Falcon urges business to sell HST

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says there are still many people making up their minds about the harmonized sales tax.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says some people are still undecided about whether to stick with the HST.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon’s speaking tour took him to the Victoria Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, telling business leaders they can “unashamedly” advocate for a harmonized sales tax with a lower rate.

Business people reminded Falcon that not all of them support the HST, and asked why the rate reduction from 12 to 10 per cent can’t take place right away. Falcon replied that the loss of that much revenue has to be phased in over three years, as the federal government did when it lowered the goods and services tax.

Reducing it faster would risk downgrading the province’s triple-A credit rating, Falcon said, so the B.C. government chose to offer $200 million worth of transition payments to families with children and seniors with income less than $40,000 a year instead.

Speaking to reporters after the speech, Falcon said he believes about 20 per cent of people are still undecided about the HST. Referendum ballots have been distributed to parts of the province, but most remained hung up by a labour dispute at Canada Post.

He denied that his ministry is using its advertising campaign to persuade people to vote “no” in the referendum and keep the HST, saying the ads are all factual information.

“We support HST, we think it is the right public tax policy,” Falcon said. “But I think that information campaign is about saying to the public, get informed.”

Premier Christy Clark met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Thursday, but she said afterwards she did not discuss the possible repayment of a $1.6 billion federal transition payment if voters reject the HST.

There will be no negotiations until the province knows the fate of the HST, which won’t be until August, Clark said.

Just Posted

Cowichan school district approves women’s winter shelter

The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education has approved in principle… Continue reading

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

Ladysmith Secondary School improv still groovy after 20 years

Catch performances Nov. 15th, 16th, 17th and 22nd, 23rd and 24th

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Chef claims $1-million with lottery ticket purchased in Ladysmith

A Vancouver woman is $1-million richer after purchasing a winning Lotto Max… Continue reading

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Port Alberni convenience store robbed

Police still searching for suspect

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read