Former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm is hopping mad about the provincial government's move to a harmonized sales tax, and suggests it could lead to a taxpayer revolt.
Vander Zalm has written a letter to the media that says "my friends" have suggested a recall of the government of Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell for allegedly lying to voters about plans for the HST.
"They told us, time and again, that they would never introduce a new tax during an economic downturn. We know why they lied and deceived us — it would have defeated the Liberals, had the truth been told," Vander Zalm wrote.
"My friends are calling for a revolution or recall of the entire government. I tell them British Columbians don't revolt very easily."
Campbell announced July 23 that B.C.'s HST will combine the five per cent federal GST with the seven per cent provincial sales tax for a harmonized 12 per cent tax, starting in July 2010.
The way the HST will be applied means the province's consumers will pay an extra seven per cent tax on restaurant meals, airline tickets, funerals and haircuts — all items that were previously exempt from the PST.
The biggest tax hit could be on people who buy new homes — which were previously exempt from the PST but not the GST — although the province will rebate the provincial portion of the tax on the first $400,000 cost of all new homes.
B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen says the HST will lower business costs, create jobs and boost the economy. However, Vander Zalm isn't buying any of it and said it's nothing more than a tax grab.
"They forget that a hamburger and a cup of coffee will also have a 12 per cent tax added. The reality is that practically everything will cost more and the government in Victoria will rake in extra billions of dollars," Vander Zalm wrote.
"The sad part is that the poorest people will be hardest hit. With this type of tax, the poorest pay most as a percentage of their income."
The former Social Credit premier said it may be tough to get a crowd of protesters in front of the legislature during the summer.
"But if I thought I could, I'd be out there trying to lead it. We do need to protest," he told CBC News.