VICTORIA – New Democrat Leader Carole James has sent a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell, calling on him to call the Legislature back and table the HST initiative bill for debate.
James’ letter follows Elections BC’s decision yesterday to not refer the bill to the Legislature because of a court challenge by a group of BC Liberal allies.
The text of the letter is copied below. A copy of the original letter is attached.
Text of the letter to Premier Campbell:
August 12, 2010
Dear Premier Campbell,
The successful completion of the initiative petition against the government’s decision to establish the harmonized sales tax is an historic democratic achievement.
Unfortunately, the decision by Elections BC to not send the petition to the Legislature as prescribed in legislation, owing to a court challenge by your allies, threatens to thwart that accomplishment. It undermines the efforts of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians.
However, the decision by Elections BC does not in any way stop you and your government from taking action to ensure that the democratic will is respected. The Legislature is free to debate the HST initiative bill irrespective of whether Elections BC has handed the petition to the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives.
The public has spoken, and their will is clear. Therefore, I am writing today to urge you to respect the will of the people of BC by immediately calling the Legislature back into session and tabling the initiative legislation for debate. To do otherwise would show considerable disrespect to the thousands of British Columbians who signed the petition and the hundreds of canvassers who secured them. I would further suggest that you allow for a free vote so that all MLAs are free to respect the wishes of British Columbians.
We are at a critical moment in the democratic life of our province. The initiative campaign is an unprecedented achievement. The court proceedings can potentially stall the initiative petition for weeks, if not months. It’s now up to you to take action to ensure the democratic will is respected and the people’s voice is heard.
New Democrat Official Opposition