A vote in today’s federal byelection is a vote for or against the controversial Harmonized Sales Tax, NDP candidate Fin Donnelly said in an interview yesterday.

Four federal ridings — including New Westminster–Coquitlam and Port Moody — are up for grabs. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“This will be the first opportunity for people in B.C. to send a message to the Harper Conservatives,” said Donnelly, a three-time Coquitlam city councillor. “Harper clearly has an agenda to implement the HST right across the country.”

The HST will be implemented July 1 with the support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government.

Other candidates were critical of the status quo and urged voters to support fresh faces and policies.

Green party candidate Rebecca Helps said if elected, she will not be bound by party lines.

“(The byelection) won’t change the government, but electing a Green MP will benefit the community,” she said. “I will represent this community and vote for its best interest.”

The byelection is Liberal candidate Ken Beck Lee’s first foray into politics, something he said voters should bear in mind when they are at the polls.

“I have real-life experience to back me up,” he said. “There needs to be more politicians out there like me.”

Conservative candidate Diane Dilworth did not return calls yesterday.

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