John Horgan will emerge from the BC election as Premier again … but he should not yet sleep soundly.
In the one and only televised Leaders’ Debate before the Oct 24 vote, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson got under Horgan’s skin a few times, including when he accused Horgan of stalling and “dragging out” release of BC’s emergency business relief program until three days before the election call, when other provinces introduced theirs in June and July.
“How can we trust you to look after our small businesses when you did this for purely self-serving reasons so that you can have an election and try to secure your employment for the next four years?”, Wilkinson jabbed.
“We talked to British Columbians, Andrew, which is what I think leaders are supposed to do. There’s a litany of examples where BC Liberals decided they knew best and we’ve been patching those holes ever since we were sworn in as government,’ Horgan punched back.
And the Liberal Leader also scored a hit when he noted the NDP had promised more “affordable housing” in the last election, but house, condo and rental prices went up.
“Your housing plan is a complete fiasco because the cost of housing is the highest it’s ever been, while incomes are actually going down.”
“You’ve got to get out of your neighborhood and talk to people, my friend. It’s working for lots and lots of people”, Horgan hit back, citing the case of a Maple ridge former homeless man now living in his own place
“You want to go back to let the speculators make lots of one bedroom condos in downtown and leave everyone else to fend for themselves,” the NDP Leader bristled.
Wilkinson also evoked a snap-back from Horgan when he described BC’s “Clean BC ” program as a “bit of a sham”.
“Greenhouse gasses have gone up regularly each year under the NDP: nothing has been accomplished …. Your Clean BC plan is a giant hot air balloon with not much in it!” the Liberal leader delivered.
Horgan defended Clean BC as “a continent-leading plan the Greens and the NDP worked on together”.
“Mr. Wilkinson’s plan about being an energy powerhouse involves making sure developer friends got power purchase agreements that drive up costs for Hydro users. That’s not a plan to create a clean economy; that’s a plan to create money for speculators and your wealthy friends.”
Green Leader Sonya Furstenau, with her airy, idyllic world scenarios, seemed almost irrelevant for most of the debate as the two main contenders slugged it out for power … BUT then she scored one of the best points just as the debate wound up.
“We’ve had for three and a half years an unprecedented level of co-operation in the BC Legislature: it serves people well. The best thing in this election is not to hand power to any single party, but to ensure that we have the kind of collaboration and co-operation that puts people and their needs first … and to achieve that, vote Green.”
And THAT would ruin Horgan and the NDP’s ultimate goal behind the early election call … achieving majority government and total power.
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