MLA Bill Routley calls provincial budget ‘depressing’

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong revealed what he described as a "boring, balanced budget" Tuesday – one he said had a continued emphasis on job growth, skills training and education, helping families and providing additional resources for those who need it most.

"Most certainly we will continue to face significant challenges – some of which we know, and some which have yet to reveal themselves," de Jong said in his speech.

Cowichan Valley MLA Bill Routley, a member of the official NDP opposition, however, painted a bleaker picture of the next three years, calling the budget "depressing".

"It’s sad," he said. "Sadly this budget is going to make things harder for B.C. families."

With Hydro rates, MSP premiums, ICBC costs and ferry fares about to go up, there’s not much for the ordinary family, Routley said.

"By the end of the three-year term, we’re going to be paying $900, on average, more and it amounts to more than a billion dollars in additional revenue that’s going to

be taken, picking the pockets of British Columbians.

De Jong’s three-year fiscal plan will see Hydro rates increase for average customers by $477, an MSP increase of $400 over the three years, another $100 in ICBC fees and ferry fares jump to an average of $32 for a round trip.

But, de Jong noted, B.C. will boast a $184 million surplus by the end of this fiscal year – ramping up to a $451 million surplus by the end of the third year, something he said puts the province in elite territory.

"As you can see, that will grant us membership in a very exclusive club – provinces with a balanced budget. In fact, depending on what happens in Saskatchewan, it could end up being a club of one," he said.

That honour, Routley said, comes at a cost.

"We’ve got government claiming they’re balancing the budget but they’re doing it on the backs of ordinary British Columbians," he said.

Other highlights of the budget include: For families, an early childhood tax benefit, announced last year, will give up to $55 per month for families with children under the are of six from April 2015.

An additional $15 million over three years for Ministry of Children and Family Development for children and youth with special needs is also on its way.

And, as promised, a training and education savings grant will see a RESP contribution of $1,200 for every child born after Jan. 1, 2007. That initiative begins this coming April.

Older students can look forward to a $1.5 billion budget for capital funding for school replacement projects and an additional $2.3 billion in capital spending by post-secondary institutions though there was no specific mention of schools on the Island.

"If you look at the government’s own documentation they talk about spending money on post secondary but please take note that all that money is for capital expenses, at the same time they’re cutting their operating expenses which means the real service to students is going to be will be less rather than more," Routley argued.

The full text of de Jong’s budget can be found at

Just Posted

Masters teams pumped for all-Cowichan soccer clash

The local derby between the Cowichan 49ers and Cowichan Steelheads this Saturday… Continue reading

Rockin’ with Ballet Victoria is the name of the game Oct. 24

Four fine choreographers combine their efforts for a special evening from Ballet Victoria

Single-vehicle accident in Duncan sends 2 to hospital

Accident ties up traffic on the TCH for about an hour Tuesday afternoon

Final scores not the whole story in Cowichan Valley Capitals’ defeats

The Cowichan Valley Capitals were beaten twice by four-goal margins on the… Continue reading

Coming up in Cowichan: Wild Fins, coat drive

Donate warm coats for those in need The Duncan Daybreak Rotary Coat… Continue reading

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Most Read