Referendum and Recall Drive Loom as Serious Threats to BC Liberals

Three-quarters of British Columbians would vote to abolish the HST if the referendum were held today.

With the implementation of a harmonized sales tax (HST) looming in British Columbia, the rancour towards the tax and anger towards the government has not abated, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found

The online survey of a representative sample of 1,612 British Columbia adults also shows that three-in-four respondents would vote to abolish the HST if the province were to hold its first citizen initiated referendum today.

Voting Intention

Across British Columbia, 46 per cent of decided voters (-1 since April) say they would support the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in their constituency if a provincial election were held tomorrow.

The governing BC Liberals are second with 26 per cent (-3), followed by the Green Party with 14 per cent (unchanged), and the BC Conservatives Party with eight per cent (+3).

In order to assess the impact of the HST on BC Liberal fortunes, we asked respondents if they would reconsider their support under two different scenarios. About one-in-five voters (22%) would be more likely to vote for the BC Liberals if they backed off the HST, but more (28%) would be less likely to do so. One third of respondents (34%) say they would be just as likely to support the party in the next provincial election.

If Gordon Campbell were to step down as Premier, it would have even less of an impact on the BC Liberals vote. One-in-six voters (16%) would be more likely to vote BC Liberal if Campbell was not the Premier, but 23 per cent would be less likely. For a party caught in a difficult political situation, neither of these drastic options provides much relief or an easy way out.


Overall, 76 per cent of British Columbians say they disagree with the implementation of the HST (down six points since April). Disagreement is most vehement on Vancouver Island and in the Southern Interior (both 78%).

In a referendum on the HST, which now seems inevitable, 76 per cent of British Columbians would vote to abolish it, 17 per cent to keep it and seven per cent are undecided. More than four-in-five decided voters (82%) would cast a ballot to abolish the HST.

Recall of MLAs

Voters in provincial ridings held by the BC Liberals were asked if they would sign a petition to recall their MLA—an idea that has been proposed by some anti-HST activists. Almost half of respondents in these ridings (45%) said they would definitely sign a petition to recall their MLA and another 17 per cent would probably sign it.

In all, 31 per cent of people who voted for the BC Liberals in the 2009 election—and who are currently represented by a BC Liberal member in the legislature—would definitely sign a recall petition. The numbers are highest on Vancouver Island (53% would definitely sign the petition) and the Southern Interior (48%).

These levels of support are well above the required threshold to recall an MLA. For an MLA to be recalled, the petition must be signed by more than 40 per cent of the voters who were, on the date of the last election of the Member, registered voters for the Member’s electoral district.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)


Hamish Marshall, Research Director, Public Affairs
+604 647 1987

Methodology: From June 1 to June 6, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,612 randomly selected British Columbia adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.4%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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Post Date: June 10, 2010 @ 4:05am

Categories: Canada

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  1. June 12, 2010 at 10:01 am - Reply

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    Things are getting worse, in our small city, 4 more small businesses have closed their doors. The survival rate, because of the HST, is going to force many more closed doors. The big profit corporations, banks, gas and oil company’s, are given millions of our tax dollars, huge tax reductions, and now the gift of the HST to boot. The big chains, only give their employees 20 hours per week, to avoid paying benefits. 20 hours, and an $8.00 per hour salary, is not nearly enough to live on. Why is home heat going up 6%, hydro graduating to 33%, the new carbon tax 4.45, this is in the budget. Phone and cable has the HST applied, and from a nail file, to lumber, a can of paint, has the HST. Everything a person and families need to run their homes, is taxed. Do Campbell and Hansen, actually think, we citizens can pay for all of that? I e-mailed to ask, but, of course got no response. The combination of the budget and, the long arm of the HST, is going to put people, living on the streets. The number of children and seniors living in poverty, has taken a sharp rise. However, Campbell, Hansen and the BC Liberal Party, have no concern. They are rabid for money, because, they have financially destroyed this province, and have stooped to some very low tactics to get it.

  2. June 15, 2010 at 9:10 am - Reply

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    The only truth, the Liberals, have spoken is that the HST will be good for the economy. For the profit makers.
    As a consumer, I expect a replay of the GST farse, which was supposed to lower prices because the manufacturing sector no longer had to pay the 13.5 % MST (manufacturing sales tax). Since the retailer didn’t have to absorb it any longer, you would think that, less the provincial tax, (which the retailer got back) the consumer could have expected lower prices. What did we get? A new 9% tax. The corporations are running BC and our elected officials are giving them more and more control. Just as communism fell, it’s time for capitalism to go.

  3. June 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm - Reply

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    The tenor of the HST battle in BC is exasperating. Bill Van derZalm is leading the charge in his usual manner with exited generalities and exagerations. His current claim that HST will costs a family of 4 and $80k household income $2k is just not possible, unless the entire family for services not previously taxed. The reality is, the HST will cost some, but likly far less than what is being reported. The discussion and retoric in BC now is … so BC, and defies any sensible logic. Mr. Van der Zalm has caused a lifetime’s worth of damage to the BC economy by the buffoon government he led from 1986-1991, and the 9 years of NDP government he ushered in. I wish he would return to his retirement and stop having fun at our expense.