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

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson kneels as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED: Vancouver Island paddle boarder’s orca encounter brings joy and outrage

Woman’s ‘best day’ criticized for disturbing the whales

Tofino’s library is currently located in the basement of the Tofino Legion building but talks are underway to build a brand new facility. (Andrew Bailey photo)
The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Most Read