by Jonathan Fowlie    July 29., 2011

In fighting the Harmonized Sales Tax, Former premier Bill Vander Zalm has regained significant public attention and profile.

But what will happen when the referendum is over, and HST issue is finally put to rest?

Vander Zalm was asked about this Thursday on CBC’s Power and Politics, and offered a surprising answer.

“I expect it will be the end, except now people are calling on me to do this thing all over again for Smart Meters that are proposed to be installed by BC Hydro,” Vander Zalm said in the live interview.

“That’s a whole other issue, but once you do this sort of thing, people think you can do this magically and you tend to get a lot of calls about all sorts of things.”

When asked specifically about the Smart Meter issue, Vander Zalm said he didn’t know that much, but does know they are generating a lot of interest.

“They’re very unpopular from the sound of things, at least if you’re listening to some of the call in shows,” he said.

“People are upset that Hydro is sepnding this much money on Smart Meters and they are worried about the effect of the electromagnetic field as well as being spied upon,” he added.

“All these sorts of things that I’m not yet aware of and maybe should stay away from, but it’s a big issue.”

Fight HST leader Bill Vander Zalm backs battle against B.C. Hydro’s smart meters

By Carlito Pablo, August 4, 2011

After fighting the harmonized sales tax, Bill Vander Zalm isn’t totally fading into the sunset. He’s turning his attention to B.C. Hydro’s controversial smart meters. But the former B.C. premier won’t play a high-profile role on this issue like he did in the battle against the HST.

“That’s of concern to a lot of people out there right now,” Vander Zalm told the Straight in a phone interview about the Crown corporation’s $930-million program to install digital meters in every home and business, starting this summer. “And I’ll morally support them [opponents of the meters]. They’re on the right thing. But I can’t get in there and do a lot of work for them like I did for the HST. That meant travelling the province, meeting with a lot of people, and organizing, and working at the computer here at home until all hours of the night.”

According to the leader of the Fight HST campaign, many people believe that the meters invade privacy, emit electromagnetic radiation that’s harmful to health, and are part of a “money grab”.

Chris Delaney, lead organizer of Fight HST, is going back to his filmmaking business and tending to his Christmas tree farm.

“If [B.C. premier] Christy Clark calls for an election in the fall or spring, then chances are I probably wouldn’t run,” Delaney, who’s also the spokesperson for the B.C. First Party, told the Straight by phone when asked about his immediate political plans.

Ballots for the HST mail-in referendum must be received by Elections B.C. before 4:30 p.m. on Friday (August 5).

Elections B.C. spokesperson Don Main told the Straight by phone from Victoria that the electoral body sent out a total of 3.05 million ballot packages. Main said that the referendum result is expected to be announced in late August.