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Lawyer: HST is unconstitutional

"There should be no taxation in British Columbia without representation." With that call to arms, veteran constitutional lawyer Joe Arvay outlined powerful arguments against imposition of the Harmonized Sales Tax by the BC Liberal government without a vote in the BC Legislature to do so.

Arvay is acting for Fight HST and its leader, former Premier Bill Vander Zalm, in a BC Supreme Court legal action that seeks to have the HST declared unconstitutional.

The case is being heard by Chief Justice Robert Bauman andis opposed by the provincial government and a coalition of big business groups, who have launched their own legal action to overturn the successful Fight HST citizens Initiative petition signed by 705,643 voters.

Arvay's argument is that while the BC Liberal government repealed the previous Provincial Sales Tax it never passed legislation imposing the Harmonized Sales Tax - thereby violating Section 53 of the Constitution Act.

"In every other province that has the HST there was such a law - in BC there is no such law," Arvay said. "The whole point is to require a law and then a Bill before there is a tax."

Instead, Arvay stated, the HST was imposed through an agreement between the provincial and federal governments signed on BC's part by Finance Minister Colin Hansen.

A longer version of this post is available on Bill Tieleman's blog.

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