British Columbia's government is taking a beating over the HST and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says it's partly because of the way it was introduced.

Ignatieff said Tuesday he supports the harmonized sales tax because of its economic benefits, but he said B.C. residents also have a right to rally against it.

"B.C. citizens have every right to protest and every federal government with any sense is going to listen to B.C. when they come back to us," he said of the tax that came into effect after an agreement with Ottawa.

"But let's let this play out in the B.C. legislature, let's see what the process is in the province and then if the B.C. government comes to us with something, then we'll deal with it then," Ignatieff said during a cross-Canada tour stop in Kamloops.

But federal New Democrat MP Libby Davies said Ignatieff didn't vote against the HST bill that the Conservative government rammed through last year. She said the NDP repeatedly challenged the procedural tactics that were being used.

"It's very disingenuous for Ignatieff to come to B.C. and portray himself as a friend of the people of B.C. because of the way the HST was handled when he didn't do anything," Davies said.

"He didn't lift a finger in Ottawa to complain or to challenge or query what had happened in B.C. and how the negotiations took place."

The HST was introduced in B.C. on July 1 after the provincial government said it had no plans to implement it.

That prompted an anti-HST petition signed by 557,000 British Columbians, forcing a legislature committee to deal with the future of the tax.

The all-party committee will meet in the next month to decide if the petition should be sent to a vote in the legislature or whether an anti-HST referendum should be held in September 2011.