Opposition critics say up to 20 per cent of restaurants could go under early this year

New Democrats are renewing their call to move up the HST referendum after the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association said up to 20 per cent of existing restaurants could close in the first quarter of 2011.

  • Jan. 25, 2011 9:00 a.m.

New Democrats are renewing their call to move up the HST referendum after the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association said up to 20 per cent of existing restaurants could close in the first quarter of 2011.

“The B.C. Liberals have made a series of policy decisions that are decimating the restaurant industry,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, the New Democrat tourism critic. “Some restaurants have already shut down, and recently we learned that many more could be closing their doors for good.

The B.C. Liberals must move up the HST referendum to give B.C. the economic certainty it needs, and rebuild consumer confidence.”

Ian Tostenson, President of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association said on CHNL radio last week that, “You could see a net decrease of restaurants, and I would say anywhere from 10 to 20 per cent of that 12,000 could just evaporate in the first quarter of 2011.”

Tostenson also called for the HST vote to be moved up.

“It’s like a perfect storm for restaurants – B.C. Liberal policies mixed with traditionally slower months for restaurants,” said Chandra Herbert. “At a time when the B.C. Liberals should be doing what they can to help restaurants stay open, the leadership hopefuls are bickering over whether to allow British Columbians to have their say on the HST deception through a referendum.”