Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters Wednesday that he expects British Columbia to repay $1.6 billion it received from Ottawa to implement the harmonized sales tax if it scraps the controversial levy. A province-wide mail-in referendum on whether to keep the HST ended August 5. Results aren’t expected until August 25. Flaherty said the repayment is in line with a 2009 accord between Ottawa and B.C. in which the province pledged not to eliminate the HST until July 1, 2015. An independent panel in B.C. estimated earlier this year that it would take 18 to 24 months for the province that transition back to a PST-GST system. The HST was implemented in July 2010 by the government of former Premier Gordon Campbell. The tax generated controversy in the province that led to this summer’s referendum. The HST applies taxes on more goods and services than the PST did.