Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau responds to questions during a campaign stop in Squamish, B.C., on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

The leader of British Columbia’s Green party took aim at her two larger rivals on Tuesday over the pandemic recovery, a promise on the provincial sales tax and the snap election call.

Sonia Furstenau said a Liberal promise to drop the PST for a year would increase inequality at a time when people need help most.

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry, and accused both parties of not supporting a clean energy economy.

Furstenau made the comments at a campaign stop in Squamish, where she said the Oct. 24 snap election call left the Greens scrambling and likely unable to field a full slate of candidates to run in all 87 B.C. ridings.

“We had exactly zero heads-up notice that this election was coming,” Furstenau said at a news conference.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan called the election last week, about a year ahead of the October 2021 fixed date. Horgan said he struggled with the decision to hold an election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the province needs the stability of a majority government.

In 2017, the NDP formed a minority government after reaching an agreement with the Green party, which held the balance of power.

Furstenau, one of two Greens in the legislature, said the party met with Horgan prior to the election call and committed to supporting the minority government until October 2021.

“John Horgan needs to stop trying to blame this election on anybody but himself,” she said.

Furstenau said she was disappointed the NDP’s $1.5-billion economic recovery plan didn’t do more for tourism.

“It was not the immediate support that the sector sorely needs,” Furstenau said, adding $100 million in targeted funds and a task force gathering information for next year’s tourism season falls short.

Furstenau had similar comments about Andrew Wilkinson’s campaign promise to eliminate B.C.’s seven per cent PST in the first year of a B.C. Liberal government.

“To suggest that to take out revenues from government at a time when we need to deeply invest in services and the infrastructure that this province will need as part of its economic recovery, to me not only shows a lack of imagination but that it’s an irresponsible decision to make at this time,” she said.

Wilkinson said the proposed PST cut is a bold and necessary initiative during unprecedented times.

He said during a campaign stop at Campbell River that the COVID-19 pandemic means the provincial government must make moves to spur consumer and investor confidence.

“So let’s be clear, the provincial sales tax cut will not lead to any reduction in services in B.C.,” said Wilkinson. “We’re in a crisis, folks. It’s time for us to put everything we’ve got into rebuilding B.C.”

Horgan, campaigning in Coquitlam, said the Liberal pledge to eliminate the PST appears to be “desperate, not thoughtful.”

The NDP recovery plan includes targeted tax cuts that offer businesses relief when they purchase new equipment to create jobs.

“Eliminating the PST won’t build one school,” said Horgan, who promised to complete construction of a high school and middle school in the Liberal-held riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 1900s writing box found in Greater Victoria contained ink, photos and a letter addressed to Clara McCaubry dated October 14, 1898. (Photo courtesy Suzanne Hervieux)
Mysterious 1900s writing box finds a home among Saanich Archives

Wooden chest owned by early Saanich resident Clara Isabelle McCaubry

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (RIck Stiebel/News Staff)
(Black Press Media file photo)
Spooky online class cooks up funds for Greater Victoria Imagination Library

United Way Greater Victoria offers how-to for witch cookies, tasty coffin as fundraiser

Murray Rankin has announced he will seek the nomination for the Oak Bay Gordon Head riding in the 2021 provincial election (which could happen in the fall of 2020). The former Minister of Parliament for the Victoria riding from 2012 to 2019.
(MurrayRankin.com)
New Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Murray Rankin says he will use his federal connections

Rankin said being part of NDP majority government gives him a strong voice

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

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

Most Read