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

Red sky in morning: an early-morning sunrise on May 16, 2020, captured just north of Kitimat. (Eric Roy photo)
Clare’s Corner: Hello, darkness, my old friend

Why does the after-work darkness affect you so much more as an adult than as a child?

(Corrado Colombo photo)
Corrado Colombo, with his wife, Lucy. Colombo is from Italy, but met Kitimat born-and-raised Lucy on one of his annual fishing trips to Kitimat in the early 2000s.
In Our Valley: Corrado Colombo

Corrado Colombo never expected that an annual fishing trip to Kitimat would change his life

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross at his swearing in on Thursday (Nov. 26), with his wife, Tracey, left, mother, Frieda, and grandson, Parker. (Ellis Ross photo)
Ellis Ross sworn in as Skeena MLA

Ceremonies happening virtually rather than all in-person in Victoria

CityWest internet and other services are down in Kitimat as of Wednesday (Nov. 25) evening. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Services down for CityWest users in Kitimat

Services were put out due to a landslide cutting a fibre line

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Most Read