For the past two years, B.C.'s harmonized sales tax has captured headlines and ignited public debate — but it all came to head as Elections B.C. announced British Columbians had voted to scrap the tax.

Since the tax was announced in 2009, it has prompted a firestorm of debate and harsh criticism from its opponents, including former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm, who has led the public fight to repeal the tax.

The controversy over the tax resulted in the resignation of a premier, a sharp dive in public support for the B.C. Liberals and the decision by one B.C. MLA to resign from the Liberal caucus.

What follows is a timeline of the public battle over the HST, detailing the twists and turns that ultimately forced a referendum on the issue.

HST timeline