Independent panel appointed to report on HST referendum options

  • Feb. 15, 2011 12:00 p.m.

A newly appointed independent panel will report to British Columbians on a fact-based analysis of the implications of keeping the HST or returning to the PST and GST sales tax system, Parliamentary Secretary for HST Information John Les and Finance Minister Colin Hansen announced last month.

“British Columbians want and deserve to have all the facts about the two options so they can make an informed decision on whether to support the HST or to return to the PST and GST sales tax systems,” said Les.

“Given the fractious debate that has led to the HST referendum, we feel that it is essential for voters to receive an independent, expert assessment of the options in the upcoming referendum,” said Hansen.

The panel members are Jim Dinning, former finance minister of Alberta, chair of the Canada West Foundation and chancellor of the University of Calgary; former B.C. Auditor General George Morfitt; Coast Capital Savings CEO Tracy Redies; and Simon Fraser University professor John Richards. The panel will be chaired by Jim Dinning.

“Members of the panel understand how important this referendum decision is for British Columbians and the future of the province. We know people want to understand the choices and what they mean. Voters need the facts before they go to vote,” said Dinning. “The panel will do all that it can to deliver to British Columbians a plain-speaking, straightforward set of facts that will help them make a choice.”

The panel has 10 weeks to complete its work and will deliver a final report to the public by the first week of April 2011.

Terms of Reference for the panel are available on the newly launched HST website: www.hstinbc.ca.