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

Just Posted

Mediators appointed to help address issues in IHealth review

Review too little, too late for Qualicum Bay patient

Smoking ban arrives on BC Ferries

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries enacts smoking ban

UPDATE: Whiskey Creek floodwaters subside

Area roads reopened following Sunday morning closure

Parksville water project seeks new manager

City operations manager moves to new job with RDN

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Road conditions wreak havoc for Comox Valley drivers

Icy road conditions early Monday morning kept first responders very busy throughout… Continue reading

Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Kwalikum girls notch fourth straight hoop win

Qualicum Beach squad romps past Barsby, 56-25

Question of the Week, Jan. 23

Would you benefit from high-speed internet in a rural community?… Continue reading

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Most Read