NDP Leader Adrian Dix brought his ant-HST campaign to Abbotsford on Tuesday.
Dix has been touring the province since he won the leadership. He has recently been through Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Kamloops, Vernon and throughout Vancouver Island. In the past week he has seen 14 towns and cities.
He was met by a friendly audience of NDP supporters at the Everbloom Garden Centre on Mt. Lehman Road. They included David Murray, the federal NDP candidate for the Abbotsford riding.
“Man that guy works hard,” Murray said of Dix, noting his busy travel schedule. “It’s really appropo that he’s rolling up his sleeves, and getting after it.”
Dix told The News that his “grassroots campaign” is discovering a familiar theme.
“I’m hearing from small business: ‘People have less money to spend, and it’s hurting us.'”
He said it is inappropriate for the government to spend $7 million of taxpayers money for HST referendum advertising that supports its position. He added the spending would be illegal under election law.
However, Dix doesn’t believe the advertising or the drop in the HST from 12 to 10 per cent will save the tax from being voted down in the mail-in referendum.
He’s confident the “yes” vote will win.
“We’re plucky, and we’ve got a better argument,” Dix contends.
That argument is that the tax is “shifting $1.9 billion in taxes onto working families,” he said, adding big business benefits from the tax break.
The HST issue has shown that the Liberal government “can’t be trusted,” said Dix, because of the many times the public has been “lied to.”
He said the provincial government has reneged on its word when it promised not to bring in the HST, when it said the tax would be revenue neutral, said all the revenue would be put into health care, and said it would generate 100,000 jobs.
He said the government will become too arrogant if it can save the HST in the referendum.
“I don’t think, in the end, they will get away with it,” he predicted. “David sometimes beats Goliath.”
Other leaders voting no
Finance minister and deputy premier Kevin Falcon issued a press release applauding the decision by the leaders of the Green Party and the BC Conservatives for taking what he called “principled positions to vote ‘no’ in the upcoming referendum.”
“In sharp contrast to Adrian Dix and the rest of the NDP, the other opposition leaders took the time and effort to inform themselves about the real impact of returning to a 12 per cent PST and GST and have taken a clear position to do what is best for the province – support the HST and reject the PST+GST,” said Falcon.
“It would have been easy for these leaders to simply oppose the HST on the basis of how it was introduced and implemented, but instead we now only have the NDP wanting to go back to a destructive two tax system with the PST+GST.”
Falcon also noted that advisors to the NDP are beginning to take a stand against going back to the PST.
“When longtime NDP economic advisors like Marvin Shaffer are coming out, against considerable internal pressure, to take a stand against returning to the PST, you realize that this referendum is all about politics for the NDP and nothing to do with good tax policy.”