VANCOUVER — More than 1.6-million registered voters have mailed in their ballot and had their say in B.C.’s Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) referendum.Don Main, a spokesperson for Elections B.C., told CBC News that about 52 per cent of eligible voters are weighing in on the controversial tax, which has been hotly contested by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association for being, they argue, a hardship on restaurateurs.
The results of the referendum are expected to be reported on Aug. 25. If the tax is defeated, the province will return to instituting a seven-per-cent provincial sales tax and five-per-cent government sales tax on most goods and services, as it did prior to the HST passage. However, despite the high voter response, some say it’s hard to predict the outcome.
“There’s no indication where these votes are coming from, and whether these votes are coming from specific people who may have been opposed to the HST from the get-go or those who are actually worried about it being replaced,” Mario Canseco, vice-president with Angus Reid Public Opinion, told The Canadian Press. “When you have an election, it’s a little bit easier to figure it out in the early stages as you see which areas are voting more.”