B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announces plan for more police and psychiatric support teams, Vancouver, Oct. 7, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announces plan for more police and psychiatric support teams, Vancouver, Oct. 7, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party)

B.C. VOTES 2020

B.C. Liberals promise to ban elections in a provincial emergency

Andrew Wilkinson rolls out party platform before debate

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson released his party’s platform for the Oct. 24 election Tuesday, as party leaders prepared for their only leaders’ debate in the surprise election called by NDP leader John Horgan.

Wilkinson pledged to amend B.C.’s election law if he forms the next government, banning elections during provincial states of emergency such as the one that has been extended since the COVID-19 pandemic began early this year. Horgan used the provision in the current law to advise Lt. Gov. Janet Austin to call the election a year before it is scheduled.

The platform includes a pledge to build 10,000 new child care spaces, and appoint an independent commission to review all provincial taxes, including the 23 new or increased taxes that the B.C. Liberals say have been added during three years of NDP minority government.

The platform includes an ambitious 60-day program for a B.C. Liberal government, including a COVID-19 economic response plan that incorporates Wilkinson’s promise to cancel the provincial sales tax for a year and bring it back at a lower rate.

The 60-day plan includes a pledge to “improve students’ and teachers’ health and safety, by implementing a province-wide framework for hybrid and online learning options, promoting distance learning programs and restoring the $12 million the NDP cut from independent distributed learning programs.”

RELATED: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

RELATED: NDP offers $1,000-per-family payments in platform

RELATED: B.C. Greens call for new transit, municipal funding

With B.C.’s deficit already estimated at nearly $13 billion for the current fiscal year, Wilkinson repeated his vow that a B.C. Liberal government would not cut services to balance the books. The platform contains more than $2 billion in new spending commitments, including an additional $200 million to improve health care.

The PST cut alone would cost nearly $7 billion in the first year. Wilkinson said his target is to return B.C. to a balanced budget within five years, but for the near future, every developed country is borrowing heavily to get through the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy.

A top priority is tourism, where the B.C. Liberals have promised loan guarantees as bridge financing for tourism and hospitality business that are worried about getting through the winter.

“We need to avoid a complete collapse in our tourism industry, and that’s what we intend to do,” Wilkinson said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

(from l) Fraser-Nicola candidates Jonah Timms (BC Green Party), Jackie Tegart (BC Liberal Party), and Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP). The polls have now closed and the counting has started. (Photo credit: Submitted)
Results awaited in Fraser-Nicola as polls have now closed

Counting of advance and election day votes has begun; mail-in votes to be counted starting Nov. 6

Fraser-Nicola BC Liberal Party candidate Jackie Tegart with supporters on the Ashcroft bridge, Oct. 21, 2020. Tegart is the frontrunner in the riding after the initial vote count, with mail-in ballots to be counted starting on Nov. 6. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Liberal incumbent Jackie Tegart holds narrow lead over Aaron Sumexheltza of NDP

Initial count is complete, and mail-in ballots will determine who wins in Fraser-Nicola

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read