Reality check: Does Mike de Jong stand by criticism of policies he now supports?

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Last week, Christy Clark delivered a desperate throne speech that lifted numerous policies directly from the B.C. NDP’s broadly popular platform.

But during the campaign, the B.C. Liberals dispatched Mike de Jong to attack the financial implications of the B.C. NDP platform elements they now claim to support.

Not only have the B.C. Liberals copied the “big ticket” items from the B.C. NDP platform, but they’ve refused to adopt the revenue measures designed to pay for them: modest tax hikes on profitable corporations and the richest two per cent.

Below are just a few ways de Jong described the B.C. NDP platform during the campaign. Does he stand by his statements now that the B.C. Liberals support the same policies?

“The suggestion that these promises that are coming fast and furious from Mr. Horgan and the NDP can be accommodated within a balanced budget, absent massive tax increases, is simply absurd.” (April 19 Press conference, 1:00)

“It’s different by the way, from what the opposition party wants to do, which is eliminate tolls altogether. That represents foregone revenue in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars and even worse, would immediately lead to a credit downgrade for British Columbia and that has all kinds of negative ramifications for taxpayers.” (Abbotsford News)

“The decision to forgo all toll revenues in the way the NDP have announced, in my view, will guarantee a credit downgrade for BC… this decision in and of itself is sufficient to lead to a credit downgrade.” (Metro News, April 10)

“But to simply shrug that off as I think a leading member of the NDP did just a few moments ago, and to say it’s just going to carry on as usual, that’s absurd. That’s either misleading or an indication that they simply don’t understand the magnitude of what they are proposing or the impact it would have for British Columbians.” (Press conference, 6:30)

“There’s an old saying down on the farm: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. British Columbians understand that when you make promises of the sort Mr. Horgan is making, someone is going to pay.” (Press conference, 5:15)

“We have resisted, consistently, the temptation to go out and make all these kinds of pledges and promises as if no one had to pay for them. That is not the approach Mr. Horgan has taken. And as a result, you can see what happens immediately… our debt to GDP will jump to in excess of 18 per cent and then track upwards in excess of 20 per cent.” (Press conference, 14:30)

“The question that flows from that of course is what taxes are going to be increased to accommodate that, or is the NDP simply not telling the truth when it says it’s going to balance the budget?” (Press conference, 8:30)