NDP Leader John Horgan will make life more affordable, create 96,000 jobs, build 114,000 homes, and fix the services people count on as part of his plan to build a better BC.
Horgan made the announcement on Thursday morning as he released the BC NDP election platform in Coquitlam.
He said: “While Christy Clark is looking out for people at the top, my priority is making life better for people. Our plan will create good jobs that grow the economy, make life more affordable for families, and fix the services people count on, all with a balanced budget.
“We’ll pay for it by reversing Christy Clark’s tax cut to the top two per cent, raising corporate taxes, taxing housing speculators and cutting BC Liberal waste. Our investments in people will boost economic growth and create jobs and opportunity for the people of BC.
“Christy Clark’s choices have hurt families and made life harder for people. We’re going to make different choices – choices that help families and make their lives better.”
The platform includes $717 million in new spending for the current fiscal year. After taking into account the $295 million projected surplus in the current budget, and $530 million in projected revenue and savings, Horgan’s plan delivers a $108 million surplus for 2017/18, with projected surpluses of $131 million and $80 million in 2018/19 and 2019/20.
“The BC NDP’s fiscal plan is responsible, feasible, and prudent,” said Dr. Rob Gillezeau, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Victoria. “With the maintenance of both a forecast allowance and contingencies for the next three years, an NDP government would be able to meet its fiscal targets. The long run fiscal sustainability of British Columbia will be maintained under this plan.”
Making life more affordable:
- Eliminating Medical Services Plan fees. MSP will be cut by 50 per cent as of Jan. 1, 2018 and be eliminated completely in the first term of a BC NDP government, saving families up to $1,800 a year.
- Building 114,000 rental, social, co-op and owner-purchased homes over ten years, directly and through partnerships.
- Eliminating interest on BC student loans. Interest will not be charged on existing loans going forward, and will not be applied to new student loans. Students receiving assistance are eligible for a $1,000 completion grant.
- Rolling back ferry fares by 15 per cent on small routes and freezing fares on major routes starting in 2018. The plan also restores the 100 per cent seniors’ weekday discount.
- Stopping Christy Clark’s 42 per cent increase at ICBC.
- Eliminating tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. The lost revenue will be recovered from Christy Clark’s LNG Fantasy Fund.
- Supporting renters with an annual rebate of $400.
- Freezing hydro rates while a review of BC’s crown corporations is underway.
- $10 a day childcare will be implemented over the course of ten years, as recommended by the Coalition of Childcare Advocates.
Good jobs and a sustainable economy:
- Creating 96,000 construction jobs by building schools, hospitals, roads, and rapid transit over the next five years.
- Cutting the small business tax rate by a half-point to support small business.
- Improving tax credits for BC’s technology sector and other strategies to grow innovation, including hiring local software developers and re-establishing the Innovative Clean Energy program cut by the BC Liberals.
- Revitalizing BC’s forest industry and making BC a world leader in engineered wood products.
- Leading on climate action. We have a plan to reduce our carbon footprint and invest in energy efficiency retrofits to public buildings and homes.
- Raising the minimum wage to $15. Wage increases will happen incrementally over the first term of a BC NDP government.
- Making reconciliation with First Nations a priority, creating certainty and opportunity for First Nations and BC’s economy as a whole.
Improve the services people count on:
- Properly funding classrooms and school equipment, so parents don’t have to fundraise for school essentials.
- Replacing portables with real classrooms and making schools earthquake safe.
- Expanding BC’s apprenticeship and trades training programs.
- Increasing access to doctors, nurses and health practitioners.
- Relieving the pressure on emergency rooms and reducing wait times.
- Ensuring faster access to mental health services, when and where people need it.
- Increasing the time home care workers can spend with seniors, so they can stay in their own homes longer. We’ll also ensure publicly-funded care homes meet the minimum guidelines of care for seniors.
- Reducing the backlogs in our courts and invest in programs to end gang violence.
- Implementing a comprehensive poverty reduction plan. BC is the only province in Canada without one.
- Investing in public transit to get people and goods moving. We’ll increase the province’s capital share of the Mayors’ transit plan from 33 per cent to 40 per cent.
- Restoring parks, hiring park rangers and conservation officers, and building new campsites.
The BC NDP platform includes important government reforms, including:
- Banning corporate and union donations to get big money out of politics.
- Moving to a fair, proportional voting system to make every vote count.
- Ending partisan advertising by government.