Falcon favours reducing the HST, not eliminating it

Liberal leadership hopeful Kevin Falcon likes the HST but wants to see its rate dropped to 10 per cent from 12 per cent.

Kevin Falcon

Liberal leadership hopeful Kevin Falcon likes the HST but wants to see its rate dropped to 10 per cent from 12 per cent.

Falcon, who stopped in Kelowna Monday to talk to Liberal Party members, told reporters it would be “irresponsible” for the government to voluntarily axe the tax because he believes it is good for the province.

But he does want to see an immediate reduction of the 12 per cent rate to 11 per cent and a further one per cent reduction as soon as the economy allows for it.

Saying he is open to holding the referendum on the HST’s future earlier than September, the former health minister said he wants to make sure the public has more information about the tax before voting on it.

Information, he said, was something the government did not provide prior to introducing the controversial tax last year.

Like all the other Liberals running to replace Premier Gordon Campbell, Falcon now says the government did a woeful job of introducing the tax, something most in his party denied before the anti-HST group FightHST forced a referendum on the tax through the province’s initiative law.

But while Falcon said he would consider pushing the date of the HST referendum forward, unlike his main challenger former cabinet colleague-turned-radio talk show host Christy Clark, he does not think the next provincial election should be held any earlier than the scheduled May 14, 2013 date.

He said one of the reasons is that there are dozens of other MLAs who want a say in any decision to hold the election and they need to be heard.

“It’s can’t be seen as one person making the decision,” he said.

Falcon, considered a front runner in the race to succeed outgoing Premier Gordon Campbell, also “respectfully” disagreed with Shuswap MLA George Abbott, another leadership hopeful, who recently said he believes he, not Falcon, is running second behind Clark in the race.

Falcon said he has the numbers to prove Abbott is wrong and offered them to reporters who came to his campaign office, but only on condition they not report the numbers.

He said the reason for the secrecy is because he does not want the other candidates to know how successful he has been at signing up new party members.

As for the response to his candidacy, the Surrey MLA said he considers himself an underdog. And he likes that role.

Using a mixture of technology, such as the Internet and special mobile phone applications, as well as old-fashioned face-to-face meetings, what he’s hearing from the people he speaks to is that the government needs to keep its focus on the economy.

To that end, he promised to cut even more government red tape—the Liberals claim to have already cut 40 per cent— in a bid to move the B.C. economy along.

He also pointed to several transportation projects that were announced or completed under his watch as transportation minister, saying the completion of the William R. Bennett Bridge here was the best day of his political life.

awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Just Posted

Outbreak at Okanagan hospital

Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Kelowna public menorah lit tonight to celebrate Hanukkah

The menorah will be lit tonight after celebrations at 5 p.m. in Stuart Park

Big Band supports children with disabilities in Lake Country

Proceeds from the Okanagan Big Band performance in Vernon supports local kids

Were your hockey cards stolen?

The Kelowna RCMP are looking to reunite a hockey fan with their cards

RCMP look to reunite owner with stolen tools

Kelowna police seek to identify the owner of tablet and tools seized by RCMP

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Warriors ground Rockets in Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw scores five in the third period to down Kelowna in Rockets’ third game of prairie road trip

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Dedicated volunteers look for clues

Police appreciate work of those who provide extra eyes for missing women investigations.

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Horgan on Site C: ‘dammed’ if did, ‘dammed’ if he didn’t

B.C. premier didn’t like keeping massive hydro damn project going, but felt he had to

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Most Read