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Platform Points: Each party’s 2020 B.C. election promises

Ahead of Oct. 24, known to many British Columbians this year as Voting Day in the province’s snap election, here are highlights of the platforms of the three main parties:

B.C. NDP:

  • Families with an annual household income under $125,000 would get a one-time $1,000 COVID-19 recovery benefit, with the benefit going to others on a sliding scale up to a household income of $175,000.
  • Individuals with an income of up to $62,000 would receive the $500 recovery benefit, with others getting help up to an income of $87,000.
  • A 10-year plan would be launched to improve cancer care, including in rural communities that would also see more money spent on new equipment, screening, diagnosis and treatment services.
  • Once it is available and approved, the COVID-19 vaccine would be free to everyone.
  • The province would build a new medical school to train more doctors.
  • Rents would be frozen until the end of next year, followed by a permanent cap on rent increases set at the rate of inflation.
  • The province would spend an additional $3 billion a year for three years to build schools and hospitals, which would create 18,000 new jobs a year.
  • New platform spending would cost about $2.2 billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, excluding the $3-billion annual capital commitment to build new schools and hospitals.
  • The platform promises in the following 2021-22 fiscal year would cost $2 billion and 2.7 billion in 2022-23.
  • The platform would increase the deficit in 2020-21 from a projected $12.8 billion to $15 billion.
  • A previous pledge to bring in $10-a-day child care would be expanded to include free transit for kids up to age 12.
  • The NDP would work with the federal government to decriminalize simple possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use because of the opioid crisis.
  • ICBC surpluses during the pandemic would be returned to drivers through premium rebates.
  • The provincial sales tax would be removed on the purchase of electric bikes.
  • The province would begin phasing out single-use plastics.

B.C. Liberals:

  • The seven-per-cent PST would be eliminated for one year, which would cost about $6.9 billion; the tax rate would then be set at three per cent “as the economy grows.”
  • The Small Business Income Tax would be scrapped, which would save businesses about $217 million a year.
  • All provincial taxes would be reviewed by an independent Fair Tax Commission.
  • Child care for low-income earners would be set at a rate of $10 a day with additional subsidies provided for middle-class families, while also adding 10,000 new child-care spaces.
  • An additional $1 billion would be spent over five years on new long-term care facilities.
  • Every senior citizen living in long-term care who wants a private room would be ensured that they have one.
  • Legislation to ban early elections during provincial emergencies would be brought in.
  • A system of hybrid and online learning would be set up for children during the pandemic.
  • Permit processes used for natural resource projects and new housing construction would be streamlined.
  • A new tax credit for seniors of up to $7,000 a year would be created to cover home care, costing about $135 million.
  • Drivers would be allowed to buy auto insurance more widely and not just from the Crown-owned Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
  • An additional $58 million a year would be spent on police, the Crown prosecution service and to cover the cost of more psychiatric social workers and nurses to improve public safety.
  • Spending on infrastructure would be increased by $8 billion over three years, which the party says represents a 35 per cent jump in spending and would bring the total spent on everything from transportation to hospitals to $30.9 billion over three years.
  • The Liberals say their platform adds about $2 billion in new operating expenditures for the province, with $1.1 billion of that going to cover the cost of its child-care promises.

BC Greens:

  • Spend $24 million to support student mental health by increasing the number of school counsellors.
  • Extend leases for existing housing co-ops that are about to expire while also creating a land bank for new co-ops.
  • Create a capital fund to help acquire and maintain rental housing by non-profit organizations.
  • Provide a basic income for youth aging out of care.
  • Create a rental support program for those paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent.
  • Develop a plan to phase out public funding that goes to for-profit long-term care facilities.
  • Provide universal early education for three- and four-year-old children.
  • Create a $1 billion innovation fund to shift to a zero-carbon economy as part of a clean recovery plan that includes help for workers.
  • Review procedures for wellness checks with a goal of expanding the use of integrated mental health crisis teams.
  • In the first year, the platform’s promises would cost about $3.8 billion.
  • The party says it would spend more than $10 billion over three years to “deliver a green and inclusive recovery from COVID.”
  • About $1 billion a year would be saved by ending oil and gas subsidies and revenue would rise by increasing the carbon tax.
  • The province would recognize the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, which says people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected.
  • Introduce equal pay legislation.
  • Make prescription contraceptive products free for those under 25 and remove the PST on them.
  • Allocate $300 million for a six-month rent subsidy program for small businesses.
  • Promote neighbourhood car co-ops with insurance coverage and designated parking areas.
  • Make BC Ferries a Crown corporation.
  • Commit to make B.C. carbon neutral by 2045, which would match California.

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