Recall collected 2,000 signatures in Maple Ridge-Mission

Maple Ridge resident Lea McIntosh signs a  petition to recall Liberal MLA Marc Dalton.

Maple Ridge resident Lea McIntosh signs a petition to recall Liberal MLA Marc Dalton.

Had it gone the entire eight weeks, Corisa Bell says she would have reached the required 14,882 votes to remove Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton and force a byelection.

She bases her opinion on the 2,000 to 2,500 signatures collected after the first two weeks of canvassing, during spring break, when many residents weren’t home.

But the Done With Dalton drive was called off last week so the FightHST campaign can focus on winning the June 24 mail-in vote on the Harmonized Sales Tax, announced Friday by the provincial government.

“We’re very happy with the numbers,” Bell said Thursday, adding the petition sheets will be collected today.

“They were on track and on pace and we were definitely pleased with what we had.”

Bell, though, is still angry with Dalton for refusing to debate the HST. Previously, he said he would debate the issue on April 7 if the recall drive was cancelled.

While recall is no longer a possibility, Dalton has said the event is too political.

“As far as the debate goes right now, the timeline isn’t right for me to attend,” he said Monday.

“I’m not keen on this, just because of the political connotations. I really believe the HST has to be judged on its own merits.”

He said government caucus also will discuss the issue and how to handle public input leading up to the vote.

Bell, though, says she would host a debate on any date to suit Dalton and talked to him about that this week.

“All he had was excuse, after excuse, after excuse. He’s just no different than what we experienced with the Liberals for the last two years here,” Bell said.

She added that if Dalton is taking orders from party headquarters on how to the defend the HST, he should just say that.

“I’m very disappointed in Marc.

“I’m just so devastated that he’s our MLA.”