B.C. Liberal budget continues to make life less affordable

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VICTORIA – British Columbians can expect to pay an average of nearly $900 more over the next three years just for hydro and medical premium increases under the budget tabled Tuesday, say New Democrats.

“This budget shows Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals aren’t fighting to make life more affordable for British Columbia’s families. In fact, it does the opposite,” said New Democrat finance critic Mike Farnworth.

Farnworth said that over the three-year fiscal plan, hydro will cost the average family $477 more and medical premiums will add up to another $400 for families. And that’s on top of other rising costs like ferry rates, tuition, and car insurance.

“The Liberals proved once again they like to get quick political hits by announcing new initiatives like a renewed focus on skills training and making B.C. violence free in the throne speech, but they failed to put those slogans into action in the budget,” said Farnworth, noting the budget contains cuts to post-secondary education and flatlines funding for skills training.

“The B.C. Liberals have put all their eggs in the LNG basket to the exclusion of pretty much every other driver of our economy,” said Farnworth. “But when I look at this budget for the next three years, the first thing I see is that there isn’t one dime of revenue from the Liberals’ LNG dream that was supposed to start coming true next year.”

Farnworth added that while the Liberals campaigned on making B.C. debt-free, under Christy Clark debt has climbed faster than under any other premier in B.C. history. Tuesday’s budget showed another $7 billion added to the provincial debt, which will climb to $69 billion by 2016.

“The B.C. Liberals’ narrow political self-interest has once again trumped the interests of hard working B.C. families. This budget is built on the backs of B.C. families, making them pay more but get less,” said Farnworth.