PREMIER Christy Clark and the BC Liberals released their 2017 campaign platform on Monday, saying, “It’s a plan to keep BC strong and secure a bright future by doing three big things – creating jobs, controlling spending, and cutting taxes for the middle class.”
“Today in British Columbia, we have more people than ever working in good-paying, family-supporting jobs – and we need to keep our economy strong and growing for our children and grandchildren,” said Clark. “Our plan will keep B.C. creating jobs and leave more money in people’s pockets, because we know they can make the best decisions how to spend it – not government.”
The Liberals said that with around $150 million in new spending commitments, their platform is “in sharp contrast with BC NDP and Green Party schemes for billions in reckless spending, higher taxes, and bigger government.” The Liberals said they are committed to another four consecutive balanced budgets, on track to eliminate BC’s operating debt by 2021.
“British Columbians work hard to get ahead, and we have a responsibility to make sure they keep more of their paycheques so they can build the lives they want and take care of the people they love,” Clark said. “By growing our economy and sticking to our plan, we can invest in health care, education, and all the services people count on while keeping taxes low.”
In addition to a billion-dollar middle-class tax cut in the form of a 50% reduction of MSP premiums – as a first step to eliminating premiums entirely – the BC Liberals would freeze income personal income taxes for four years, and freeze the revenue-neutral carbon tax until 2021 when BC, working with Canada, will determine how best to meet its climate targets. And the platform includes a cap on bridge tolls and a new tax break on fares for ferry-dependent communities.
To keep B.C.’s economy strong and growing, the Liberals said they will get Site C built – employing thousands, and guaranteeing a 100-year supply of clean, affordable, reliable power. And the platform outlines key actions to strengthen forestry, secure new mining investments, and grow B.C.’s energy sector, including LNG.
Positioning British Columbia to become a global leader in technology and innovation, the platform boosts investment in the BC Tech Strategy and commits to more graduates in tech-related disciplines so that tech companies can hire home-grown talent, the Liberals said.
It includes targeted investments to benefit the seniors who built our province, including an Active Seniors Tax Credit, a new Respite Tax Credit for those caring for seniors or family members with disabilities, and doubling the Seniors Home Renovation Tax Credit.
The platform commits to reviewing scope of practice for medical professionals – potentially expanding the roles of nurse practitioners and pharmacists to ensure strong primary care in support of B.C.’s already world-leading health outcomes – as part of continued record investments in health care, education, and home ownership and housing affordability.
More details of the platform will be shared by Clark in the weeks ahead, in communities up and down the province. For the first time, that team is over 40% women, and includes eight candidates under 40 and three widely respected Indigenous leaders.
The provincial election will be held on May 9.
The full platform is available at www.BCLiberals.com