Effort to recall Dalton on track

  • Jan. 20, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Christmas has come and gone, Premier Gordon Campbell is counting down his last days, and there’s talk of moving the vote on the Harmonized Sales Tax up to this spring.

But FightHST organizers in Maple Ridge are continuing on with their goal to dump their Liberal MLA through the recall campaign.

If organizers can collect 40 per cent of the signatures that were on the last voting list, Marc Dalton will be forced to fight for his seat in a byelection.

He only squeaked by winning in 2009 with a 68-vote margin of victory.

About 170 volunteers, many from outside Maple Ridge-Mission, are ready to hit the streets Feb. 26 and collect those names.

Workers are at the halfway point in Oak Bay-Gordon Head where they’re trying to unseat MLA Ida Chong.

They need to collect about 16,000 names and so far have 8,000.

“So we’re going to head over there next weekend and help out and learn all we can,” said Corisa Bell who’s organizing the Maple Ridge campaign.

They hope they can apply that knowledge to their own campaign in which they have 60 days to collect just more than 14,000 signatures.

The fact that some Liberal leadership candidates are calling for advancing the HST referendum from September to spring doesn’t matter to Bell.

Neither does Christy Clark’s suggestion about allowing MLAs a free vote in the legislature.

Liberals have already voted — for the HST and she doubts they’d change their minds. “I don’t believe that for a moment.

“The majority of people still do not trust the Liberals.

“Nothing the Liberals say makes a difference so how can you trust them at this point?”

When anti-HST campaigners wanted to hold the referendum earlier, the Liberals said that was impossible. Now some leadership candidates say that September date can be changed.

“The entire time they’ve been saying this isn’t possible so we have to assume what they’ve been saying isn’t true. There’s just zero faith in the Liberal party at this time.”

And even if the referendum resoundly defeats the HST, Bell questions whether the government would honour the result and cancel the tax.

While the tax, which combines the seven per cent provincial sales tax with the five per cent goods and service tax, has been in place for six months, Bell says no one is getting used to it. Most goods and services didn’t see their tax rates change but restaurant meals and hairdressing are two areas where people now have to pay another seven per cent.

“Nobody is used to it. All the feedback is the HST is devastating people.”