By Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart
The New Year is well underway, and there’s already lots to talk about on the provincial front.
Starting the year off on a positive note, I was pleased to see the NDP government follow through on our former government’s planned reduction of the Medical Services Plan (MSP) premium, which took effect on January 1. However, while our previous government introduced this as a straight reduction, the NDP is still looking for ways to make up this money elsewhere, which will likely amount to higher income taxes. A tax break should be a tax break, plain and simple, and I will continue to advocate for this to be the case.
The BC Rural Dividend is another BC Liberal initiative that I’m happy to see continuing, particularly in the wake of this year’s devastating fire season. This fall, three area organizations—the Village of Cache Creek, Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, and Skeetchestn Natural Resources—received funding through this program. Applications for the fourth intake are now closed, and results will be announced by the end of March. I look forward to seeing other rural organizations benefit from this much-needed funding.
While the government has followed through on these initiatives, it has seen less success carrying out initiatives of its own. The NDP ran on a promise to freeze Hydro rates, and announced this rate freeze back in the fall. However, they did so before getting approval from the BC Utilities Commission, and now we are hearing from the Premier that a freeze is not a priority.
My colleagues and I will work very hard in the upcoming legislative session—which begins on February 13 with the Throne Speech, followed by Budget Day on February 20—to hold the government accountable for promises they have made. I look forward to continuing to work hard representing the people of Fraser-Nicola in Victoria.