The campaign to recall Liberal MLA Marc Dalton has been recalled.
Organizers who led the Done with Dalton campaign are done gathering signatures to recall the MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission now that a mail-in vote on the HST has been announced.
The B.C. government announced last week it will have a mail-in decision June 24 to replace the September HST referendum and save $18 million in the process.
“The anti-HST petition got us the referendum and a new premier. The recalls helped us get an expedited referendum date and a promise of equal funding. Now we need to focus our energies on using truth to counter the lobbying of the Liberals and big business,” campaign organizer Corisa Bell said in a Sunday news release.
“With the referendum not that far off, we don’t feel the time is available to do both,” recall volunteer Wilf McIntyre added Monday.
“A mail-in ballot is definitely the way to go.
“We thought we had to put all our energies into winning the vote.”
Under the recall campaign, canvassers had 60 days to collect 14,882 names of people who were on the 2009 voter’s list. Deadline for collecting those names was May 9.
If the referendum had kept its original date for September, workers would have continued the recall campaign, but with the mail-in vote in June, time was short.
“We have to refocus, most definitely,” Bell said Monday.
She said the group was doing just what members thought was best for the overall goal they have of defeating the HST. She didn’t know how many names have been collected.
The announcement of a mail-in ballot was a surprise, she said, adding it would be political suicide for the government not to follow the result. She didn’t know if it would be easier to win a mail-in ballot compared to a referendum.
McIntyre said the recall campaign had been going well.
“It was definitely going well. There’s no question about that, but I also think that sometimes you have to make decisions as you go along.”
The federal election in May also played part of a role in the decision because McIntyre said the campaign would probably lose Liberals and NDPers to the campaigns. “I think the time is right to switch gears and get going in another direction.”
He said the recall campaign also pressured Dalton into becoming more active. “He’s out there working harder.”
McIntyre said that during campaigning he found that even if people didn’t want to sign the recall petition, they were usually willing to sign an anti-HST petition.
The decision to abandon the campaign came after the last Done with Dalton rally on Saturday in Maple Ridge.
With the recall effort stopped, the FightHST group now expects Dalton to debate the tax with NDPer Bill Tieleman on April 7 in Maple Ridge council chambers 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
“If he doesn’t show up, that would be really interesting for the people of Maple Ridge-Mission,” Bell said.
Dalton has said previously he wouldn’t attend unless the recall issue was dropped.
“So we’re looking forward to his attendance,” Bell said in the release.
Dalton, though, hasn’t said if he’ll attend.
The question asked in the mail-in ballot will be the same as that set for the referendum: “Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) in conjunction with the GST (Goods and Services Tax)? Yes/No.” Voting will be supervised by Elections B.C.
A simple majority result will be considered binding on the government.