John Horgan: B.C. Liberals put themselves first, families last
If you were given 200 days to make life better for B.C. families, what would you do first?
Maybe you would start by looking at ways to reduce child poverty in this province. Or maybe you would start to address the growing affordability challenges faced by families.
Regardless of your first priorities, chances are you would show up to work, roll up your sleeves, and get started.
That’s not how the B.C. Liberals see it. This year, Family Day marks 200 days since the B.C. legislature last met. That’s 200 days since the B.C. Liberal government showed up to work to address the challenges faced by B.C.’s families.
And in those 200 days, those challenges have only grown. Since the legislature last met, the Liberals have continued to mismanage key files and make life less affordable. Today, we are paying more, and getting less.
Unfortunately, the B.C. Liberals would rather play political games than sit down at the table and get to work.
The first thing the premier did after the election was sign a document that gave huge raises to their own political staffers.
The next thing they did was give plum appointments to failed Liberal candidates.
Then, they cancelled the fall sitting of the legislature, proving that they are willing to delay action on serious issues facing B.C. families when they feel it could help them politically.
Today, they are busy trying to explain a court ruling that showed they tried to provoke a strike and shut down B.C. schools—all because they thought they could get some political mileage from the chaos it would create for families across the province.
Since the May election, the B.C. Liberals have made their priorities clear: their political interest comes first, and B.C. families come last.
In those same 200 days since the legislature last got to work, life has become less affordable, while services that families depend on have declined.
Medical Services Plan premiums climbed while the Liberal government cut planned spending to health authorities, ignoring our overcrowded hospitals. Ferry fares have been increased, and will jump again in April, while the Liberal government announced cuts to ferry services up and down the coast.
And in the fall, just before the legislature should have returned to work, the Liberals announced a hike to hydro rates that will add $300 to the average family’s annual costs—all while allowing the hidden debt at B.C. Hydro to climb.
Meanwhile, the Liberal government has failed to manage our province’s economy, and we are seeing the effects. In the last 200 days, the province’s debt has increased by $2.5 billion—rising faster than under any other premier in B.C.’s history—and we are ninth in the country in private sector job growth. In fact B.C. has lost more than 21,000 full time jobs in the last 200 days.
In other parts of the country, legislatures have been hard at work.
Last year, while B.C.’s legislature sat for just 36 days, every other province’s legislature sat longer—Alberta’s sat for 49 days, Manitoba’s sat for 103 days, Ontario’s 100 days, and Quebec’s sat for 84 days.
Even PEI’s legislature sat for four more days than the B.C. legislature, which represents more than 30 times more people.
The New Democrats are anxious to get back to work, and when we do we’ll be fighting for a province where people come first, not politics.