Summer session brings uncaring cuts, unending scandals for B.C. Liberals

VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberals spent the legislature’s summer session defending uncaring cuts to critical services and scandals that won’t go away, while New Democrats held them to account on a number of key issues.

“Despite election promises to protect public services, the government pushed an uncaring wheelchair tax on seniors, and made reckless cuts to mental health programs that serve as safety nets for vulnerable people,” said New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.

“The Liberals campaigned on a jobs plan, yet have failed to defend B.C. jobs when they get the chance. They refuse to ensure that new ferries are built in B.C. and stand idly by while film productions abandon B.C. for more competitive jurisdictions.

“The Liberals refused to answer questions about an email that suggested they offer a job or hush money to keep a former staffer from revealing information that could be damaging to the Premier,” Dix added. “The former staffer has confirmed a job was offered, yet the Liberals have disowned any responsibility for their behaviour.”

New Democrats also questioned the government’s decision to gut funding to a money and lifesaving drug watchdog, UBC’s Therapeutics Initiative, and on its decision to order the organization not to investigate a potentially dangerous drug the premier championed because the situation was “getting too political.”

“Instead of the transparency this government has promised, ministers stonewalled and deflected, and ultimately left dozens of questions unanswered,” said New Democrat house leader John Horgan. “It is clear this government feels it doesn’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else.

“Even as the Liberals’ election platform promised to eliminate debt, it was racking up debt at the fastest rate of any government in B.C. history, with $5.6 billion added last year alone,” said Horgan.

“Unexplained cost overruns on projects such as the Northwest Transmission Line, massive contracts with independent power producers and Liberal mismanagement of B.C. Hydro will result in double-digit hydro rate increases,” said Horgan.

New Democrats have been a strong, principled opposition in the legislature, and will continue to fight for the critical services British Columbians depend on, and for the accountability they deserve.