The BC Liberal party announced their election platform on Tuesday, hours ahead of a televised leaders debate with leader Andrew Wilkinson, NDP leader John Horgan, and Green leader Sonia Furstenau.
The announcement comes a week after the BC NDP launched their own platform, and 11 days before general voting day on October 24.
Most of the Liberal platform details were revealed at earlier campaign stops and announcements, including a widely touted pledge to cut PST to zero for one year, and then to three per cent for the year after.
Other promises that had been announced earlier include:
- A pledge to open auto insurance in the province to privatization, moving away from ICBC’s monopoly
- $58 million to hire an additional 200 police officers, 100 more psychiatric social workers and nurses, and 40 more prosecutors
- $8 billion allocated for infrastructure spending, including $4.5 billion towards transportation projects like replacing the George Massey Tunnel
- $1 billion spent on long-term care homes with the goal of providing each senior with a private room
- Eliminating the 2 per cent small business income tax
Among the new pledges that were added in the platform on Tuesday was a promise to appoint a Fair Tax Commission to review all provincial taxes. The Liberals say the Commission would specifically “reduce or eliminate” taxes to spur COVID-19 recovery.
The party also renewed their criticism against John Horgan’s NDP government for calling a snap election, pledging to ban early elections during provincial emergencies.
Additional new promises include:
- Appointing a new Minister of Fisheries and Coastlines
- Constructing 10,000 new child care spaces across the provinces
- Establishing an all-party Pandemic Response Committee with the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry
- Implementing a “Trespass Act” to “protect the properties and livelihoods of farmers”
Weekend Controversy Lingers
The platform announcement was overshadowed by a controversial incident from the weekend, when Liberal candidate Jane Thornthwaite directed sexist comments against NDP candidate Bowinn Ma in an online roast.
Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson ended his prepared remarks on the platform announcement by saying the comments were “inappropriate.”
“There’s no place for those kinds of sexist remarks in our society, period,” said Wilkinson.
“I want to apologize to Bowinn Ma and commit that we will all work very hard to do better.”
The Liberal leader also said that Thornthwaite had reached out to Ma to apologize directly and to offer further conversation.
The majority of questions during Tuesday’s announcement also focussed on the incident, while only a handful were directed to the platform itself.
When asked why Wilkinson, who was participating in the online roast when the remarks were made, did nothing to stop the incident, the Liberal leader said he struggled in the moment.
“I think we’ve all been in those scenarios where someone is saying something inappropriate,” he said.
“It’s hard to stop the train in a social event when you don’t know what the next words will be…what’s done is done.”
The full BC Liberal platform is available to read online.