It must be wonderful to be in Opposition: you can call for all kinds of NEW spending on highways, bridges, the environment, transit, housing, hospitals, community centres, seniors programs, First Nations settlements and projects … and few people add it up.
Then comes an election …. and suddenly those who will have to pay for it all want to know HOW MUCH and WHERE WILL YOU GET THE MONEY?
The NDP and Leader Adrian Dix are now at that point.
I know the normal election campaign (of about 40 days) has not yet begun … but these are not normal times in BC.
The NDP has been promising something for everybody (except maybe big business and the very wealthy) for years now; expressing support and sympathy for virtually every community concern and activist campaign that captured a headline. That no doubt has won them a lot of support from those quarters … but let’s face it: it will take a LOT of “quarters” to pay for it all!
Where are they going to get the money?
Now that the Liberals have laid down/costed their plans (however seemingly ludicrous) in a Throne Speech and Budget, the NDP MUST do the same.
They can no longer hide behind the defence that they didn’t want to give away their plans because the Libs would steal them and put them in their own Throne Speech/Budget.
Too late for that …so it’s time for the NDP to get specific, especially on where they intend to TAX and BOOST revenues.
After all, Dix haven’t and his MLAs/candidates have already called for: another $250 Million in health care spending … on top of the $2 Billion set aside for the next three years; increases in social services spending, programs to combat poverty, provide better child care, eliminate homelessness, add to BC’s public lands inventory, increase reforestation, better public transportation initiatives, lower ferry fares, fund more science programs etc. etc.?
No doubt many of these would be wonderful to see … BUT how would the NDP pay for all of this? Or is it all just pie in the sky promises … just like the Liberals … designed to win votes, not keep it real?
Aftar all, at the same time as they keep adding to their Santa Claus list, they also reject the Libs’ plans to sell off assets, raise MSP premiums, build and tax the Enbridge pipeline, allow expanded tanker traffic along the coast …. and many of their most stalwart supporters have opposed virtually every major resource project expansion: Enbridge; mining, fracking, natural gas port expansions, increased coastal ship traffic, hydro dams and run of river projects.
So where is the money going to come from?
Would Dix and the NDP increase the 7% Provincial Sales Tax, hike income taxes, raise corporate taxes beyond what the Liberal budget proposes, boost taxes on home and car sales, hike fees for drivers’ licences and all other provincial permits, add more taxes on beer and tobacco, re-introduce Coquihalla or other road tolls?
Or just add BILLIONS more to our debt?
The public have a right to know. Now.
In fact, I predict if they wait until just a few weeks before Election Day to reveal their “plan”, that will HURT them … because the Libs/Conservatives will have a relatively short time to make hay with the shock value of any proposed NDP deficit or “temporary” debt increase. Watch for those ads … creating a huge wave of fear among voters!
If the NDP announced their platform/proposals/taxation plans/deficit/debt NOW, they would at least have more well over two months to explain it all , let any shock wear off over their proposals and tell us how we will pay for it all …. maybe even gain public understanding and support with their reasoning and openness.
The NDP can save some announcements and goodies for the campaign, of course, but they must already have …or should have…. the broad blueprint of their plans for BC voters already prepared. What will THEY do and how will WE pay for it?
Or everything Dix and his critics are saying/promising is just phony rhetoric that takes the voters for fools.
I hope not.
And it’s now time for them to prove it.