By John Horgan
It’s been a long five years since Christy Clark became premier.
Five years of rising fees and rising taxes, ballooning debt and broken promises.
That’s on top of the decade of B.C. Liberal government that came before – making it a total of 15 long years of paying more, but getting less.
Our province has a lot to be proud of. But British Columbians face challenges every day, and that’s where government comes in.
It’s the job of the premier to be there for everyone, not just top income earners or political friends.
Life in this province is tough, and it’s getting tougher.
The premier said she would fix the unfair medical services tax, but British Columbians will pay more in MSP this year than ever before, and another hike is already scheduled for next year.
Hydro rates, ICBC rates, ferry fares – even camping fees are on the rise as this government reaches into the pockets of British Columbians again and again.
The only people who can catch a break from this government are millionaires, who are getting a billion-dollar tax break over four years.
Premier Clark’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) promises – remember those 100,000 jobs? – have fallen flat with not a single project built, and despite her promise to make B.C. debt-free, the province’s debt is growing faster and higher than ever.
So, when I see the premier spending her time proclaiming the first Wednesday in March Red Tape Reduction Day, it tells me that she is not just out of ideas, she’s out of touch.
I dislike red tape as much as the next guy, but surely the premier has something better to do than stage a day of entirely manufactured photo ops. Surely addressing the heartless way her government has treated people living with disabilities in its recent budget – by increasing their benefits, only to take away that money again by hiking the cost of their bus passes – is a higher priority.
Surely she should be taking real action on affordability in the Lower Mainland, or elevated lead levels in Prince Rupert schools, or one of the myriad priorities across this province, before taking the day off to promote her party’s message.
Remember Om the Bridge? Last year, the premier wanted to shut down the Burrard Bridge to host a yoga photo op – and do it on National Aboriginal Day at that. Only after British Columbians voiced outrage was she forced to cancel it.
Recently, my New Democrat colleagues discovered the premier was prepared to spend $100,000 of your money on her yoga photo op. It’s a plan that speaks volumes about the premier and her priorities.
Premier Clark has had five years to figure out what matters to British Columbians. The fact that she still thinks it’s photo ops and politics just shows she’s never going to get it.
John Horgan is the Leader of the BC New Democrats.