Business group gears up for HST vote

Independent Contractors and Businesses Association president Philip Hochstein

The business organization that helped bankroll the defence against the first anti-harmonized sales tax recall campaign isn’t doing the same for the three other petition drives now underway.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. donated the largest amount of any participant in the Oak Bay-Gordon Head recall, which ended in February with just over half the signatures needed to unseat local B.C. Liberal MLA Ida Chong.

Recall petitions have also been launched against Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton. But Philip Hochstein, president of the ICBA, says he won’t be pitching for those recalls.

“Those are going to fail spectacularly, so we don’t think we need to be involved,” Hochstein said in an interview Wednesday.

Instead, Hochstein said his and other business organizations need to campaign to persuade people to support the HST in a province-wide referendum expected June 24. Former premier Bill Vander Zalm’s Fight HST organization is gearing up for that vote, having forced the government to hold it by passing B.C.’s first-ever initiative petition last year.

“I think the business community failed the first time around, when Bill Vander Zalm led his band of merry men, and I don’t think they’re going to make that mistake again,” Hochstein said. “I think they have to be actively involved and get our message out, and ICBA will be part of that.”

Recall financing documents released by Elections BC show the ICBA spent $43,124 on radio and newspaper advertising, polling and a website to oppose the Oak Bay-Gordon Head effort.

That was more than the $28,000 spent by Chong’s own anti-recall campaign, financed with the help of a $25,000 loan from the B.C. Liberal Party. About $12,000 of that went to advertising, $8,300 went to pay salary and benefits and $4,000 on office rent and expenses.

Michael Hayes, the local recall organizer for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, reported his largest donation from the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. That included more than $7,400 for the services of an office manager, plus a $500 cash donation.

The paramedics’ union was legislated back to work with a three per cent raise in late 2009, after a long and bitter strike that sparked demonstrations against Premier Gordon Campbell as he campaigned for re-election.

The Victoria Labour Council also chipped in $500 toward the effort to unseat Chong.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Harrison sailor looking for competitors to race model boats

Bernhard Van Velze is hoping to create a club for model sailboats at Harrison Lake

Community artists, amateurs wanted to create Kent anniversary logo

The 125th anniversary committee is hoping to choose a logo designed by the community

Kent to weigh in on ride-sharing policies

The district will be submitting comments to the province on what ride sharing should look like

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read