Dix swings through Kamloops on campaign to kill HST
As residents across B.C. and in Kamloops decide the fate of the harmonized sales tax by referendum, it's easy to determine on which side NDP Leader Adrian Dix will vote.
Dix was in the Tournament Capital on Saturday, July 9, to meet with small business owners and encourage residents to vote "yes" to scrap the HST.
He argued the HST is a huge tax shift from large corporations to middle-income families, leaving the latter with less money in their pocket.
Dix also said he sees voting "yes" in the referendum as a return to the provincial sales tax as it was, meaning no PST on restaurant meals and items like bikes.
"It's the right policy," he said, adding the PST has worked for B.C. for 30 years and supported by successive governments of different stripes.
Dix's appearance in Kamloops comes shortly after Finance Minister Kevin Falcon's visit to the city, where he spoke to the local business community urging support for the HST by voting "no" in the referendum.
Falcon suggested returning to the former tax regime would blow a $3- billion hole in the province's finances.
But Dix contends the finance minister is wrong and misleading the public on the facts about the tax.
"I think this is an effort to scare people," he said
In May, the provincial government promised to cut the harmonized sales-tax rate by two percentage points over the next three years — to 10 per cent from 12 per cent by 2014 — and issue $175 rebate cheques to parents for each child under 18 and to lower-and-modest-income seniors this year.
Though some polls appear to show anger over the HST subsiding and the two sides in the vote in a dead heat, Dix is confident the tax will fall.
"The only chance the government has is if people don't participate," he said, adding he expects a strong "yes" vote in the Interior and in Kamloops.
But the HST might not be the only provincial issue sending voters to the polls this year.
There is wide speculation Premier Christy Clark will call an election this fall after the referendum vote.
When asked if he would like to see an election this year, the NDP leader said it wasn't up to him, but appeared to be against the idea.
Dix said he would want an explanation as to why the Liberals want an election, seeing the party has a majority now and can pass whatever legislation it sees fit.
"What is it they [Liberals] can't do now?" he asked, adding the roughly $35 million spent on an election could be put to better use.
However, Dix maintained his party will be ready if, and when, an election is called.