B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announces plan for more police and psychiatric support teams, Vancouver, Oct. 7, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announces plan for more police and psychiatric support teams, Vancouver, Oct. 7, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party)

B.C. VOTES 2020

B.C. Liberals promise to ban elections in a provincial emergency

Andrew Wilkinson rolls out party platform before debate

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson released his party’s platform for the Oct. 24 election Tuesday, as party leaders prepared for their only leaders’ debate in the surprise election called by NDP leader John Horgan.

Wilkinson pledged to amend B.C.’s election law if he forms the next government, banning elections during provincial states of emergency such as the one that has been extended since the COVID-19 pandemic began early this year. Horgan used the provision in the current law to advise Lt. Gov. Janet Austin to call the election a year before it is scheduled.

The platform includes a pledge to build 10,000 new child care spaces, and appoint an independent commission to review all provincial taxes, including the 23 new or increased taxes that the B.C. Liberals say have been added during three years of NDP minority government.

The platform includes an ambitious 60-day program for a B.C. Liberal government, including a COVID-19 economic response plan that incorporates Wilkinson’s promise to cancel the provincial sales tax for a year and bring it back at a lower rate.

The 60-day plan includes a pledge to “improve students’ and teachers’ health and safety, by implementing a province-wide framework for hybrid and online learning options, promoting distance learning programs and restoring the $12 million the NDP cut from independent distributed learning programs.”

RELATED: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

RELATED: NDP offers $1,000-per-family payments in platform

RELATED: B.C. Greens call for new transit, municipal funding

With B.C.’s deficit already estimated at nearly $13 billion for the current fiscal year, Wilkinson repeated his vow that a B.C. Liberal government would not cut services to balance the books. The platform contains more than $2 billion in new spending commitments, including an additional $200 million to improve health care.

The PST cut alone would cost nearly $7 billion in the first year. Wilkinson said his target is to return B.C. to a balanced budget within five years, but for the near future, every developed country is borrowing heavily to get through the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy.

A top priority is tourism, where the B.C. Liberals have promised loan guarantees as bridge financing for tourism and hospitality business that are worried about getting through the winter.

“We need to avoid a complete collapse in our tourism industry, and that’s what we intend to do,” Wilkinson said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Castlegar sees spike in crime over winter

Local RCMP report increase in calls

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Kirk Duff is running for mayor in the upcoming Castlegar byelection Photo: Submitted
Third candidate enters Castlegar mayor’s race

Kirk Duff previously served 18 years as a city councillor

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

The Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trail Society will build a trail on Mount Buchanan, seen here with society secretary Stuart Heard, with support from Columbia Basin Trust. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay trails receive Columbia Basin Trust funding

Several locations in the West Kootenay are undergoing upgrades

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read