VICTORIA – As the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services presents the Report on the Budget 2023 Consultation in the Legislature today, the Official Opposition is highlighting recommendations excluded from the report and urging the NDP government to immediately act on key recommendations concerning health care, housing, and the high cost of living.
“What has stood out during the budget consultation with British Columbians is worsening affordability and quality of life under the NDP governance,” said MLA Karin Kirkpatrick, Deputy Chair of the Committee. “People are calling for urgent action — from the overburdened health care system to the lack of affordable housing, and the underfunding for children and youth with support needs to address waitlists. These are issues the BC Liberals have been pressing the NDP to solve for a long time as we proposed solutions that kept being dismissed. Some of the report recommendations also echo Private Members’ Bills we introduced multiple times, such as the Equal Pay Report Act and the Assessment Amendment Act. It’s time for the government to take people’s concerns seriously, set their priorities right and deliver tangible results.”
The BC Liberals are calling on the government to accept the following report recommendations:
Conduct an immediate review of primary care to determine how the existing system can more effectively serve the community, increase access to longitudinal care, identify and resolves issues, and identify opportunities to improve navigation for the public;
Incentivize the private sector to be innovative and creative in addressing the low housing stock;
Ensure any changes to services for children and youth with support needs are fully funded to provide appropriate resources and eliminate waitlists;
Take immediate action to address pay equity for women;
Enhance capacity to address mining and natural resources permitting backlogs and ensure predictable timelines;
Implement split assessment model on property taxation to address rising costs for small and medium-sized businesses;
Prioritize the enactment of prompt payment legislation that is inclusive of lien reform and adjudication;
Provide increased, predictable, multi-year funding to the community social services sector, including administrative funding and supports to address compensation challenges.
In addition, Kirkpatrick expressed strong concern that NDP committee members avoided making recommendations on several important issues. Recommendations heard by the committee but excluded in the report include:
Support all childcare providers — including independent ones — to be part of the overall system, and ensure the efficient and equitable rollout of $10-a-day childcare for all British Columbians;
Return the carbon tax to revenue neutrality to put money back in the pockets of British Columbians and support trade-exposed industries with decarbonization projects;
Recognize and conducte a full review of the impact of NDP taxes on businesses; and
Ensure farmers are not double-billed for MSP and EHT for seasonal workers.
“The NDP members’ reluctance to engage in these key issues speaks volume about their lack of intention and capability to provide help and deliver true results for British Columbians,” added Kirkpatrick. “Consultation without true engagement on issues that matter to British Columbians is meaningless. It is my hope that this government stops ignoring solutions that can improve people’s lives and starts providing leadership with concrete actions.”