Reality Check: Liberals continue uncertainty around HST

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The Liberal government’s foot-dragging on the return to the PST is only the latest sign that they aren’t up to the challenges facing British Columbia today. While it took only 11 months to force the HST on British Columbians, the Liberals needed 19 months to get rid of it. And it could take even longer if the Liberals continue to miss key deadlines, such as final legislation promised by fall 2012.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance said they had no recollection of the government’s promise to finalize legislation by October.

But the former finance minister is on record saying it would be done by October 2012, and current Ministry of Finance documents echo that pledge even though fall 2012 is long past.

  • Former Finance Minister Kevin Falcon: “So that’s why we’ve got to have all of this stuff done by October so we can go out to the business community with them knowing exactly what the legislation and what all the exemptions are under the regulations.” – CBC On The Coast, May 14, 2012
  • Former Finance Minister Kevin Falcon: “We plan to publicly release a proposed final version of the PST legislation, which includes the transitional and other amendments, this fall.” – May 16, 2012, Hansard, B.C. Legislature debate
  • Current B.C. Government website: “The Province intends to publicly release a final proposed version of the [PST re-implementation] Act this Fall to support business outreach and awareness.” – B.C. Government webpage Frequently Asked Questions on PST transition,
  • Ministry of Finance News Release: “Fall 2012 – Final proposed version of PST legislation with amendments publically released.” May 14, 2012, News Release

Quote from New Democrat finance critic Bruce Ralston. “It’s very concerning that the Liberal response to missing key deadlines for the return to the PST is to deny they made promises in the first place. The Liberal government’s failure to hold a fall session and do the work necessary to make a smooth transition back to the PST shows they have been more concerned with campaigning than with governing. It’s another sign they aren’t up to the challenges facing B.C. today.”

B.C.’s New Democrats know British Columbians deserve better. It’s time for a change to a new government with new priorities. B.C.’s New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.