TORONTO - Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Randy Hillier denied he was making up policy on the fly Tuesday after he vowed to abolish the harmonized sales tax set to take effect next year.

The merger of the eight per cent Ontario sales tax with the five per cent goods and services tax into a single 13 per cent tax is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2010, and will apply to many goods and services that are currently exempt from the PST.

Less than a week ago, at the first debate between the four candidates to replace John Tory as PC leader, Hillier said he would trim the PST portion of the HST to five per cent if he wins the leadership and becomes premier.

Hillier's position changed abruptly Tuesday after Finance Minister Dwight Duncan taunted him in the legislature by saying none of the Tory leadership candidates had said they would undo the HST, despite their non-stop attacks on the plan.

"Unlike the other side, I do answer questions," Hillier said.

"I would repeal the HST."

That prompted an uproar in the chamber and a long delay in proceedings, but Hillier still had the floor once things settled down again.

"And I'll remind you that I don't break my promises either," he said to howls of support from the Opposition benches.

Hillier, a self-described "dark horse" candidate, has been announcing more new policies than his rivals and helping set the party's agenda in the process, as other candidates try to secure the second-choice vote of Hillier's supporters on the preferential ballots that will be used to pick a new leader.

One of the perceived front-runners, Tim Hukak, was quick to adopt Hillier's call to abolish the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which had originally been set up by the Conservatives.

Duncan said he couldn't wait to see if Hillier's rivals jump on the new position on the HST, and predicted it could lead to a family fight between Christine Elliott and her husband, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

"What about Christine Elliott? That'll be an interesting discussion to see," Duncan told the legislature.

"I wonder if she'll change her position, and I wonder if there'll be an internal debate not only within the party, but within the family on that particular issue."

Duncan and Flaherty hammered out the surprise deal to blend Ontario's sales tax with the five per cent GST, but Elliott has made it clear she has no problem holding different positions than her husband.

Outside the legislature, Duncan said it was clear he had prodded his Conservative colleague into a flip-flop.

"He's making it up on the fly," Duncan charged.

"He said one thing last week and we'll see what he says next week."

Hillier denied he was making up policy on the go, and called on the Liberal government to delay implementation of the HST until after the 2011 Ontario election.

"Why don't we make that an election subject, put it in front of people and see if they'll reject it?" he said.

"Defer it for one more year. That's a sensible and reasonable thing to do."

Sales tax harmonization was something the Ontario Progressive Conservatives once supported, but they now say it amounts to a massive tax hike at the wrong time.

About 40,000 party members will be eligible to cast ballots June 21 and 25, with the winner being announced at a convention in Markham on July 27.