BC Provincial Leaders Debate – Part 2

Previous: Part 1

The Cast

John Horgin: Leader of the New Democratic Party
Andrew Wilkinson: Leader of the Liberals
Sonia Furstenau: Leader of the Greens
Shachi Kurl: The moderator

Kurl

Mr Horgin, according to Statistics Canada, British Columbians in more than one in seven BC households continue to live in a place that is considered unsuitable inadequate or unaffordable. What other tools do you have to help and support people struggling with housing affordability in this province?

Horgin

We’re building not-for-profit housing. We’re focusing on co-ops again. We’re making sure that renters get a bit of a break. We give homeowner grants to people who are fortunate to own a home.

Kurl

One of your signature promises, ten dollar a day day care, child care advocates say so far [that] the vast majority of eligible families are not able to access this benefit. Your own timeline called for ten dollar a day child care province wide by 2027. Can you still deliver on this?

Horgin

I’m confident that we can. Our colleagues in the legislature would not support that. [Note: The NDP are in a coalition with the Greens]. We put in place pilots. We put in place a fee reduction That’s why we’re putting it in front of British Columbians again.

Kurl

The BC Greens are promising a free care for children younger than three and free early childhood education for three and four-year-olds. How do you propose to pay for these programs?

Furstenau

Just to set the record clear, of course we worked with [the NDP] to bring child care care and early childhood education. [So one of these leaders is lying].

Our plan for early childhood education is to roll it into our public education system so that every parent of a three and four year old knows that they have that 25 hours of early childhood education. We include that into the cost of our public education. We’ve put over a hundred million towards this. [No answer on where the hundred million comes from.]

Kurl

Another key promise of yours is to implement a four-day work week. In a minority government, would you insist that a governing partner move forward with this promise? Is it a deal breaker?

Furstenau

The promise isn’t to implement a four-day workweek.

Kurl

Mr. Wilkinson to you now you’ve promised to privatize ICBC [our socialist insurance beureau]. Look at the rates in Alberta. Private car insurance for some drivers is skyrocketing. How are you going to ensure that your plans to privatize auto insurance will bring down rates for everyone including young drivers?

Wilkinson

What we’re talking about is competition: keeping the ICBC no fault model and allowing other insurers to offer their products in competition. Why would you not allow competition and see if they can come out with a better price? Young people have seen their [ICBC] rates go through the roof from fifteen hundred dollars to seven thousand dollars under the NDP.

Kurl

During your party’s last term the average cost of a new home in Metro Vancouver increased 50 percent. According to Dr. Peter German’s report, the role of dirty money laundered through provincially regulated casinos was a part of the problem. If elected will you commit to continuing the money laundering inquiry?

Wilkinson

Of course. Under the NDP this last year alone condo prices are up another 10 in Vancouver. Condo insurance is up anywhere from 40 to 400 percent under the NDP.

Furstenau

Andrew you’re proposing a massive cut tax cut to the PST. How can you justify that?

Wilkinson

A quarter of businesses may close within a year and half of our families expect someone to be unemployed in the next year. If we drop the PST to zero for a year, businesses will reinvest. Things will go on sale. People will buy equipment; they will go out shopping and they will enjoy their lives right here in BC because it has to be spent in BC to get the tax break.

Furstenau

You can’t really identify outcomes that would come from that PST cut. We need to invest in services. We need to invest in infrastructure. Taking that six or seven billion dollar hole in revenue can really undermine government’s ability. In addition, your platform which seems to have a pretty massive deficit attached to it.

Wilkinson

Governments can borrow money very cheaply these days. We need to build infrastructure to create employment, investment that the BC business council said was one of their highest priorities when they advised John Horgin in the summer time [to] cut the PST in half for two years.

Furstenau

We’ve seen the results in the early 2000s when there was a 25 percent tax cut across the board. We saw cuts in services.

Wilkinson

There will be no cuts to government services under a Liberal government.

Coming back to housing, condominium prices have gone up by ten percent in the last year in Vancouver. House prices are up five percent, condo insurance up as much as four hundred percent. Mr. Horgin, you promised affordable housing.

Horgin

You promised to eliminate the speculation tax so the speculators that used to support the BC liberals can get back to the good old days the wild west of driving up costs. The speculation tax has meant that 11000 condominiums that were vacant are now being populated by renters. That’s bringing down costs for regular people. If you give back the one point 115 million dollars [raised by the speculation tax, you] will have no money to build housing.

Wilkinson

Rents in Metro Vancouver [are] up two thousand dollars per year since your government took office. The cost of housing is the highest it’s ever been while incomes are actually going down. The rent vacancy rate is still the same as it was when you took office.

Horgin

Sonia you sided with the Liberals and did not support us doing away with tolls in the lower mainland. You blocked a hydro bill this summer that would have brought down hydro rates for people and you do not support our Covid benefit of a thousand dollars. If we’re not going to help people with affordability in a pandemic when would we?

Furstenau

The Covid benefit of a thousand dollars you brought out as a campaign promise, not something that was ever in the legislature. We saw an uptick in traffic after those tolls were taken off and you used it as an excuse to go ahead with Site C [a hydro project] because of the deficit that it created in the budget.

Horgin

We eliminated the tolls and that took pressure off other congestion points in the lower mainland and allowed people to use modern infrastructure that they shouldn’t have to pay for, just like other infrastructure in British Columbia. It’s built for all of us it should be out of our tax base. Short-term solutions for people who are struggling [are] of course what we need to do–especially in a pandemic–and driving down hydro rates is a way to do that.

Furstenau

You’re undermining the resiliency and the local energy production of first nations.

Horgin

We focussed on core competency at hydro and bringing costs down for people. Every project by indigenous people, we are moving on.

Next: Part 3

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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3 Responses to BC Provincial Leaders Debate – Part 2

  1. Pingback: BC Provincial Leaders Debate – Part 1 | Jim's Jumbler

  2. When I was a struggling pioneer, hacking out an existence in the wilderness of Sardis, BC, all I ever wanted was for politicians to leave me alone. Most of the Canadians felt the same way.

  3. Pingback: BC Provincial Leaders Debate – Part 3 | Jim's Jumbler

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