HST tele-town hall requests public participation 

Government hopes town halls will offer suggestions on how the HST can be improved.

You spoke up, and now the provincial government is ready to hear from you.

The provincial government is gearing up to host a series of telephone town halls relating to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in advance of a province-wide referendum to take place on June 24, a vote that will ask British Columbians whether they wish to continue with HST or go back to the Provincial Sales Tax (PST).

The ministries of finance and transportation jointly announced the formation of the town halls which began April 26.

The province is offering the phone in town-halls as a way to offer suggestions on how the HST can be improved.  The HST has been a controversial proposition in British Columbia, with the province struggling to explain its benefits to a public concerned it will just make purchases more expensive.

The first town-hall-by-call drew close to 33,000 British Columbians in the Surrey and Peace River regions on Wednesday night.

They are budgeted to cost up to $200,000.

Anyone with a publicly listed telephone number will receive a call at home in the early evening on the day that a regional town hall is being held in your area. A canned message will ask whether you're interested in partaking. If you want to participate, you'll be asked to stay on the line and follow any instructions provided in the message.

If you're not interested in participating, you can simply hang up.

A call was planned for the North Shore yesterday, which likely would have included Whistler, but was rescheduled due to the Canucks play-off hockey game. No new date has been set.

Calls on May 9 and 12 may also be moved due to hockey. An additional town hall has been scheduled for May 10 in case calls need to be adjusted.





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