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

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for incumbent Throness uncertain as riding awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

The chair and vice chair of Chilliwack’s School Board, Dan Coulter and Willow Reichelt, at a Jan. 29, 2019 meeting. (Sarah Gawdin/ Chilliwack Progress)
Coulter confirms plan to resign from Chilliwack school board if elected

Dan Coulter says ‘it’s a little early’ to call the election, as mail-in votes wait to be counted

Two schools in Chilliwack have sent out notices to parents or been listed on the Fraser Health school exposure event website in the past week. (Pixabay)
Two Chilliwack schools send letters out regarding potential COVID-19 exposures

One public and one private school reporting mid-October exposure events

File Photo
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Agassiz Seniors Community

First declared outbreak in Agassiz-Harrison since pandemic began

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Graphic on promo material for Best Buy Canada’s Tech Wonderland event.
Drive-through ‘Tech Wonderland’ coming to PNE site a few weeks before Christmas

Best Buy Canada-backed ‘holiday’ event to raise money for charity

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of seven-year-old in Langley was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

Most Read