B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks to Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates by video conference, Victoria, Sept. 23, 2020. (UBCM)

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

After all-party support for the effort to battle COVID-19, the B.C. NDP held back their $1.5 billion economic recovery fund for three months so they could run taxpayer-paid advertising to build political support for a surprise election, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson told local government leaders at their annual convention.

Speaking to an online version of the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention Sept. 23, Wilkinson said NDP leader John Horgan has picked the worst possible time to stall provincial government initiatives, with the worst of the pandemic likely about to arrive.

“We know about the $13 billion deficit,” Wilkinson said. “We know the economy is shrinking by five per cent or more. Business investment is down 11 per cent, and we expect it to go down further. And there’a big lump coming seven days from now, on Sept. 30, when $6.2 billion of deferred taxes come due, everything from employer health tax to carbon tax to sales tax, and this is going to be a very large obstacle for many businesses and small businesses in B.C. to meet.”

The annual convention’s main focus has also been derailed by the snap election call. While B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau and Premier John Horgan are still scheduled to make their own speeches to delegates Thursday, the hundreds of meetings with cabinet ministers to discuss local concerns are scrubbed so MLAs can campaign for the Oct. 24 vote.

Horgan campaigned in Surrey on Wednesday, one of the hotly contested areas where he will spend much of his time before the election. While promoting the NDP’s improvements to health care delivery, he blamed the B.C. Green Party for having an election a year early, despite Furstenau’s pledge that she would continue to honour the minority government agreement that called for no early election or vote to defeat the NDP government.

RELATED: Horgan blames B.C. Greens for snap election

RELATED: Carole James heads ‘caretaker’ B.C. government

With an expected surge in mail voting likely to delay the election result, B.C. is going two months with only “caretaker” government at a time when leadership is needed most, Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson promised to release details of the B.C. Liberal platform shortly, including a housing plan. The NDP promised 114,000 new housing units in the 2017 election, and after three and a half years there are 2,963 completed, mostly temporary modular structures, he said.

Another B.C. Liberal promise is to take mining and other resource project permitting entirely online, part of what he described as “provocative environmental policies” in the party platform.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020UBCM

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, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (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

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

Const. Graham Walker of the Saanich Traffic Safety Unit recreates an incident involving a driver who police say attempted to film the scene of a crash while driving up Highway 17. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police track down driver caught filming accident scene on Pat Bay Highway

Driver issued $368 ticket, points on their licence

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read