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: Leaders promise action on crime, cancer, COVID-19

John Horgan, Andrew Wilkinson battle over borrowing and spending

NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson sparred over who is more responsible in giving out billions of dollars Wednesday, as each pitched their latest policy ideas to voters.

Horgan outlined the B.C. NDP’s latest 10-year plan, this one for expansion of cancer care. It includes cancer treatment centres in Nanaimo and Kamloops, as well as in a proposed new hospital in Surrey. Adrian Dix, whom Horgan said would continue as health minister if the NDP forms a government after the Oct. 24 vote, said more diagnostic and treatment is needed because in 20 years, B.C. will have twice as many cancer patients as it has now, due to better survival and longer life expectancy of a growing senior population.

Wilkinson continued his theme of public safety, promising that a B.C. Liberal government would dedicate $58 million to the hiring of 100 psychiatric specialist nurses and social workers to support police in dealing with crime and disorder on urban streets. Wilkinson also promised to fund 200 additional police officers and 40 Crown prosecutors, to deal with backlog in criminal cases aggravated by COVID-19 court slowdowns, and to approve charges more quickly.

With a televised leaders’ debate approaching at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, Horgan and Wilkinson are facing questions about their main election spending commitments. For Horgan it’s another round of COVID-19 support payments for most B.C. residents, up to $1,000 for low- and middle-income families and $500 for individuals earning up to $62,500.

RELATED: B.C. Greens propose 4-day work week, free child care

RELATED: NDP corrects platform vow to widen wrong highway

RELATED: Leaders set for 90-minute TV debate on Oct. 13

Wilkinson kicked off his campaign with a promise to eliminate the seven per cent provincial sales tax for a year and then bring it back at a reduced rate of three per cent the following year, with savings for an average family estimated at $1,700. Each promise would add billions to a deficit for the current year that is already estimated at nearly $13 billion.

Horgan rejected suggestions that his $1.4 billion cash payment plan was money held back from the $5 billion COVID-19 aid package that was unanimously approved for borrowing in the legislature this spring. He said the idea was added to the NDP platform after the election call in late September, as a response to Wilkinson “blowing $8 billion” on an across-the-board PST cut.

Wilkinson said the PST reduction would mean $460 more for a person making minimum wage, and savings for everyone could be used for their own priorities.

“Let’s be wary of NDP promises to hand out cheques, and especially when it comes to basically asking government to collect the money and then hand it back to you,” Wilkinson said. “A cut in sales tax stimulates the economy.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

Even though the CP Holiday Train is not running this year, CP has made donations to the food banks along its usual routes (including the one in Ashcroft), and will also be broadcasting a special live Holiday Train concert on Dec. 12. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
CP Holiday Train rolling into homes with a virtual concert

CP has made donations to all the food banks that would normally benefit from the annual event

The wooden sign at the entrance to the parking lot at the Heritage Park in Ashcroft blew down in high winds on Oct. 10. Council has made an assessment of the park and its structures one of the priorities in its new strategic plan. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Ashcroft council lays out strategic plan for next two years

Trails master plan, a second North Ashcroft reservoir, and the Heritage Park all on the list

Cache Creek Village office, date unknown. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)
Cache Creek to move to quarterly utility billing in new year

Council also discussed the possibility of heavy flooding in spring 2021

Lytton RCMP Sgt. Curtis Davis accepts a plaque from Patsy Weekley of the Lytton post office in Oct. 2018, to commemorate a first responders stamp from Canada Post. (Photo credit: Submitted)
Lytton RCMP sergeant says farewell as posting comes to an end

Sgt. Curtis Davis is transferring out of Lytton and is sad to be leaving the area

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

Most Read