To the editor:
This analysis deals not with the platform but with the more instructive past performance.
If I vote Liberal on May 14, it will be for the following reasons.
• In 1992, when the NDP was elected, B.C.’s GDP per capita was eight per cent above the Canadian average. By 2001, when the NDP was defeated, it was eight per cent below. Now it’s again above the average. In 2013 Moody’s awarded B.C. its highest possible rating— Triple A. Moody’s praised “the province’s track record of prudent fiscal planning and of managing fiscal pressures effectively.”
• B.C. has the lowest income tax rate in Canada for those earning less than $120,000. The small business tax rate is now half what it was under the NDP.
• With the Port Mann Bridge and freeway widening the Liberals remedied this bottleneck.
• The rebuilt BC Place Stadium is spectacular.
• The new Convention Centre is magnificent.
• An example of many major projects is Rio Tinto’s scheduled $3.3 billion upgrade to its Kitimat aluminum smelter creating 2,500 construction and 1,000 long-term jobs.
• The minimum wage was increased to $10.25.
• The Canadian Federation of Independent Business awarded B.C. an “A” for leading all provinces in red tape reduction.
• Since June, 2012 welfare recipients can earn up to $200 a month without clawback.
• With Liberal support, B.C. is now a world leader in clean tech with over 200 clean tech firms generating an estimated $2.5 billion in revenue in 2011.
• A 10-point, $2 million anti-bullying strategy was implemented.
• An Independent Investigations Office was established to investigate serious cases involving police officers.
If I don’t vote Liberal it will be for the following reasons.
• Costly HST fiasco.
• The reprehensible plan to use government resources for partisan gain among ethnics.
• Breaking an agreement by cancelling the $6 million legal defence loan despite the fact that senior Liberal staffers Dave Basi and Bob Virk were convicted of crimes in the BC Rail case.
• When the Liberals were elected in 2001, B.C.’s debt, including the guaranteed agencies’ debt, was $33.6 billion. When Christy Clark took over it was $45 billion. Now it is $56 billion.
• In 2011 Auditor General John Doyle stated that “For a government that strives for transparency and accountability this is unacceptable.”
• In 2011-12 the government’s Pacific Carbon Trust, which sells carbon credits, collected about 97 per cent of its carbon payments from public institutions. The project is failing.
• At 6.7 cents per litre this tax penalizes consumers but does not reduce pollution.
• The new convention centre was to cost $495 million; it cost $883 million. Reconstructing BC Place Stadium was to cost $150 million; it cost $458 million.
• One in seven B.C. children lives in poverty.
• In 2006 the government rejected the Missing Women Report. Many lives might have been saved.
• It broke its promise not to sell BC Rail.
• The government’s incredible mishandling of Boss Power’s uranium mine application cost B.C. taxpayers $30 million.
• In 2012 the government lost $35 million by rejecting a tentative deal with Telus to rename BC Place Stadium.
• British Columbians pay more than twice what Ontarians do for generic drugs.
• Instead of lowering rates, the Liberals’ 2010 budget transferred $778 million of ICBC surplus funds to general revenue.
• $780,000 was spent on a pro-HST mailer that was never mailed.
• $100,000 was spent improving the Coquihalla Toll Plaza a few months before tolls were abolished and it was removed.
• After its big sale to CN in 2003, BC Rail was left with 40 kilometres of track and 30 employees. CEO Kevin Mahoney reportedly continued to be paid $500,000 a year.
• Numerous high salaries and severances are unconscionable. In 2010 almost 99 per cent of BC Hydro’s 6,000 employees received bonuses totalling $42.3 million. Almost 40 per cent, 2,371, earned more than $100,000. When Premier Christy Clark released aide Allan Seckel, his severance was $549,776.
• The first Family Day holiday cost the average small business $1,135. B.C.’s economy lost at least $200 million.
• With rising prices, the Land Transfer Tax is unfair.
I have studied the issues and have decided how I will vote. I urge all voters to do likewise.
John H. Redekop,
adjunct professor, Trinity Western University