This week, members of the Legislative Assembly head back to Victoria as we begin another legislative session. A new session, however, does not mean a clean slate for the Premier – John Horgan has left a trail of broken promises that he needs to answer for.
Despite being almost a year into a province-wide forestry crisis, John Horgan has still taken little action to help. Adding fuel to the fire this week was the news that he would not be joining the delegation of Canadian premiers heading to Washington D.C. for talks about the softwood lumber dispute.
The delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, included Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick — yet it included no representatives from British Columbia, despite over 50% of softwood lumber exports originate here in B.C.
The fact is, B.C. is one of the world’s largest exporters of softwood lumber, and at a time of crisis, John Horgan’s attention should be focused on helping the thousands of forestry workers that count on this industry.
The NDP’s poor leadership — and complete absence of a jobs plan — is clearly demonstrated with the staggering loss of 25,800 private-sector jobs in B.C. in one month alone last year. In fact, B.C. has had the most job losses in Canada in seven out of the last eight months. The NDP has no plan to grow the economy. No goals or strategies to generate jobs.
And as workers lose jobs across the province, the government is doing little to support important infrastructure projects like the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.
Workers have another reason to be anxious in 2020, as, in addition to the NDP’s 19 new and increased taxes, employers are facing the financial burden of the Employer Health Tax. Small-business confidence in the province has plummeted to some of the lowest levels of confidence since 2009. Employers will be forced to either hire fewer employees or pass the added cost on to their customers.
One restaurant in Victoria is now adding an EHT tax on to the bills of patrons to cover increasing costs — how is this suppose to help affordability?
As we head into the next legislative session this week, opening with the Thone Speech, the BC Liberal Caucus will be reminding Horgan and the NDP of their many promises forgotten and the need to take action to support people not just in Metro-Vancouver, but across the province where people are hurting.
British Columbians certainly deserve nothing less. I suspect the Throne speech will be more of the same we’ve seen in the last couple of years – lots of talk about nothing.
Dan Davies is the MLA for Peace River North.