HST threatens consumer confidence, BC economy

Stephen Harper’s BC caucus must own up to their role in HST fiasco

Stephen Harper must take responsibility for how the HST he engineered is hurting consumer confidence in BC – just as the crucial holiday shopping season approaches, according to Jack Layton. The New Democrat leader was in Vancouver yesterday as part of his ongoing campaign against the HST, imposed last year on BC and Ontario by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

“Gordon Campbell’s time is up because he broke his promise not to impose the HST. Well, Stephen Harper and 22 BC Conservative MPs made a promise too. They promised to make life more affordable, but they’re the ones who forced the HST on this province,” Layton said after chatting with shoppers at the corner of Granville and West Georgia Streets. “Harper and his Conservative MPs have just poured ice water on consumers and BC’s economy, and they simply refuse to take responsibility for what they’ve done.”

An Ipsos Reid poll last week confirmed that the HST is hurting consumer confidence in BC. Seventy-three percent of British Columbians say the HST is hurting them; 54 per cent plan to spend less on decorations; and two-thirds will spend less on gifts. Layton spoke to retailers today who say they no longer expect the holiday sales boost they’d been counting on.

“People are just gobsmacked to hear Conservative MPs saying they’ve got nothing to answer for. By pushing the HST on this province, they’ve made life harder for families in the middle of a recession. And by sapping consumer confidence, they’ve all but ensured the global recession’s effects will linger longer and harder in BC’s economy,” Layton said. “Stephen Harper’s BC Caucus will have a lot to answer for when the next election comes around.”

Jack Layton is the only federal leader who opposed the Harper-Campbell plan to impose the HST on British Columbians. Today, he heads to Prince George to see how the HST is affecting businesses and consumers in that region.

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