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HST referendum deadline extended, Tourism Whistler board offers support

Close of voting extended to August 5



The deadline for voting on the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) has been extended to August 5.

In the meantime, Tourism Whistler's board announced that it supports the HST.

In a letter to its members, President and CEO Barrett Fisher said Tourism Whistler supports the province's plans to reduce the tax to 10 per cent in 2014.

"And while the HST increases the cost of food and beverage and activities, it simultaneously reduces the cost of accommodation and retail," she said.

"In addition, research indicates that the HST is a more competitive tax for British Columbia's economy, as it streamlines government collection and eliminates unseen layers of taxation."

Tourism Whistler's endorsement comes on the heels of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce endorsement last month.

July 22 is no longer the deadline for ballots - that date is now the deadline for requesting voting packages from Elections BC and you can mail in your ballot until August 5 at 4:30 p.m.

The order was issued by Craig James, acting Chief Electoral Officer, out of concerns over delays relating to the Canada Post strike that ended after the federal government legislated postal workers back to work on June 26.

The referendum asks voters a simple question: "Yes/No: Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax)?"

A "Yes" vote means that British Columbia will go back to the PST, a seven per cent tax that is levied on certain goods and isn't generally applied to services. Some things will have a 12 per cent tax, others will only have the five per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) applied.

A "No" vote means that British Columbia will keep the HST, currently a 12 per cent tax that will be reduced to 11 per cent in 2012 and 10 per cent in 2014.

Voters in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, which includes Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, are expected to receive HST Referendum Voting Packages in the mail between June 30 and July 7.

To vote you must be a Canadian citizen, aged 18 years or older, on or before July 22, and a resident of British Columbia for at least six months immediately before July 22. You must be registered as a British Columbia voter and not disqualified by law from voting.