Libby questions the Conservative government’s plan to take back BC’s HST money

House of Commons
September 20, 2011

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the people of B.C. have spoken loud and clear. In a historic referendum they rejected the HST tax grab that the Prime Minister rammed through the House.

Now the Conservatives are planning to punish British Columbians; forcing them to pay back over a billion dollars is a spiteful reaction to the province’s fair and democratic decision.

When will the government agree to respect voters and treat B.C. voters fairly?

Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member opposite knows, there is an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia. HST is a provincial responsibility. I met yesterday with the Minister of Finance of British Columbia. He reported to me, of course, the results of the referendum there. We are now working on the exit strategy since this is a provincial responsibility and the provincial government will not be continuing with the HST.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, this money has already been invested in health care, education and other family priorities.

Forcing the province to pay it back will hurt very important services and create a hole in the province’s budget.

The government needs to do the right thing, the fair thing. Will the government drop its plan to punish British Columbians for rejecting its HST?