B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark speaks to the media in the rose garden following following the throne speech June 22. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark speaks to the media in the rose garden following following the throne speech June 22. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

All parties throwing your billions around

Christy Clark promises to match NDP, Greens spending spree

The good news is it doesn’t really matter now which party you vote for in the next B.C. election, which may arrive sooner than you think. They all want to spend billions more of your money, so really, the pressure’s off.

After presenting a throne speech with a couple of dozen big spending items lifted from the NDP platform, Premier Christy Clark was as upbeat as ever. She’s keen to have her government hang on long enough to present the public accounts, the audited financial statements for the fiscal year that ended this spring.

Economic growth was “a full point” higher than private sector forecasts used by the finance ministry, Clark disclosed at a news conference in the legislature rose garden. This revenue windfall is mostly from urban incomes, sales taxes and Bill Vander Zalm’s gift that won’t stop giving, the property transfer tax, now with theforeign buyer luxury tax on top.

Clark assured us the audited books will show there’s a “structural surplus,” the opposite of the dreaded structural deficit. And it’s enough for a $1-billion expansion of subsidized child care, more hip and knee surgeries, and rail transit, not just to Maple Ridge and Langley but Victoria and even Squamish. And no more of those awful road tolls that the B.C. Liberals insisted all through the election campaign were vital to maintaining our AAA credit rating.

During that campaign the B.C. Liberals warned Interior and Island folks that the NDP is going to make them help pay off the Port Mann bridge and highway expansion, subsidizing the prosperous southwest while rural B.C. communitiesstruggle for resource jobs. They’d list the big projects that were built without tolls, a new Kelowna bridge and so on. They didn’t mention the Coquihalla, but those of us who paid that $10 toll for 20 years haven’t forgotten.

NDP leader John Horgan sounds like the fiscally prudent one these days. A $10 daycare spot for every tot will take a decade to build and staff. Welfare ratescan be increased by only $100 a month, such a modest sum that even the B.C. Liberals now approve.

Much has been said in this space about the B.C. Greens’ proposed spending spree. While Horgan talks about the challenge in his home school district to find 300 more teachers for this fall, Green leader Andrew Weaver continues to boast he’s found $4 billion more for education.

Of course he’s got to collapse the two biggest construction projects in Western Canada first, assuming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t send in soldiers, sorry, peacekeepers, to facilitate construction of his chosen oil pipeline.

Weaver rushed up to validate Site C dam protesters again last week, touring the site and declaring a sweat lodge and “burial site” to be new revelations in this clean energy project. Concerned about rising costs, he picked an inflated number out of the air to calculate future power costs, while angling for new delays that would help produce cost overruns.

Weaver wants to shut down, pay out and remediate Site C, laying off 2,000 people and flushing at least $3 billion with nothing to show for it.

BC Hydro provided me with a summary of alterations for the suddenly discovered burial site (no actual evidence so far) and the suddenly built sweat lodge (road moved to accommodate it).

The protest organizer, West Moberly Chief Roland Willson, doesn’t even have the strongest aboriginal title claim there. That would be the Doig River First Nation, which has gas pipeline and Crown forest agreements with B.C.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

BC Election 2017BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Logan Rands pokes the puck away from Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Talon Duff. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Offence sags as Cowichan Capitals reach midway mark

Caps score one goal in three games as pod season continues

BCYP Minister for the Southern Interior, Aislinn Dressler of Fernie said the Youth Parliament being virtual was a great way to learn about how the BC Parliament was operating. (Photo contributed by Aislinn Dressler)
Applications open for Islands Youth Parliament

Applications must be received by April 23

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, says the municipality’s fire halls have responded to more fires than usual this spring. (File photo)
Dry weather, wind leads to more brushfires this spring in North Cowichan

‘Be safe. Be fire smart. Be situationally aware.’

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Most Read