BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon on Wednesday, calling the NDP’s business case for a new Royal BC Museum (RBCM) as “unconvincing and incomplete,” said in a statement: “Even after intense backlash from the public, media, and the BC Liberals, [Premier] John Horgan and the NDP are still plowing ahead with their tone-deaf billion-dollar museum vanity project in the middle of an affordability crisis.”
Falcon added: “The business case released today by the NDP fails to justify such an out-of-touch expenditure at a time where British Columbians are facing the highest gas prices in North America, higher-than-ever rents and housing costs, skyrocketing grocery costs, and one in five people don’t have access to a family doctor.
“Not only does this business case fail to convince British Columbians of the need for such a project, the most damning information about this billion-dollar boondoggle has been kept from the public, with a third of the plan’s pages featuring redactions.
“It’s unacceptable that today’s plan, informed by zero public consultation, fails to disclose vital information such as the value for money analysis, construction costs breakdowns, or even the project’s risk matrix.
“Once again, this NDP provincial government, deemed the most secretive in the country by the Canadian Association of Journalists, is failing to be open and transparent with British Columbians. People rightfully have no faith in the NDP to deliver this project, especially given that the first phase, a new collections centre, is already nearly 30 per cent over budget.
“This half-baked project must be cancelled before it’s too late, and the money reinvested in people. British Columbians need help today, whether it’s accessing healthcare or addictions supports, finding affordable housing, or getting some relief from the pain at the pumps. It’s not the time for John Horgan’s billion-dollar vanity project.”
BC Green Party MLA Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands), a member of Tsartlip First Nation, said in a statement: “While we are thankful to finally see the business case, this has been a public relations disaster. At a time when British Columbians are struggling with an affordability crisis, the government has chosen to build the most expensive museum ever constructed in Canada.
“It is no wonder the public response has been overwhelmingly negative. The BC NDP have failed to bring people along in a process that has been ongoing for years. They dropped this announcement on a Friday afternoon without meaningfully consulting the public or providing consistent updates. They have yet to justify why this project is a priority when people are struggling with the rising costs of living and accessing basic healthcare services.
“The BC NDP have framed the new Museum as an act of reconciliation and an opportunity for increased repatriation of items, but today’s business case clearly points to the construction of a larger and ‘modernized’ building to house our sacred items and ancestral remains as the primary objective.
“We do not need a new building to house items they intend to return to Indigenous people – we simply need the museum to prioritize their return. The business case says that Truth and Reconciliation will be minimal if the original building is maintained, but does nothing to assert how a shinier building will do anything more for Indigenous people.”