B.C. Liberals: Auditor General report says NDP fails to support economic recovery

B.C.’S Auditor General Michael Pickup on Friday released a report that reveals the NDP government has been sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars that was originally promised to support businesses manage their response to the pandemic, said the B.C. Liberals.

“Back in March, we came together across party lines and voted for an immediate aid package to help support individuals and businesses deal with the unprecedented consequences of COVID-19,” said BC Liberal Critic for Economic Development Jas Johal. “The revelation that [Premier] John Horgan and the NDP have been hoarding money that could have kept people working and eased the stress on small business owners is absolutely appalling. John Horgan misled British Columbians about what his government was doing to help them, which as it turns out, wasn’t what the NDP promised.”

Pickup’s report shows that when the $5 billion COVID-19 fund was announced, the NDP specified $2.8 billion was allocated for individuals with the remaining $2.2 billion allocated for businesses. The report criticizes the NDP government for underfunding that promise, and notes only $100 million have been identified as business spending. The NDP added further insult to injury last week by abruptly ending deferrals on major B.C. taxes. Businesses must now pay a total of $6.3 billion in deferred taxes by the end of September and were not given the option to use payment instalment plans, said Johal.

“For seven months, John Horgan has refused to deliver an economic recovery plan and now we find out the NDP has deliberately withheld money that could have helped stressed-out employers and employees. The big question is, why? It certainly looks like Horgan and the NDP are building a slush fund to spend during a snap fall election and that’s completely unacceptable,” added Johal. “We supported the government in March because British Columbians deserved to be put first before politics. It’s become obvious that Horgan is only looking out for himself. There’s no other reason for the NDP to have not delivered the support they promised.”