BY RATTAN MALL
RIDESHARING is coming to British Columbia sometime this year and Premier John Horgan told The VOICE this week: “We have some work to do on providing the insurance package that needs to be comprehensive so that we are protecting the travelling public.”
He added: “We need to make sure that the drivers of these ride-hailing cars have got the training and the certification that they need, the criminal record’s checks such as a cab company would have to have with their drivers. We need to make sure the insurance, as I say, is correct and that takes more time than, again, we expected it would.”
Horgan said: “I had hoped that the former government had done more work on this. They talked about the fact that they had, but it turned out that they hadn’t. So we had to change I think eight different pieces of legislation last November just to enable ride-sharing to come.”
He noted: “We have to now work with municipalities about crossing boundaries and changing some of the by-laws they have in place which is all now possible and then again, making sure that the product is fair. We want a level-playing field for the existing participants and those new entrants whoever they may be.”
Horgan said his government was well on its way to introduce ridesharing though it’s taken longer than they had anticipated.
He explained: “We have had to do a whole bunch of other stuff as well. And trying to keep track of where ICBC is in terms of the Liberals taking money out, BC Hydro, the money-laundering issue – they just kept piling up day after day and every time we turned over a rock, we’d find another problem. And that’s not an excuse, but I hope it gives the public some comfort that we are not dragging our feet. We are moving as quickly as we can but sometimes the things that appear easy on Tuesday are not as easy to solve on Thursday.”
Here is what Horgan had to say on some other issues:
I do believe we have fulfilled our promise [on child care]. We have put in place a $10 pilot project in the Lower Mainland. We’ve reduced costs for families immediately; some families getting up to $1,000 back on what they were paying for child care. That’s a big, big bunch of money to have in someone’s pocket that they can put towards better clothing, better tools at home for their children, … in ice hockey or dance or whatever they might do. That’s money that that family now can put into the well-being of their family unit. And so I believe we’ve fulfilled that promise and we’ve got much more to do on child care.
On dental care, it was never part of our platform, but I believe it’s important and [Health Minister] Adrian [Dix] and I have talked about it. For people with disabilities, dental care is covered. Many people have dental plans in their workplace, but for the many, many, many thousands of British Columbians that don’t, often times, they’ll delay going to the dentist because they have to pay for it directly out of their pocket and that leads to further complications, more costly interventions and sometimes not just ill health but catastrophic consequences.
So I have asked Adrian and Shane Simpson, responsible for social development, to work with the Minister of Finance [Carole James]. We won’t be seeing anything in this year’s budget – I need to be clear about that – but they’re going to work on putting in place a plan that we can have hopefully in the next budget – in 2020 – a pilot program for young children.
If we can kids to learn good oral hygiene at an early age, that will save dollars down the road for those individuals and also for the economy. When I was a kid a dental hygienist would come through the elementary school to teach how to brush your teeth … Having public health facilities available to help people with dental hygiene is I think is a cost effective way to provide good health and also to provide good citizenship.