There has been a lot of uninformed opinion by people in distant parts of Canada about the meaning and significance of the referendum in which a majority voted to repeal British Columbia's harmonized sales tax. Usually these critics take the HST in isolation, as a stand-alone issue. In that lies their profound ignorance.
The HST was merely the straw that broke the camel's back and nothing more. It was a referendum that was as much about the government of the day as it was the tax itself. There is a lot of anger toward our corporatist provincial government, probably the second-most corporatist provincial government in Canada. To make any sense of the HST vote you would have to grasp the public anger over this government's handling of BC Ferries, BC Hydro, BC Rail, its unaccountability and secrecy on everything from gas fracking to the Tar Sands pipeline and supertanker port. Stephen Harper would be quite at home with a government of the style of British Columbia's.
Remember that Gordon Campbell had to resign over his botched HST coup. He was driven from office by his own party long before the voters had a chance to toss him out. The premier's party ditched Campbell out of sheer self-preservation.
Now some may deride British Columbians as "hippy dippy" for trying to dodge a viable sales tax but that's an opinion mired in abject ignorance. There's an air of civil disobedience building in British Columbia, a discontent that the provincial NDP has, so far, failed to engage. The HST referendum did very little to vent that discontent.