VICTORIA – Today, New Democrat interim leader Dawn Black tabled an amendment to B.C.’s Recall and Initiative Act that would allow for an earlier HST initiative vote.
“The Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, 2011 amends the current law to require an HST initiative vote be held by June of this year,” said Black. “I call on all B.C. Liberal leadership candidates and all government caucus members to support this bill and show that they are serious about democracy.”
Black said her bill is an important step to address the concern that the time period between the expression of the will of people through a successful initiative petition and the actual initiative vote is too long.
“Last year, over 700,000 British Columbians used an important tool of grassroots democracy under the Recall and Initiative Act to make their voice heard on the government’s mishandling of the HST,” said Black. “The petition to scrap the HST was declared successful in August 2010 – but under the current rules, the initiative vote can only be held on September 24, 2011.”
“People of B.C. have made it clear this gap is too long – and they’ve made a compelling argument for an earlier vote to uphold democracy,” Black said. “Additionally, as a matter of significant public policy, the uncertainty caused by the pending decision is having serious economic repercussions on an already fragile B.C. economy.
“My bill acts on these concerns and establishes a framework for an earlier HST initiative vote.”
Black said after facing significant public backlash over the handling of the HST, every leadership candidate in the running to become the next Premier has committed to an early initiative vote.
“If the B.C. Liberal leadership candidates are being honest with the voters about their intention to have an earlier HST referendum, then they will support this bill and ask that it be called for debate and passage this week,” Black said.
A copy of the bill is attached.