The provincial budget: Liberals, NPD want you to believe what they say

By David F. Rooney

MLA Norm Macdonald may complain about certain aspects of the provincial budget but by and large there’s more good than bad in it, said David Pacey, president of the Columbia River-Revelstoke  BC Liberal Riding Association.

“Everything will settle down in two or three months,” he said in an interview from Radium Hot Springs Wednesday morning. “There’s good and bad in the budget but overall there’s a large amount of good things.”

Among those “bad things” are a $1.7 billion deficit and lower growth rates than British Columbians are used to. It also predicts cuts in size to the provincial civil service. While most of those bureaucratic job losses will be through attrition, some positions will be eliminated. The good includes — for Revelstoke, at least — $53 million in funding for the new elementary and high schools and their associated neighbourhoods of learning centres.

Pacey, a Radium Hot Springs businessman and long-time BC Liberal, pointed to a tax deferral plan for families with children, increased educational spending and other measures.

“Norm is sniping at the budget and that’s his job,” Pacey said.

Macdonald says “people in this area will be disappointed in this budget.”

“There is no indication that the BC Liberals have any plan to improve the lives of rural British Columbians,” he said in a statement. “This budget is focused on cutting services to the public.  And it brings in the HST which people have been clear they don’t support.”

Pacey himself doesn’t like the HST but says “unfortunately I think we’ll just have live with having to pay PST and GST on our hair cuts.”

You can make up your own mind about the budget by reading MLA Norm Macdonald’s comments here and, as issued in a news release on Tuesday, Finance Minister Colin Hansen’s comments here.