British Columbia

Anti-HST campaign growing: B.C. NDP

B.C. NDP Leader Carole James says the provincial government is fuelling public anger by slapping a new tax on bicycles.

B.C. NDP Leader Carole James says the provincial government is fuelling public anger by slapping a new tax on bicycles.

James joined a bicycle shop owner and a few protesters in Victoria Tuesday to demand the government halt introduction of the harmonized sales tax (HST), which will add seven per cent to the cost of bikes.

Bicycles have been exempt from provincial sales tax since 1981, but the 12 per cent HST — incorporating the federal goods and services tax and the provincial tax — will be applied to virtually all items sold in the province, starting in July 2010.

When Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell announced the HST plan July 23 he said the tax will help save money for B.C. businesses, but bike shop owner Martin Claremont said he doesn't see how.

"What's never been explained is where this saving is going to come from and how it's going to filter down to the consumer," Claremont said Tuesday.

"People are angry. It's extraordinary, the anger that's building out there," James told CBC News.

James said her party has gathered more than 20,000 signatures on petitions opposing the HST.

The B.C. NDP leader also said she's surprised by some of the people signing up.

"I think it's very telling that I had a business owner call me over to apologize for voting Liberal in the last election," James said.

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