By John McDonald
Anything good is worth fighting for. That’s the message Daniel Thorburn has to keep in mind as he struggles to get the local Fight HST campaign off the ground.
“Some people think the NDP petition is what we’re doing—it’s not,” said a frustrated Thorburn, over the phone. “Ours is the only legitimate one, but apparently people are going around with their own petition. That’s going to confuse people and make them think they signed the petition already.”
A local candidate for the B.C. Refederation Party, Thorburn has had to juggle his new responsibilities, while also trying to keep his boss happy.
“We’re up until 3 a.m. getting the petition sheets out to canvassers,” he said. “I’ve had about 500 phone calls in the last couple of days from people thinking they’ve missed the chance to sign the petition.”
Thorburn said Kelowna is “a bit behind” because the regional organizer for the fight against the Harmonized Sales Tax quit suddenly last week.
“Our numbers across the province are down in terms of getting registered canvassers,” he added. “But we’re just getting started and I think it will pick up next week.”
He blamed Elections B.C. for the bottleneck, as each canvasser must be registered, verified and issued identification. “They’ve just been overwhelmed with the amount of people signing on.”
Thorburn estimated about 50 people in the four regions had so far been issued their proper credentials, with more soon to arrive.
“I’ve already told them to go around door to door in their own immediate neighbourhood,” he added.
The legitimate petitions for four regional provincial ridings—Kelowna-Lake Country, Kelowna-Mission, Westside-Kelowna and Vernon-Monashee—can all be signed locally at Maggie’s Cafe in Plaza 33 Mall in Rutland.
Thorburn said roughly 5,000 signatures must be gathered to meet Election B.C. requirements of 10 per cent of registered voters in each riding by July 6. He said he is in touch with campaign leader former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm every day.
“The biggest thing is to let people know that they shouldn’t panic,” he said. “We have three months to do this.”
He urges all people with questions to go to the Fight HST website at fighthst.com for more information about the campaign or how to become a canvasser. He can be reached at 250-864-1385.