OCTOBER 26 marks the first 100 days of our new government. We’re getting to work to make life more affordable, improve the services people count on, and create good jobs for people throughout B.C.
We’re just getting started, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far to make life better for people in B.C.
For 16 years, the people in B.C. were left behind. The B.C. Liberal government gave tax cuts to the wealthiest, while families paid the price in increased taxes and fees. Costs went up and housing prices went through the roof, while health care and schools were cut and wages stagnated.
Our government is putting you first, and taking action to make life more affordable for your family. In our first 100 days, we’ve taken immediate, concrete first steps to give you some relief and make life less expensive.
As our cities grew, the B.C. Liberals put steep tolls on key commuter bridges and ignored transit users. We eliminated tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges and put money back into the pockets of commuters and families.
The B.C. Liberal government doubled MSP fees that hard-working British Columbians pay, costing most families an extra $900 a year. Our government cut MSP premiums by 50 per cent, and we’re working towards completely eliminating this unfair tax.
Under the previous government, income assistance rates were frozen for 10 years. We increased income assistance and disability payments by $100 per month and earning exemptions for people on disability by $200 per month.
To help people access the basic education and skills they need to improve their lives, we eliminated tuition fees for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning programs
And as a first step towards making housing affordable, we invested $208 million for the construction of over 1,700 new units of affordable rental housing and $291 million to support the construction of 2,000 modular housing units for people who are homeless.
We’re also focussed on creating good jobs and a strong, sustainable, and innovative economy that puts people first. To support small businesses, we lowered the small business tax rate from 2.5 per cent to 2 per cent.
To help make sure B.C. workers have the skills they need for good jobs in the growing economy, our government created 562 additional seats at 13 public post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia that offer foundation and apprenticeship programs.
Instead of focusing on one sector to create jobs, we’re working to strengthen traditional industries like forestry and mining, while supporting small business, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, technology and innovation.
And to support B.C.’s lowest-waged workers, we increased the hourly minimum wage to $11.35 an hour and established a fair-wage commission to work towards a $15-an-hour minimum wage in B.C.
It’s time for B.C. to work for everyone, not just the few at the top. That includes improving the services people count on and building a better B.C. for everyone.
We’re making sure students get the quality public education they need to succeed, families get health care faster, and seniors can live out their final years with dignity.
As a first step to undo 16 years of neglect, we increased funding by $681-million for our kindergarten-to-Grade 12 education system over three years. We’re tackling gangs and gun violence and improving access to youth-gang prevention.
Our government has taken province-wide action to stem the overdose emergency and help save lives, including establishing a standalone Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions.
We’re supporting people, communities and businesses affected by the wildfires, standing up for B.C.’s interests in the face of Kinder Morgan while tackling the challenges of climate change and protecting B.C.’s environment.
We’ve also made reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a cross-government priority, introduced legislation to ban big money from B.C. politics once and for all, and we’ve restored the B.C. Human rights commission.
For too long, the well-connected came first. And people have been paying the price. We’re going to fix those mistakes and make life better for people. This is only the beginning. There’s more to come.