B.C. government launches HST ad campaign

VICTORIA – Stick figures puzzled about the harmonized sales tax are the main characters in a $5 million ad campaign unveiled by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon Thursday.

The television, radio, print and online ads begin appearing in mid-May and continue until early July, when ballots are mailed out to every household in the province in a referendum to decide the fate of the HST.

The ads don’t present arguments for or against the HST, but urge people to go to the government’s dedicated website and look at its information about what is and isn’t affected by harmonizing the federal and provincial sales taxes.

Falcon said his travels around the province and participation in telephone town hall sessions on the HST have repeatedly shown that many people misunderstand the effect of the HST, and they want impartial information about it.

“This is not going to be a persuasion campaign,” Falcon said. “It is going to be an information campaign, and it is going to ensure that British Columbians get basic facts.”

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston said the government is stacking the deck in favour of the HST with its spending. In addition to the $5 million ad campaign, it has spent $200,000 to stage the telephone town halls, while the FightHST organization is receiving only $250,000 to publicize its argument for getting rid of the HST.

In the legislature Thursday, NDP critics demanded assurances from Falcon that the government will go back to the old provincial sales tax with the same exemptions that existed before harmonization with the federal goods and services tax on July 2010. Those exemptions included bicycles, energy-efficient appliances and new homes, as well as a hybrid vehicles.

Falcon has refused to comment on possible changes to the PST, if more than 50 per cent of voters say they want the HST eliminated, until after the referendum results are known.

Falcon and Premier Christy Clark have also indicated they will offer changes to the HST based on public input gathered in the lead-up to the referendum.

Just Posted

Garage sale brings out some unusual characters such as Langley’s Holly Zonneveld

A gaggle of comedic individuals unite in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest production.

Four years for manslaughter in Surrey drive-by shooting

Mahdi Halane was rendered a quadriplegic until his death in hospital six years later at age 24.

Author at Surrey event glad to have book published ‘before reality totally overtakes fiction’

Ari Goelman, a business and criminology instructor, speaks at KPU Reads gathering Jan. 22

Cloverdale banker shares his love of swing dancing

Cloverdale’s Phillip Kunz shows dancing newcomers how to get into the swing of things

White Rock cannabis and adult entertainment bylaws to move to public hearings

Council will seek input on potential of allowing contentious businesses in city limits

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read