Former premier Bill Vander Zalm says he’s surprised that his quest to extinguish the province’s harmonized sales tax has gone as far as launching recall campaigns against Liberal MLAs.

The first attempt begins today when canvassers in Victoria launch a recall against Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong.

“If we’re successful in recalling the first minister, that will scare the pants off them,” the former Socred premier said yesterday. “But if that doesn’t work, we’ll keep going ... until the HST is gone or the government is gone.”

In September of next year, B.C. will hold a provincewide initiative vote on whether to axe the unpopular tax and Premier Gordon Campbell has said that he will respect the will of the majority.

“All we have is a promise from a premier — who will no longer be premier when the promised initiative vote is to take place. We basically have nothing,” Vander Zalm said.

The timing of the vote, he added, means that there will be “too much game playing, too much false information, too much advertising at the public’s expense.”

The recall campaign aims to pressure cabinet into scrapping the HST or calling a referendum vote in January or February.

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