John Horgan Leader of the B.C. New Democrats
Premier John Horgan
Premier John Horgan

Many people in communities throughout B.C. are struggling to keep up with the pressure of rising costs. It’s time you had a government that puts you first, and takes action to make life more affordable for your family. That’s exactly what we’re doing.

For 16 years, the BC Liberals left people behind. Their choices made life harder for you. They gave tax cuts to the wealthiest, while families paid the price in increased taxes and fees. Costs for people went up and housing prices went through the roof, while health care and schools were cut and wages stagnated. It’s time you got a break.

Our government is already working hard to make your life more affordable. We have taken important first steps to give you some relief and make life less expensive.

On Friday, we eliminated tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges that unfairly targeted people for where they live and put pressure on already strained pocket books. People who live south of the Fraser were paying over $1,500 a year, just to get to work. The tolls weren’t fair. We eliminated them, which will save people time and get people moving. That’s government working for you.

We’re removing barriers to education for people by eliminating tuition fees for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning starting September 1. People shouldn’t be struggling to get the basic education and language skills they need to improve their lives. When the BC Liberals started charging tuition fees in 2015, enrollment dropped by almost 35%. They shut people out. We re-opened the doors, gave hope and help to people throughout the province, and made a long-term investment in B.C.’s economy.

We also took swift action to address poverty in British Columbia by lifting income assistance and disability assistance by $100 a month. Under the Liberal government, income assistance rates were frozen for 10 years. We recognize that raising the rates is only the beginning. We will bring forward a comprehensive poverty reduction plan to lift children and families out of poverty. The Liberal government left B.C. with the highest poverty rate in the country. Reversing that trend will take time, increasing the rates is a good first step in the right direction.

And we made our first move toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage for British Columbia by announcing a 50-cent increase for September. British Columbia’s lowest-paid workers deserve a raise. A fair wage commission will get us to $15-and-hour on a planned and responsible path.

We’re taking action to make life better for working parents, seniors, new Canadians, students and people who are struggling to get by. The BC Liberals made your life more expensive. They ignored transit users and put steep tolls on key commuter bridges. They doubled MSP fees and tripled tuition. They raised ferry fares, Hydro rates and ICBC premiums. They stood by and did nothing while rent and housing prices skyrocketed.

Our government is working hard to make your life more affordable and improve the services you count on while creating good jobs and a sustainable economy.

We’re building a build a better BC, with a government that works for you.

These are the first steps. There’s more to come