Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff distanced himself from the B.C. Liberals while in Vancouver yesterday for his party’s regional policy day.

When asked, Ignatieff said the federal Liberals are not to blame for the looming harmonized sales tax.

“Remember, this is a provincial deal made by Premier (Gordon) Campbell with the (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper government,” Ignatieff said. “We were asked by a provincial government in good faith. They said a harmonized sales tax would create jobs and make the economy competitive.

“As a responsible federal leader I have to listen to what the provincial government says. But now the people are speaking in a very loud voice, and we have to listen to what they’re saying.”

Ignatieff said B.C. MPs “talked intensively” about housing and the environment.

“There is no other place in Canada where affordable housing is more urgent than in the Lower Mainland ... and there is no part of the country where the environment is a bigger issue than in British Columbia,” he said.

Ignatieff also alluded that the federal Liberals’ next federal election platform might include a national housing strategy and a “very robust environmental platform.”

He did not give details.

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