We've asked candidates in the top ten ridings (by membership population) to answer questions on the issues members raised in January. Below you will find responses from the BC Liberal Party.
The foundation of Today’s BC Liberal plan is a strong, growing, and diverse economy that creates good-paying jobs for British Columbians. Because a job is the best way to look after the people we love. Unions are an important part of that.
Like everyone else, the best thing for union workers is work. That's why we are focused on responsible resource development and building the infrastructure our province needs to continue to grow our economy.
We will continue to find ways to ensure that British Columbians have the opportunity to find well paying, family supporting jobs. Unions have and will continue to have a role in our province and we are committed to a constructive working relationship.
Today’s BC Liberals have long been recognized as global climate leaders, with North America’s first broad based, revenue-neutral carbon tax and the first to have a carbon-neutral public sector. We can also be proud that our electricity supply is already 98% clean. Not only do we have the fastest growing economy in the country, but we are seeing significant growth in the clean economy that currently employs more than 68,000 people.
We’ve proven that you can reduce GHG emissions while continuing to grow the economy and create jobs for BC families. Our Climate Leadership Plan sets out 21 new strategic actions spanning the province's transportation and industrial sectors, along with the built environment and government operations, including:
Today’s BC Liberals have long been recognized as climate leaders, introducing North America’s first transparent, revenue-neutral carbon tax in 2008. Currently at $30 per tonne, B.C.’s carbon tax is the highest and most comprehensive carbon price on the continent.
We will maintain the carbon tax freeze until 2021, while other Canadian provinces catch up to our leadership position. The carbon tax will be revenue neutral, meaning every dollar raised will be returned to British Columbians in the form of tax relief. This way, we maintain affordability for families and competitiveness for industry.
Today’s BC Liberals have a plan to create more jobs, because a good job is the best way to look after the people we love. And to make sure every resource is available, we need to build on our record of having one of the lowest overall tax burdens in Canada. Today’s BC Liberals recognize individuals and families know how to spend their money best – not government.
Personal income taxes for most British Columbians have been reduced by 37% from BC NDP levels:
We also introduced the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit, which saves families up to $660 a year per child under six, helping 180,000 families. And we created the BC Children’s Fitness Equipment Tax Credit – up to $250 per year - in addition to $500 Children’s Fitness & Arts Tax Credits.
For middle-class families looking for help making life more affordable, Today’s BC Liberals will provide a billion-dollar tax cut by making dramatic reductions to Medical Service Plan (MSP) Premiums. With two million British Columbians already exempt from MSP, two million more will see their premiums cut by 50% in January – the first step towards eliminating MSP entirely. That means a typical family of four earning less than $120,000 will save $900 per year in 2018.
We will continue to work to make life more affordable for families by:
Today’s BC Liberals recognize the critical importance of affordable housing and the investments our government has made reflect this. Since 2001, we have invested or committed to a total of $6.3 billion to provide affordable housing supply for low-income seniors, families and British Columbians. Through these investments, we have completed close to 24,000 new units of affordable housing.
Our plan of action is guided by 6 key principles:
To implement these principles, Today’s BC Liberals will:
Today’s BC Liberal government adopted a comprehensive housing strategy in 2006, with Housing Matters BC. It was updated in 2012 and we will continue to build on it with the approaches outlined above.
B.C. has the best health outcomes in Canada, and since forming government, Today’s BC Liberals have made record investments in making sure British Columbians live long, healthy lives. This year, we are increasing Ministry of Health’s budget by $875 million, in 2018/19 $501 million and in 2019/20, a further $572 million, reaching almost $20 billion. From our investments in new and expanded hospitals, to more than doubling the number of doctors who graduate from B.C. medical schools, to creating healthy-senior friendly communities— Today’s BC Liberals understand that there is nothing more important than the health of an individual.
And while we have made huge strides, we know there is much more to do as our population continues to grow and age. Today’s BC Liberals have a plan for health care, now and into the future.
We will increase the number of medical professionals in B.C. by:
We are also committed to:
A growing and aging population means British Columbia needs a vigorous plan to ensure people have the health care they need. As people age, they need more health care services than they did in their earlier years.
We are fortunate to have highly-skilled and highly- trained medical practitioners across the province that can help. We need to make sure all of them can contribute to our health, and we’ve already started making progress. British Columbians can now get flu shots and travel vaccines at their local pharmacist’s office. But there is more we can do to safely expand the scope of practice for medical professionals – from nurse practitioners to pharmacists.
If re-elected, Today’s BC Liberals will develop and implement a Ministerial Task Force on Expanded Scope of Practice, with a special focus on how we provide better access to health care in rural and remote communities.
In addition to the Ministerial Task Force and developing strategies to attract and retain existing health care practitioners, we will work with provincial medical credentialing colleges to safely and responsibly expand the scope of practice of medical practitioners in British Columbia thereby reducing pressure on general practitioners, registered nurses, and other in-demand professionals.
With up to one million job openings expected by 2025, Today’s BC Liberals’ plan is focused on taking full advantage of our growing economy by ensuring that the right training is available at our post-secondary institutions in different regions of the province. From trades to tech, we are re-engineering the way our post-secondary system works to ensure British Columbians can take full advantage of the jobs of today, and tomorrow.
Today’s BC Liberals are determined to ensure British Columbians are first in line for the job openings to come. Which is why we introduced the Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which is designed to provide supports for students to pursue in-demand careers.
We are proud of what we’ve accomplished:
If re-elected, Today’s BC Liberals will:
Today’s BC Liberals want British Columbians to have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to be first in line for jobs. That’s why we introduced the Skills for Jobs Blueprint in 2014, our plan to align funding and programs to a data-driven system where training dollars and programs target in-demand occupations. Prudent fiscal management and the country’s fastest growing economy has allowed us to make significant investments in our post-secondary system. These include:
To become a leader in the innovation economy, we will work to increase the talent pool by 1,000 grads per year by 2022, with increased graduates in regions throughout the province. Once those 1,000 additional graduates have completed their fourth year, we will expand by another 1,000.
As government, Today’s BC Liberals are proud of the investments we have made in our post-secondary system. Operating grants provided to public post-secondary institutions have increased by 45.5% – from $1.3 billion in 2001-02 to more than $1.8 billion in 2016-17. And we have invested more than $3.3 billion in capital and infrastructure projects at public post-secondary institutions in BC since 2001, including 1,900 capital projects throughout the province.
We have been able to make these investments by building the fastest growing economy in the country. By sticking to our plan, we will continue to make post-secondary education a priority, putting British Columbians first in line for jobs.
Since 2001, more than 25 per cent of licensed science officer positions in BC’s public service have been eliminated.
British Columbia has clear, rigorous environmental standards, ensuring decisions are made consistently and fairly to balance the needs of industry while protecting our environment. It is critical that this process not be subjected to political interference. Information provided by Qualified Professionals is taken into account by independent decision makers, but to be clear, final permitting decisions in BC are made by the technical experts in the BC government.
Overall, the ratio of PEA professionals in the BC Public Service has remained roughly consistent since 2001. The number and types of professionals government employs is guided by the human resources needs flowing from Ministry Service Plans. This ensures government employs the resources it needs and taxpayers receive the best value for their money. Today’s BC Liberals will continue to maintain appropriate staffing levels and employ those individuals with the skills needed to effectively deliver the programs and services British Columbians rely on.