The HST will put an unfair burden on B.C. residents who require massage therapy, including multiple sclerosis patients, says provincial NDP health critic Adrian Dix.

“(The B.C. Liberals) know the tax is an anomaly, but they’ve handed over control to the federal government, and the federal government policy is wrong,” said Dix. He said taxes on essential massage services should be eliminated, not raised.

Massage therapy is currently only covered under the Premium Assistance program of the Medical Service Plan. The average cost of one session in B.C. is $88.

But the Liberals still defend the unpopular tax.

“The HST will help by reducing taxes for employers and will make B.C. more competitive with other jurisdictions,” B.C. Liberal party spokesman Chad Pederson said yesterday.

The HST is a value-added tax, meaning it will not be applied at every level of production like the PST, which will save businesses and consumers money, say the Liberals. B.C. will also receive $1.6 billion in “transitional funding” from the federal government once the HST is implemented.