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BC party leaders launch opening salvos as election writ drops

Last Updated Apr 11, 2017 at 3:53 pm PDT

John Horgan on Tuesday, April 4th 2017 (Kurtis Doering, NEWS 1130, Photo)

BC Liberals campaigning on the back of a strong economy

NDP aiming to make life more affordable

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The 2017 provincial election campaign has officially begun.

At the Premier’s request, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon has dissolved the legislature, beginning the countdown to voting day on May 9.

Moments after wrapping up her conversation at Government House, incumbent BC Liberal leader Christy Clark started making her pitch to voters.

“This time I have a record to run on,” she says. “I think it’s a record that I feel good about, because we’re number one in job growth, have the lowest unemployment compared with the rest of the country… I’m proud of that.”

Clark released what has been described as a modest platform yesterday, suggesting her party’s ability to run a tight fiscal ship.

“Controlling spending is how we will balance the budget… it will allow us to pay off our operating debt so we can invest in families, schools and hospitals, rather than invest in interest payments we send to the banks.”

NDP’s John Horgan: “this is not as good as it gets”

While the BC Liberals are campaigning on the back of a strong economy, NDP Leader John Horgan says most people aren’t seeing the benefits of it.

“Christy Clark’s choices have added costs to you, they’ve reduced services for you, and they’ve made an economy that’s not working for you,” Horgan told a room of supporters, NDP candidates, and media in downtown Vancouver.

While the party has not yet rolled out its official platform, Horgan says one of its pillars will be building an economy that works for everyone, not just “those who are writing the cheques for the BC Liberal party.”

Many of the specifics revealed so far are aimed at making life more affordable: freezing hydro rates, eliminating tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges, and working toward a universal $10-per-day childcare program.

Horgan also promised to restore funding to public education, which he says has been “devastated” by the BC Liberals.

The NDP have enjoyed a slight lead over the Liberals in election polls for the last several weeks.

Greens lay out ambitious affordable housing strategy

The message from Green Party leader Andrew Weaver today is similar to Horgan’s: average citizens are not enjoying the benefits of BC’s economic prosperity.

“Many are just barely making enough to pay the bills,” he told reporters at False Creek Community Centre. “The BC Liberals have allowed this to happen on their watch over the last 16 years. They’ve put big money and special interests ahead of British Columbians.”

While Weaver is also campaigning on affordability, his focus so far is on housing.

The Greens are aiming to cool the residential real estate market by working to end money laundering and international property speculation, overhauling property transfer taxes, and expanding the foreign buyers tax to apply province-wide.

Their Affordable Homes Strategy would also commit up to $750 million annually towards new affordable housing units, and expend legal protections for renters and landlords.

Weaver reserved some attacks for the NDP, saying in 16 years of opposition, they have failed to provide a workable alternative to the Liberals.

“The strongest argument for voting for the NDP is they’re better than the BC Liberals. That’s hardly an argument to vote for someone. What we’re offering British Columbians is a candidate team that is second to none.”