Quebec HST issue to be resolved: Tories

The federal Conservatives say they are on track to resolve the HST issue with Quebec, rejecting suggestions they have turned their back on the province.
Conservative candidate Christian Paradis said the Tories hope to have a deal worked out with Quebec over the HST by mid-September. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
The federal Conservatives said on Friday they are on track to resolve the HST issue with Quebec, rejecting suggestions they have turned their back on the province.

In an interview with Radio Canada, Tory candidate Christian Paradis acknowledged a list of election demands made by Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

"Several points Mr. Charest made converge with our goals," Paradis said. "You will see in our platform that we are engaged to resolve the HST harmonization between now and Sept. 15."

Quebec has demanded $2.2 billion in compensation for harmonizing the federal GST and the provincial sales tax in the early 1990s. The federal government gave Ontario $4.3 billion and British Columbia $1.6 billion to help their transitions to a harmonized sales tax.

Paradis said his party had no intention of picking a fight with the province.

"We don’t have time to fight," Paradis said. "We're passed that point. People want us to move forward and we are the party to make that happen."

His comments came a day after Conservative Leader Stephen Harper announced that a re-elected Conservative government would commit to a loan guarantee or equivalent financial support for the $6.2-billion Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Labrador.

Charest slammed the pledge on Friday, saying Hydro-Québec never benefited from any federal funding to develop its dam network, and would never ask the federal government for help.

With files from Radio Canada