Statement from Premier Christy Clark on HST
British Columbians expect us to act on their decision and we will. They expect us to be prepared and we are.
Let me clear about one thing – we will return to the PST with the exemptions that existed prior to the introduction of the HST. That is what people voted for and that is what will happen.
I have directed the Minister of Finance to act without delay to move back to the PST and to begin negotiations with the federal government to wind down the HST. As he noted earlier, this will happen no later than March 2013.
The reason we are discussing tax policy in the first place is because we need to have a low tax regime that helps create jobs and grow our economy. This remains the priority for my government and we will be soon outlining an important initiative on jobs that has been many months in the making.
While we are planning to return to the GST/PST system as the public has directed us to do, we will also be introducing measures that keep us competitive and help BC businesses create jobs and maintain the jobs we have in BC.
Our plan for made in BC jobs will be coming forward in a matter of weeks and we will focus on diversifying our markets for trade and clearing the path to job creation.
This decision, along with the instability in the global economy, also makes it more important than ever we maintain our prudent, fiscally responsible approach to government spending. This government is absolutely committed to retaining our place as a low-tax jurisdiction in Canada and to balanced budgets.
This is the path Kevin Falcon has kept us on and I want to say how much I appreciate his work, especially his leadership in helping us close the gap on the HST.
Let me close with a personal note to British Columbians. This HST debate has been a long, sometimes contentious, process for our province. While I shared your concern at the way the HST was brought in, our government tried to make things right by listening and engaging with you, then making bold changes.
This is a change in how government works and we are going to stick with this open government approach.
While my officials will continue to implement our plan to wind down the HST, it is time for us as a province to turn the page.
From Courtenay to Cranbrook to Surrey, British Columbians want us to get on with building our economy and creating a bright future for our families. And that’s what we will do.