by Bill Vander Zalm
What began as a simple tax protest has turned into an outright demand for democracy from an increasingly out of touch and dictatorial government in Victoria.
Our petition has exploded onto the scene in BC, with tens of thousands of signatures in just the first two weeks. We have already met or exceeded our targets in a number of ridings around BC, but people continue to sign in an effort to send a bigger and bigger message to government:
“We want democracy! We want to be heard! We want the politicians we elect to serve us, not the other way around!”
Much of this movement is a reaction to the unbelievably arrogant and intractable statements by the premier and many of his MLAs. News 1130 Radio on April 15 reported the following statement by the premier: Premier Gordon Campbell says it doesn’t matter how many signatures the “No” forces gather. “The HST has been done. We are moving forward with it…”
It doesn’t matter how many citizens sign the petition? It doesn’t matter how many people oppose his policy? It doesn’t matter how many voters reject the direction of his government? They are going to do it anyway?
Does that sound like the Canada we all once knew? Does that sound like the freedom and democracy our ancestors fought and died for in two successive world wars? What is the point of electing MLAs to represent our wishes in Victoria if all they do is represent Victoria’s wishes to us instead?
I want to encourage everyone who cares about democracy in BC to sign our petition. We had originally hoped to get 15% of registered voters’ signatures (more than the 10% required) in every riding to ensure victory. But now, many are saying they want to go even higher to send the government a message.
From Nanaimo to Kelowna, to Kitimat and Courtenay, to Williams Lake and White Rock, to Salmon Arm and Cranbrook, and all points in between, people are signing in droves. In the North Peace, they have already signed 30% of the registered voters there. That is more people than actually voted for the government in the last election!
The Citizen Initiative petition is the greatest tool we have ever had to hold the government’s feet to the fire. It is the greatest chance we have ever had to tell the politicians that BC and Canada is a government of and for the people, not a country of people of and for the government.
BC is the only province in Canada with Initiative and Recall legislation. Nowhere else can citizens mobilize to oppose their government. When the law was written, it was designed not to work. But that was back in 1992, before anyone could anticipate the rise of the Internet and social media. This time, we have the means to have it work, the enthusiasm to see it work, and the people to make it work!
Keep signing the petition. Let’s get as many signatures as we can. And please remember to volunteer. If everyone does a little, no one needs to do a lot.
Let’s send the government a message they will never forget!
To sign the petition or to volunteer as a canvasser, please go to the Fight HST web site where you will find postings on petition gathering sites for each town/region of the province, as well as the forms needed to volunteer. www.fighthst.com. If you don’t have a computer, your local library can help.