Clark government won’t face B.C.’s challenges, says Dix

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VICTORIA – The Christy Clark Liberal government demonstrated it lacks the optimism and will to tackle the challenges facing British Columbians with Tuesday’s throne speech, said New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix.

“After taking 200 days off to develop new ideas, the throne speech failed to propose the necessary solutions to make life more affordable for British Columbians, and to improve the opportunities available to them in our province through promoting job growth and a diversified economy,” said Dix.

“Not only did this premier fail to put forward any such ideas, she and her government didn’t even acknowledge the challenges facing British Columbia. For example, among Canadian provinces, B.C. is last in private-sector job creation and first in child poverty. Rising hydro rates and ferry fares – the product of Liberal mismanagement – are driving up costs for middle and working class British Columbians at a time when household incomes are stagnating.

“In order for a premier to reduce the number of poor children in our province, she and her government must first admit that B.C. has the highest child poverty rate in the nation. In order for a premier to promote job creation, she and her government must first admit how their current 29-month-old jobs plan is only benefitting people and businesses in other provinces.

“This lack of vision signals that the Clark Liberals are just not prepared to deal with these and other issues. More than that, it reveals that this government, at its core, is pessimistic about its ability to confront these challenges, so as a result, chooses to ignore them.”

Dix added that even on LNG, the main economic issue facing B.C. as defined by the premier, this government is failing to deliver. “Other nations now have an additional advantage over B.C. in the race to provide LNG to the Asian market because the premier and her advisors could not meet their own deadline to put together the tax regime that would apply to the industry.”

Dix also noted how the Clark government refused to use the throne speech as an opportunity to put students who rely on the public school system first.

“The premier’s hopes for a 10-year deal in education rests on her dropping her now-12-year-old campaign against classrooms, students and parents, and the teachers they rely on and trust. She needs to drop this appeal against the Bill 22 ruling, which found her government was conspiring to create a chaotic school strike in order to manipulate public opinion so they could pass illegal legislation a second time.

“The ruling found that the premier, by deploying this political strategy, wasted a 12-month opportunity to comply with the law, which effectively gives teachers the right to work with government to improve learning conditions for students.”