Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

BC party leaders to stake out positions in first election campaign debate

BC party leaders to stake out positions in first election campaign debate

It wasn't long before Liberal Leader Christy Clark put her hand on the arm of her main rival, John Horgan, and told him to calm down during Thursday's first debate of the B.C. election campaign. I'll be able to do so much more for Sooke, and for all of B.C.as premier.

Horgan insisted the NDP plan is fully costed.

Horgan said it was "not true" that his platform has a $6 billion funding gap and defended his party's plan to increase public spending on things like new schools.

"The good news is that we are not past the point of no return". "That creates economic activity".

In response to the allegations from other political parties and stakeholders that the Liberal government hadn't done its due diligence for this project, Clark said "the NDP would like to study things forever".

Weaver said "sixteen years of mean-spirited policies" under the Liberals have contributed to making Vancouver unaffordable and growing income disparity.

Weaver said his party would ease rising housing costs in Metro Vancouver by doubling a tax on foreign buyers to 30 per cent. The Greens would also reduce the property transfer tax for people who buy homes that cost less than $1 million.

"We're trying to ensure that the speculative market is actually tempered", Weaver said. It would also include more buses for Delta.

"We need reliable power, we need affordable power and we need it to be clean power, " she said.

Horgan said Clark seemed to consider renters "second class citizens" and said the reality is that many Lower Mainlanders simply can not afford to ever buy a home because their wages are too low. "We have one of the lowest minimum wages in the country". Horgan said he has talked with marijuana dispensary owners, pharmacists and liquor retailers, and said it will "probably be a mix". "It may be like that in the first class lounge, Miss Clark, but in the rest of the world people are struggling". Good responded that the Liberals also want seats south of the Fraser.

"I promised [the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge] in the last election".

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It was the second straight day that Clark highlighted the $8.8-billion hydroelectric project after she visited Fort St. John on Tuesday to tout construction jobs it has created.

Her comments came as a new report by researchers at the University of British Columbia concluded that work on Site C should be suspended because it is now more expensive than other energy alternatives. The Greens will eliminate premiums by rolling them into the payroll tax and personal income tax.

The Liberals have said the New Democrats' plan is too costly. As the economy grows, Clark added, then the government would eliminate premiums altogether.

Clark chided the NDP's intention to roll out its affordable child-care program over 10 years. But Horgan admitted it will take 10 years to fully implement.

"Thank you, how's that going", Horgan quipped.

Both the NDP and Liberal platforms are based on the underlying numbers in the budget. "Scott [Hamilton] got elected partly because that was in the platform, and he has made sure we have delivered".

"(The Liberals) think they own this money.

"They doubled them until their jobs were on the line", Horgan said.

"It will be progressive", Weaver said.

Andrew Weaver of the B.C. Green party resorted to holding up his hand to get the attention of the moderator, and when he did it was mostly to criticize Clark's record.

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