At halftime, free enterprise government delivering for province: B.C. Liberals

Christy Clark Photo by Chandra Bodalia
Christy Clark
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

TWO years after the 2013 general election, Premier Christy Clark and a renewed team of BC Liberal MLAs are keeping their promises: maintaining fiscal responsibility and growing the economy, empowering British Columbians to build the lives they want, and standing up for what makes British Columbia special, say the B.C. Liberals.

“British Columbians elected us to watch over government for them – to make sure it serves the needs of ordinary people,” said Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “With a balanced budget, some of the best health and education outcomes in the world, and a strong, diverse economy, we’re delivering what we promised.”

This BC Liberal government has balanced the budget for three straight years, with a responsible fiscal plan that’s on track to reduce B.C.’s operating debt to its lowest level since 1991, while continuing capital investment in health care, education, and infrastructure, say the Liberals.

With a responsible, free enterprise government, B.C. maintains the lowest overall tax burden in Canada for the vast majority of British Columbians, while leading the nation in red tape reduction.

“We promised to implement the BC Jobs Plan to create jobs and strengthen our diverse, private sector economy – and lay the groundwork for a competitive LNG industry with the cleanest facilities in the world,” said Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South. “Working men and women in the Northeast and across BC are counting on us to continue that work in the two years to come.”

“Today, B.C. is a well-known and respected brand around the world,” said Richard T. Lee, MLA for Burnaby North. “By continuing to export more B.C. goods across the Pacific, and attracting Asian head offices to B.C., we’re creating well-paying jobs in communities here at home.”

Recognizing the daily contribution of public sector workers to this province, the government negotiated a historic six-year agreement with teachers, securing labour peace in schools to put the focus squarely on results for students.  And nearly three-quarters of public workers have now reached collective agreements under the Economic Stability Mandate, tying future salary increases to economic growth, say the Liberals.

The government has delivered on major platform commitments to support British Columbia’s families – like the BC Training and Education Savings Grant, the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit, and the BC Children’s Fitness Equipment Tax Credit.

And with the BC Access Grant, BC Completion Grant, and Loan Forgiveness Program, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to get started on the path to a well-paying career in the skilled trades.

“In my riding and throughout B.C., young people are getting more opportunities for rewarding careers thanks to the Skills for Jobs Blueprint,” said Jackie Tegart, MLA for Fraser-Nicola and BC Liberal Caucus Chair. “Just look at the new trades facility at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, where Aboriginal students will get the training to participate in resource projects all over the Interior.”

Determined to help more people move up the income ladder, this government has increased the minimum wage and brought in a formula to make future increases reasonable and predictable. And it has increased the monthly income exemption for those on income assistance, while working to deliver 13,000 new child care spaces over eight years, say the Liberals.

“We’re on the side of every British Columbian who wants to work hard for a living, take care of the people they love, and make a contribution to their community,” said John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack. “That’s why we brought in the Single Parents Employment Initiative, to help those moms and dads transition from income assistance into training and new jobs. Imagine the feeling, and the example they set for their kids, when they get that first paycheque.”

Committed to good environmental stewardship, the BC Liberal government has stuck to its five conditions for heavy oil pipelines, while working with the federal government to deliver world-class spill response on the Pacific coast. And Clark recently launched Climate Action Plan 2.0, challenging jurisdictions around the world to meet or beat B.C.’s standard.

“British Columbians expect us to achieve responsible resource development, and nobody in the world does it better,” said Linda Larson, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “From farmers and ranchers, to our forest and mining industries, to the rapidly growing high tech sector, B.C.’s future looks brighter than ever if we stick to our plan.”

With strong economic fundamentals and responsible fiscal management, leading experts at the Conference Board of Canada and BMO Financial Group expect British Columbia to lead Canada in economic growth over the next two years, point out the Liberals.