THE B.C. Greens said on Tuesdya that the BC NDP government’s 2021 Budget makes some important investments but lacks the ambition required to set the province up for a strong future.
“I welcome the much-needed investments in Budget 2021 in areas like health care and supporting people and businesses through COVID-19, but I had been hoping to see a far more ambitious agenda from this government. This is the time to recognize the pivotal moment we are in, when we can pair our recovery from COVID-19 with a transformative plan that ensures a green and just future for B.C.,” said B.C. Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley.
“Right now around the world, other jurisdictions are recognizing that reducing inequality, addressing climate change and building a clean economy are not just nice-to-haves, they are absolute imperatives. If we fail to reach for the limits of our potential now, we risk being left behind.
“I was glad to see the government acknowledge that the recovery from COVID-19 will be uneven, but I remain troubled by their continued sole reliance on outdated economic indicators like GDP growth. British Columbians have lived with a growing affordability crisis for years, and they know that growth driven by an out-of-control housing market actually makes life harder. B.C.’s economy continues to rely far too much on real estate to drive revenues. We need to change the way we assess the health of our economy if we are going to address the structural inequalities that are built into it.”
Furstenau pointed to the following key areas as notably lacking in the government’s budget:
- No funding for preventative mental health services that would fully incorporate mental health care under MSP.
- No real action to cool the housing market and tackle the affordability crisis gripping cities and towns across BC.
- Lack of implementation of the recommendations of the basic income panel, including to provide people with disabilities, women fleeing violence, and youth aging out of care with a basic income.
- No funding to create a paradigm shift in our forestry sector and to implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel, including through funding for Indigenous-led protected areas and conservation financing.
- Lack of ambitious climate action that matches the scale of the challenge we face.
- Lack of funding and policy direction to fulfill the government’s promise to “fix the cracks” in our seniors care system.
- Inadequate plan for a green recovery that prioritizes investments in rapid transit, clean infrastructure, and worker transition.