On the eve of the B.C. election campaign officially getting underway, B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark is outlining her vision for the future of the province.
Unlike the last election, where Clark focused heavily on the LNG industry, today’s message was more varied, and the premier says she’s not “putting all the eggs in one basket.”
She says her government will continue to invest in the tech sector, which will lead to the graduation of thousands of more tech-savvy students every year.
Clark adds her government will focus on smart transit expansion, and if elected, will welcome ride-share companies like Uber to the province later in the year.
When it comes to the money in British Columbians’ pockets, she says the B.C. Liberals will ensure it stays there.
“And because we can afford it, we are giving middle-class British Columbians a billion dollar tax cut, by cutting MSP in half, which is the first step toward eliminating it all together…we’re going to freeze personal income taxes for four years.”
When questioned about rising rates, including at B.C. Hydro, she countered by saying hydro rates are the fifth lowest in North America.
Clark’s government has also proposed an earthquake early warning system for schools and hospitals.
In all, these new promises will cost $157-million a year by 2020.
These add to promises already announced, including capping bridge tolls at $500 a year and a tax break for people who live in ferry-dependent communities.
Clark says freezing those tolls is part of their plan to make the B.C. easier to live in.
“It’s a big issue of affordability for people, and remember it applies to bridges, the two bridges that are tolled now and future bridges as well. We want to make sure life stays affordable for people.”
On the other hand, their platform contained no mention of raising welfare rates or helping B.C.’s most vulnerable children.
— Charmaine de Silva (@char_des) April 10, 2017
Clark says their plan for those issues was in the most recent budget.
“In our budget, we put a huge increase into the Ministry of Children and Families… that was the second increase two years in a row. That was to make sure we provide a lot more front line workers for them.”
Clark says unlike the B.C. NDP, her party won’t be forced to raise taxes because it’s spending billions of dollars.
B.C. NDP leader John Horgan reacted to Clark’s claims in a press conferences just minutes after the Liberals’ announcement.
Horgan says they’re outright falsehoods.
“What I’ve noticed about Christy Clark is when she gets backed into a corner she just makes stuff up – she’ll say just about anything to get through the news cycle.”
He says the Liberals are grasping at straws to make the NDP look bad.
“I reject most of the things that she says, and now that we’re in the final stages of her government – 28 days to go – she can’t rely on her legion of public servants to put ads out on her behalf. She’s on her own, and she should speak the truth.”
Regarding how the NDP would pay for their own platform, Horgan says those details will come later in the week.