Victoria Report

Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart says the recent budget doesn’t do enough for rural B.C.

By Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart

The NDP government has delivered its 2019 budget, and I was hopeful to see some investments to benefit my constituents in Ashcroft and area.

I welcome the commitment of $74 million for early mental health intervention in children, youth, and young adults, as well as the rate increase for foster parents and home share providers. For seniors, the government is continuing funding for home care as well as facilities funding.

On the transportation front, the budget didn’t address the lack of bus transportation in our rural communities. The loss of Greyhound has made life extremely difficult for those travelling for leisure or to medical appointments.

When it comes to housing, government is still not on track to build the 114,000 affordable housing units over ten years it has promised to British Columbians.

Meanwhile, it was a full half-hour into the speech before we heard anything about natural resources, which are critically important to Fraser-Nicola. There was little support for key sectors like forestry, mining, and agriculture.

What’s more, the budget didn’t reveal any plans to grow our economy or create jobs. This isn’t the news I had hoped to bring to the regional information session I’ll be hosting on March 11 to discuss the impacts and opportunities presented by the $28 million upgrade coming to the Ashcroft Terminal. With such an exciting project on the horizon, we need a government that is forward-thinking about how we can spur further economic development initiatives to create jobs and generate the revenue needed to pay for the services residents rely on.

Unfortunately, this is a government that will continue to use taxation as its main source of generating money. With 19 new or increased taxes being imposed, there appears to be no relief in sight.

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