What are the top election promises from the 3 major parties?
A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. (Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VANCOUVER -- With just days to go before the provincial election, CTV News is looking into the top election promises made by the three major parties during the campaign, with analysis from pollster Mario Canseco, the president of Research Co.
Canseco says much of the NDP's promises have been focused around the delivery of services at a more local level.
“When you’re the government, you have that opportunity to say, 'Well, let's announce that in this specific moment, because we know it’s going to resonate with voters,'” Canseco said.
In the NDP’s platform, John Horgan announced a Recovery Benefit Fund that would make available $3 billion a year to build schools, hospitals and other capital projects.
Some of those promises include:
- Completion of a new Surrey hospital in Cloverdale;
- To build cancer centres in Nanaimo and Kamloops; and
- To build a new elementary school in Vancouver’s Olympic Village.
Promises made by the Liberals for future projects include:
- A new tower at Richmond Hospital;
- Restarting construction on a bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel; and
- Continued handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a survey by Research Co., 52 per cent of British Columbians say John Horgan is better suited to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 20 per cent for Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson.
“Their ad campaign has been based around the idea that everything is fine, we’ve avoided the problems related to COVID-19 that we’re seeing in other provinces and other parts of the world,” Canseco said.
Promises related to the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- 10 new urgent and primary care centres by the end of the year;
- $1.4 billion over 10 years to build new long-term care homes and improve wages for long-term care workers; and
- COVID-19 relief package which includes $1,000 payments to certain families, freeze rent increases to the end of 2021 and a means-tested $400 renters’ rebate.
Promises made by the Liberals related to handling of the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- $1 billion over five years to build new long-term care and assisted-living homes;
- Establishing an emergency Pandemic Response Committee; and
- Implement a province-wide framework for hybrid and online learning options.
The Green party also promises to ensure remote and hybrid learning options for all B.C. school districts.
All three major political parties have made promises around child care.
The NDP is promising to expand the limited number of $10-a-day child-care spaces available in the province.
- $10/day childcare for families with household incomes under $65,000, $20/day for families making $90,000 and $30/day for those over $125,000;
- A single, online waiting list for families seeking government funded childcare; and
- Funding for 10,000 child-care spaces.
- Free child care for children under three and free early childhood education for three- and four-year-olds; and
- Up to $500 per month in support for stay-at-home parents with children under three years old.
Provincial Sales Tax
Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson is promising to get rid of the 7 per cent Provincial Services Tax (PST) for a year and cut it to 3 per cent for the second year.
Wilkinson says the move is “necessary during unprecedented times.”
Surrey Police Force
The Liberals promise to pause the Surrey police transition and hold a referendum for city residents before continuing.
Canseco says the move by the Liberals to get involved in a municipal issue is “an interesting way to try and engage those voters,” adding, “They’re trying to say the NDP government did not do due diligence.”
Canseco says a big focus for the Green party this election is discussing issues that are “five or 10 or 15 years down the road.”
A major theme in all promises made by leader Sonia Furstenau is a push to renewable energy.
Some of the Green party promises include:
- To ban logging of old growth forests in high-risk ecosystems;
- To ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) ;
- To end all fossil fuel industry subsidies;
- To restrict sales of non-zero emission vehicles by 2035; and
- To cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 and to zero by 2050.
The NDP also promises to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Work and income
Furstenau is proposing to launch a consultation process with business and labour to explore a four-day work week.
On the topic of basic income, the Green party promises include:
- A basic income for youth aging out of government care; and
- To create a permanent Fair Wages Commission to recommend minimum wage increases.
Canseco said these promises are “an interesting departure for a party that usually does not get involved so heavily on economic policy.”
You can also read the full platforms from the BC NDP, BC Liberals and BC Green parties on their websites.