Saturday, December 24, 2011

CAITI's Outstanding Canadian of 2011 Award: Bill Vander Zalm

Bill Vander Zalm's successful fight against the Harper government's regressive HST is a MOST RARE example of democracy in action in Canada:

How it felt: To lead a revolt that killed a sales tax and helped drive a premier from office

Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 23, 2011 8:43PM EST

Former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm was at the forefront of a fight to kill the province’s HST tax. About 700,000 signatures were gathered to spark a referendum

When we announced the initiative campaign, many in the media said it could never be done. We started up north, thinking this would be the most difficult area. When Fort St. John, a normally Conservative/Liberal area, gave us a rousing welcome with prominent party members offering to lead the campaign in their area, we knew the people were definitely on side.

The signature collecting started in 2010. Our fearless signature collectors worked outside in rain, sleet and snow. People were wonderful, wished us well and brought us hot drinks.

When big business saw they might lose it, they brought on a court case, claiming our petition was unconstitutional. With little resources against megabucks, we fought and won.

The most memorable days came when the petition sheets began rolling back from all over the province. They came hand-delivered, by Greyhound, by FedEx or by Purolator to our house. When the media asked where these went, we responded “the vault” – a large room in our house with double-lock doors. We refused to tell them where and what “the vault” was. If one box, from any one constituency was damaged, we would lose the fight.

For many weeks, our normally tidy house was a disaster. My wife Lillian checked every one of 100,000-plus petition sheets, which were spread out everywhere. We even refused visitors to come to the house, no one was to know.

Two weeks before the due date, we loaded up a rental truck for delivery to Elections BC in Victoria. What a celebration.

— Written by Bill Vander Zalm


Dr Mike said...

It just goes to show you that the "little guy" can win.

Well done Bill.

Well done everyone in BC.

Dr Mike Popovich

Unknown said...

It just goes to show you that the "little guy" can win.

Well done Brent.

You may have lost a battle but you haven,t lost the war.

Thanks Brent for all your efforts.

Most Honourable Canadian in my opinion, and the most respected one at that.

Don Bool

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Well done citizens of B.C. Wishing you all the best in your fight over the gouging smart meter!

Hydro rates have soared in Ontario for consumers. This legislation is especially unfair for seniors and those who work from home.
Large corporations are rewarded and offered approx. 1 million dollars a day for simply reducing their power consumption (summer). Of course at the tax payers expense.

Well done on the HST!