The HST Petition in BC was put on ice yesterday by the Chief Electoral Officer, Craig James. James was compelled by the act to verify the petition within 42 days of receiving it. He did that. The petition has more than enough signatures, and BC's Initiative Act says James must now send the verified petition to the BC Legislature.
There is however the matter of a lawsuit brought against the petition by some people that support the BC Liberal government lead by a Premier who spent a night in jail in Hawaii and was later convicted of drinking and driving. A criminal offence in BC but not in Hawaii.
The lawsuit is being brought by the Council of Forest Industries, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, the Mining Association of B.C., the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Coast Forest Products Association and the Western Convenience Stores Association. I can't think of a better place to find Liberal party hacks and funders.
Back the the BC Initiative and Recall Act, it says the petition must be verified within 42 days. After verification it must be sent to the Legislature. Only trouble here is that there is no deadline stated as to when it must be sent, simply that it must be sent. The Court case brought by big business in BC can be seen as an attempt to usurp the rights of British Columbians.
When you consider that the only people in BC supporting the HST are people making $100,000 or more you can see who Gordon Campbell's friends are. The lawsuit if successful would nullify the petition. James in refusing to send the petition to the Legislature until the outcome of the court case is decided has set a dangerous precedent for future petitions. If you have the money, you can thwart the people. The people of BC have spoken very loudly. 705,000 people signed a petition demanding action of the government.
The BC Liberal Government deceit (they said they would not bring in an HST if re-elected in May 2009) has ironically put the current government en route to a major defeat in the next election by the NDP. It was under an equally disastrous government lead by Bill VanderZalm that the Social Credit Party was defeated. Bill VanderZalm has been working hard ever since to make up for that. He has been working with grassroots groups, unions and even the NDP to point out the arrogance of Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberal government.
If the action brought by BC's Big Businesses manages to defeat a verified petition, BC is very likely to see many Liberal MLAs recalled. 705,000 people signed a petition. They won't take this lying down.
The final irony in all of this is that the BC Initiative and Recall Legislation came into being because Premier Bill VanderZalm put it on a referendum in the election his party was soundly thrashed. The new NDP government were compelled to implement the results of the referendum.