HST Public Forums Coming to the Lower Mainland

Tue, May 31, 2011

For immediate release

HST Public Forums Coming to the Lower Mainland

METRO VANCOUVER, BC – (June 1, 2011) – Additional details are now available for four public dialogue sessions being held in the Lower Mainland over the next week in advance of the BC referendum on the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

The HST Public forums – taking place in 10 BC communities at public universities, colleges and institutes – are the result of the Government of BC's $500,000 Public Dialogue Fund. During each forum, the yes and no sides will present their views about the HST Referendum in a public meeting format. The goal is to generate informed discussion before the vote. The post-secondary institutions have selected independent representatives to moderate the forums in a non-partisan way.

Details of HST Public Forums in Surrey, Abbotsford and Vancouver:

Surrey HST Public Forum
Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
12666 72nd Ave, Surrey
Conference Centre, Cedar Building, room 1205
Moderated by: Arthur Coren, Dean of the School of Business, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Abbotsford HST Public Forum
Friday, June 3, 2011 – 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
University of the Fraser Valley
33844 King Road, Abbotsford
B101 Lecture Theatre
Moderated by: Rod Thomson, Board Chair, University of the Fraser Valley

Vancouver HST Public Forum
Saturday, June 4, 2011 – 10:30 am to noon (note – this is a daytime session)
University of British Columbia
Telus Studio Theatre at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, 6265 Crescent Road, UBC Campus
Moderated by: Journalist Kathryn Gretsinger

Vancouver HST Public Forum
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 – 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Simon Fraser University Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue
580 West Hastings Street, across from SFU Harbour Centre
Asia Pacific Hall at the Centre for Dialogue
Moderated by: Peter Holt, Director, Buckley Blair Consulting Inc.

People are invited to attend the sessions or watch them on the Internet at hstpublicforums.ca. The website has an online forum where people can express their opinions. (updated April, 2014 - the website is no longer exists) Citizens can also participate in the discussion via Facebook (www.facebook.com/HSTForums) and Twitter (@HSTForums, hashtags:

#HSTforums, Surrey Forum: #HSTSurrey, Abbotsford Forum #HSTAbbotsford, Vancouver Forums: #HSTVancouver). Videos from the Forums will be available on YouTube: (www.youtube.com/HSTPublicForums).

Representatives from two groups that have been successful in their request for public funding will be the presenters at each forum. The Government of BC has appointed Stephen Owen, a former BC Ombudsman with extensive experience in public engagement and mediation, as an independent funding decision maker. His role – the Referendum Funding Decision Maker (RFDM) – is to ensure a fair process in allocating public funding of $500,000 to both sides in the HST Referendum.

Owen has awarded two groups the right to apply for up to $250,000 each. The groups are the Fight HST Society (the "yes" side, supporting a referendum vote to return to the PST/GST) and the Smart Tax Alliance (the "no" side, supporting a referendum vote to retain the HST).

The RDFM is also responsible for working with three provincial organizations representing post secondary institutions to organize the public forums. The organizations are: BC Colleges, BC Association of Institutes and Universities and the Research Universities' Council of BC. The organizations administer the Public Dialogue Fund.

Next week, the final two sessions in the 11-forum series will be held on Vancouver Island.

June 8
(7:30 pm to 9:00 pm)
Victoria Camosun College (Lansdowne Campus)
June 9
(7:30 pm to 9:00 pm)
Nanaimo Vancouver Island University

Media Contact: Sam Corea
E-mail: media@hstpublicforums.ca