By John Horgan
Victoria: In this week’s Throne Speech, we saw a premier who is out of touch with real life for most British Columbians and only interested in helping B.C.’s highest income earners.
While helping 98 per cent of British Columbians is not on her agenda, the premier is handing out a $230 million tax break to B.C.’s top two per cent of income earners. For someone who makes $1 million, that will mean a tax break of $17,000.
The tax cut shows the premier either has no idea who in this province needs help, or she is aware of B.C.’s
struggling families and still feels her friends deserve a break more than they do. The premier should know that under her government, families are paying more and getting less. The medical services tax has doubled, Hydro rate hikes will reach 74 per cent, and ferry fares and camping fees are up – all while wages aren’t keeping pace. At the same time, the hospitals, schools and seniors’ centres that families depend on are in decline because of this government’s neglect.
We are a province of huge potential, with hardworking people, a bounty of natural resources and a location that is strategically important in the global economy. So why are so many B.C. families falling behind? Why are today’s young British Columbians worried they will be the first generation to be worse off economically than their parents?
Because our potential is being squandered by a premier who puts her friends first. In this week’s Throne Speech, the premier did not present a single plan that will benefit real people in this province. Not only is she doing nothing to make life better, she is even failing to keep the promises she made to British Columbians.
The premier has called the LNG industry the ‘central preoccupation’ of her government. But so far all we’ve seen are promises of jobs for temporary foreign workers, and environmental standards that don’t cover 70 per cent of emissions.
In her Throne Speech, the premier reiterated the same predictions of LNG’s jobs bonanza and economic miracle that she has been making for two years. But this time, they were only possibilities – a far cry from previous throne speeches filled with promises.
You just can’t take the premier at her word anymore.She took a risky bet on LNG at the expense of other industries in this province like forestry and mining, which have been neglected by her government. We need to do better. We need a government whose “central preoccupation” is helping build an economy that creates good jobs for British Columbians first – high paying jobs in sustainable industries.
Instead, when given the opportunity to talk about what she is doing for British Columbians, Premier Clark presented a half-hour speech that contained no solutions and no ideas to help the people in this province facing everyday struggles.She showed that in her government, families come last.
By John Horgan