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

Just Posted

Artists, activists and supporters stand at the ‘More Justice, More Peace’ mural in Victoria’s Bastion Square after the letter ‘S’ was painted over in black. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
ACAB removed from Victoria’s More Justice, More Peace mural

New message points to VicPD, City of Victoria for silencing BIPOC voices

(file)
Province rejects Parksville needle bylaw as counter-productive to health and safety

Mayor says he fails to understand the logic against proposed limits on hypodermic distribution

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An illustration was given to the Parksville’s Church of the Ascension by a person, in appreciation for allowing use of its shower facility. (Mike Favero/Submitted photo)
Parksville church makes showers available to the homeless

Pastor receives special illustration from one appreciative person

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday when it’s time to turn the clocks back one hour.
Vancouver Island, it’s time for a change

Put your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Academic Edge runs at North Island College in Courtenay. Photo courtesy NIC
NIC and VIU launch regional work-integrated learning hub

Aim to create new, mutually beneficial opportunities for students and employers north of the Malahat

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

The Comox Valley Airport had a recent flight arrive with a confirmed case of COVID-19. File photo
COVID-19 exposure on flight into Comox

WestJet flight 3315 from Calgary to Comox was identified with a case

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Most Read