New Democrats plan to raise a fuss about B.C.’s forthcoming Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

About 80 people, including NDP Leader Carole James and MLAs from across the Lower Mainland, rallied yesterday outside Crystal Mall in Burnaby.

Some of the demonstrators held placards that read Horrible Sales Tax and Horrible Stupid Tax.

New Democrats, James said, plan to hold similar rallies and have launched a petition calling on the province to scrap the HST.

“Whether the government will listen is up to the government,” James said.

“But I think it is our job and the people of British Columbia’s job to make sure this government hears from them.”

The new 12 per cent HST, which begins July 1, 2010, effectively joins the existing seven per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and five per cent federal Goods and Services Tax (GST).

However, many current PST exemptions could disappear under HST, meaning that consumers could pay more on everything from haircuts to houses.

Asked whether the NDP would repeal the tax if elected, James was non-committal, replying: “It’s always harder to turn the clock back than to do the right thing in the first place.”

Following the rally, James toured Crystal Mall, chatting with vendors.

One of the people she spoke with, Kang Stub of Hana Sushi, said he hates the forthcoming tax and estimated that it will hurt business by 20 per cent.