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: Leaders promise action on crime, cancer, COVID-19

John Horgan, Andrew Wilkinson battle over borrowing and spending

NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson sparred over who is more responsible in giving out billions of dollars Wednesday, as each pitched their latest policy ideas to voters.

Horgan outlined the B.C. NDP’s latest 10-year plan, this one for expansion of cancer care. It includes cancer treatment centres in Nanaimo and Kamloops, as well as in a proposed new hospital in Surrey. Adrian Dix, whom Horgan said would continue as health minister if the NDP forms a government after the Oct. 24 vote, said more diagnostic and treatment is needed because in 20 years, B.C. will have twice as many cancer patients as it has now, due to better survival and longer life expectancy of a growing senior population.

Wilkinson continued his theme of public safety, promising that a B.C. Liberal government would dedicate $58 million to the hiring of 100 psychiatric specialist nurses and social workers to support police in dealing with crime and disorder on urban streets. Wilkinson also promised to fund 200 additional police officers and 40 Crown prosecutors, to deal with backlog in criminal cases aggravated by COVID-19 court slowdowns, and to approve charges more quickly.

With a televised leaders’ debate approaching at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, Horgan and Wilkinson are facing questions about their main election spending commitments. For Horgan it’s another round of COVID-19 support payments for most B.C. residents, up to $1,000 for low- and middle-income families and $500 for individuals earning up to $62,500.

RELATED: B.C. Greens propose 4-day work week, free child care

RELATED: NDP corrects platform vow to widen wrong highway

RELATED: Leaders set for 90-minute TV debate on Oct. 13

Wilkinson kicked off his campaign with a promise to eliminate the seven per cent provincial sales tax for a year and then bring it back at a reduced rate of three per cent the following year, with savings for an average family estimated at $1,700. Each promise would add billions to a deficit for the current year that is already estimated at nearly $13 billion.

Horgan rejected suggestions that his $1.4 billion cash payment plan was money held back from the $5 billion COVID-19 aid package that was unanimously approved for borrowing in the legislature this spring. He said the idea was added to the NDP platform after the election call in late September, as a response to Wilkinson “blowing $8 billion” on an across-the-board PST cut.

Wilkinson said the PST reduction would mean $460 more for a person making minimum wage, and savings for everyone could be used for their own priorities.

“Let’s be wary of NDP promises to hand out cheques, and especially when it comes to basically asking government to collect the money and then hand it back to you,” Wilkinson said. “A cut in sales tax stimulates the economy.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Cottonwood Lake fundraiser reaches goal

The community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

Electrophysiology (EP) studies the electrical activity of the heart to determine where an arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) is coming from. Tests must be performed in an EP Lab, a highly specialized medical diagnostic environment. Photo: KGHFoundation.com
New advanced heart rhythm program opens for Interior Health patients

Medical internists provide cardiac care in Trail, Cranbrook, Vernon, Salmon Arm, and Penticton

B.C.’s court of appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Kootenay man appeals 7-year conviction for New Year’s Eve kidnapping, beating

Brandon Coons, 27, was convicted on five charges, including assault with a weapon

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

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

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Gas prices jumped in Golden to 131.9c this week, a trend that's supposed to continue into the summer. (Claire Palmer/Golden Star)
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Clovechok concerned as gas prices continue to rise

Fuel prices are supposed to skyrocket this summer as British Columbians await BCUC analysis

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read