British Columbia

Clark talks HST with Harper

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has said she's spoken to the Prime Minister and they both agree they must quickly resolve any fallout from the province's scrapping of the Harmonized Sales Tax.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and Premier Christy Clark attend an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford, B.C., on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has said she's spoken to the Prime Minister and they both agree they must quickly resolve any fallout from the province's scrapping of the Harmonized Sales Tax. 

Clark said she and Harper talked about the issue during an event in Abbotsford, B.C., on Sunday.

A major issue to be resolved is the $1.6 billion in HST transition funding that the federal government had paid the province.   

Clark refused to elaborate on her discussions with Harper, but said they had spoken about resolving any issues as quickly as possible.

"I'm not going to negotiate in the media about how we're going to get through this but I know that he's just as committed to making sure that we make this work," she said.

"We didn't start negotiating today, but we did talk about certainly the fact that it's one of the issues that British Columbia and Canada need to resolve."

Harper and Clark were attending the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Gur Sikh Temple, which is North America's longest-standing Sikh temple.

Harper didn't talk to reporters after the Abbotsford event.

The results of a referendum where British Columbians voted to scrap the unpopular Harmonized Sales Tax were released Friday.

The 12 per cent tax was introduced by former premier Gordon Campbell more than two years ago, but the massive public uproar over the tax cost Campbell his job and ultimately led to the demise of the HST.

Meanwhile, political observers say it won't be so easy for Premier Christy Clark to wash her hands of the HST mess.   

Nearly 55 per cent of those who voted in the mail-in referendum gave the HST the thumbs down.

Clark was an HST booster, and observers say the vote to scrap it has all but stamped out the likelihood of an early election call for this coming fall.Professor Hamish Telford, at the University of the Fraser Valley, said both the business community and Ottawa are unhappy with the referendum outcome.

And he said Clark may now be hard-pressed to get her job-creation agenda off the ground because she needs to prove once more than she's a reliable business partner.