Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau responds to questions during a campaign stop in Squamish, B.C., on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

The leader of British Columbia’s Green party took aim at her two larger rivals on Tuesday over the pandemic recovery, a promise on the provincial sales tax and the snap election call.

Sonia Furstenau said a Liberal promise to drop the PST for a year would increase inequality at a time when people need help most.

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry, and accused both parties of not supporting a clean energy economy.

Furstenau made the comments at a campaign stop in Squamish, where she said the Oct. 24 snap election call left the Greens scrambling and likely unable to field a full slate of candidates to run in all 87 B.C. ridings.

“We had exactly zero heads-up notice that this election was coming,” Furstenau said at a news conference.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan called the election last week, about a year ahead of the October 2021 fixed date. Horgan said he struggled with the decision to hold an election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the province needs the stability of a majority government.

In 2017, the NDP formed a minority government after reaching an agreement with the Green party, which held the balance of power.

Furstenau, one of two Greens in the legislature, said the party met with Horgan prior to the election call and committed to supporting the minority government until October 2021.

“John Horgan needs to stop trying to blame this election on anybody but himself,” she said.

Furstenau said she was disappointed the NDP’s $1.5-billion economic recovery plan didn’t do more for tourism.

“It was not the immediate support that the sector sorely needs,” Furstenau said, adding $100 million in targeted funds and a task force gathering information for next year’s tourism season falls short.

Furstenau had similar comments about Andrew Wilkinson’s campaign promise to eliminate B.C.’s seven per cent PST in the first year of a B.C. Liberal government.

“To suggest that to take out revenues from government at a time when we need to deeply invest in services and the infrastructure that this province will need as part of its economic recovery, to me not only shows a lack of imagination but that it’s an irresponsible decision to make at this time,” she said.

Wilkinson said the proposed PST cut is a bold and necessary initiative during unprecedented times.

He said during a campaign stop at Campbell River that the COVID-19 pandemic means the provincial government must make moves to spur consumer and investor confidence.

“So let’s be clear, the provincial sales tax cut will not lead to any reduction in services in B.C.,” said Wilkinson. “We’re in a crisis, folks. It’s time for us to put everything we’ve got into rebuilding B.C.”

Horgan, campaigning in Coquitlam, said the Liberal pledge to eliminate the PST appears to be “desperate, not thoughtful.”

The NDP recovery plan includes targeted tax cuts that offer businesses relief when they purchase new equipment to create jobs.

“Eliminating the PST won’t build one school,” said Horgan, who promised to complete construction of a high school and middle school in the Liberal-held riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

A view of proposed seniors housing on Vernon St. Illustration: City of Nelson/ Vendure Retirement Communities
Nelson seniors housing project to start construction in the spring

Private development on Vernon Street will provide assisted living services as well as housing

The fundraiser is anticipated to occur again next year. Photo: Deb Penner
Castlegar Blue Barn Pet staff raise $15,579 for charities

Staff decided to hold fundraiser after they had to cancel their pet festival this fall

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Enrolment is down across the entire district. File photo
SD 20 experiences small decline in student enrolment

District staff said more parents are homeschooling their children this year due to COVID-19 crisis

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

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
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read