While Ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty has to fend off opposition attacks over the looming implementation of the HST, British Columbia’s government has faced widespread public anger. On Friday a B.C. cabinet minister resigned over the issue.

Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom quit his cabinet post in B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell’s government and exited the provincial Liberal caucus.

"It was a tough decision but it had to be made. Fundamentally, the HST is it," Lekstrom told The Canadian Press. "The people I represent say we want to talk to you about this, we want you to put the brakes on the HST."

Lekstrom, MLA for Peace River South and a former mayor of Dawson Creek, has been a provincial politician since 2001.His riding is adjacent to Alberta, which doesn't have a provincial sales tax at all. Communities in that part of B.C. are hotly opposed to the HST, fearing loss of sales to businesses across the border.

The Globe and Mail identified Lekstrom as one of eight MLAs particularly vulnerable to a recall. Four of the eight are cabinet ministers.

"I think it reflects the level of intensity on this one," said Allan Tupper, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, about the resignation.

On Thursday night, Campbell -- who said an HST wasn't up for consideration during the last provincial election -- admitted his government had done a poor job of selling the tax, which blends provincial sales taxes and the GST. It will result in a harmonized rate of 12 per cent.

Ontario's harmonized rate will be 13 per cent when it takes effect on July 1.

While there is unhappiness with the HST in Ontario, there is nowhere near the degree of public anger that one sees playing out in B.C.

Tupper said he thinks the anger in his province stems from a combination of people feeling misled, poor communications by the B.C. government and general anti-tax sentiment.

David Docherty, a political science professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said it must drive Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak wild to see the degree of populist revolt in B.C. while here, "We say, 'Darn, we hate paying more taxes. Who do I make that cheque out to again?'"

Unlike Ontario, B.C. doesn't have any transitional payments to ease the burden. Hudak will have a media availability session on Monday to talk about what he terms the Ontario "HST bribe cheques."

Ontario received $4.3 billion from Ottawa to ease the transition to the harmonized environment. The federal Conservatives had offered B.C. $1.6 billion.

Ontario's Revenue Minister John Wilkinson held a photo opportunity on Thursday with a GTA family to highlight the fact that the first transitional payments are on their way.

Hudak and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath have both been aggressively lobbying against the tax, but the ghosts of Ontario's political past have stayed out of the debate.

In B.C., former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm has provided a leading voice for the populist opponents of the tax. B.C. NDP Leader Carole James has also been crusading against the tax. Polls suggest that if an election were held today, her party would win.

An anti-HST petition that seeks the tax's repeal in B.C. reached the threshold needed to trigger a referendum. Efforts could be formally launched to get some MLAs recalled over the tax, although recalling a sitting MLA or getting the HST repealed through a referendum would both be tough to do.

Previous B.C. recall and referendum battles have turned messy, with the courts becoming involved, Tupper said. He thinks the Campbell government is more concerned about the referendum than the recalls.

Docherty said that unlike Ontario, political activists in B.C. have those tools of referendums and recalls around which to organize campaigns.

"In Ontario, "We just shrug our shoulders and say: 'Oh well, what are you going to do? It's a majority government. We'll just have to wait until the next time to get those rascals'," he said.

The B.C. situation has also managed to aggravate left-wing populists -- who see the HST as regressive -- and right-wing populists who hate all taxes, he said.

"It's one of those things that's been able to unite those factions (in B.C.), where even if they're not working together, they're working towards the same ends," Docherty said. "With Ontario, without those larger extremes, it's tough to generate that type of anger."

Ontarians "are still not angry. I can't explain why they're not angry," he said. But the professor wondered if that will change as Ontarians start to feel the HST's effects.

In both provinces, however, the HST shows the difficulty of selling good public policy when it makes for bad  politics, Docherty said.

With files from The Canadian Press