good idea or not, you have to let the people know what you`re doing and how youre doing it.“
He added it’s a positive for consumers that the HST will be coming off many goods and services that were exempt under the PST-GST system.
However, Stedel said it is unfortunate that many businesses will waste time and expense reverting back to the previous tax system.
“It`s such a waste of energy and money to have had to go through this process,“ he said. “Sure, you know, the petition won the day, but in the end there`s extra expense that is going to create no wealth.“
He said there is no doubt larger local businesses, such as in the oil and gas industry, benefitted from the input tax credits they received under the HST system, but that came at the expense of retail merchants who saw the price of many goods and services go up, driving more customers to their Alberta competitors.
Stedel said he is interested to hear the reaction of the government, and specifically Premier Christy Clark, on what direction they might take following the referendum result.
He added the result shows that all of the hard work put in by the many volunteers with the Fight HST campaign did pay off.
Attempts were made to contact Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom for his reaction, but he was unable to be reached this afternoon. However, attempts will be made to get his reaction, as well as from other local stakeholders, early next week.