Premiere John Horgan’s Government had their Throne Speech on Tuesday, February 13th. With the promise of massive investments in affordable housing and childcare, local MLA, Doug Clovechok had serious concerns for our area about these issues.
Clovechok, who is known for his candor with just about anything that may not be of benefit to the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding, was certainly unimpressed with what he feels was rhetoric that came out of the Throne Speech. The speech made some massive promises, many that were stated before during the election campaign, and now it is time to follow up on those promises, however one major concern for Clovechok was there was no mention as to how these grandiose promises were going to be paid for.
“There was nothing about revenue generation, there was a lot about social programs, which are great, but with no method to pay for these programs.” Clovechok stated over the phone.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) promised 10-dollar a day childcare for the concerned parents of B.C. This would come at a cost of $855 million which the Federal Government will kick in $150 million, however the remaining $705 million has to come from somewhere, but there was no indication as to where funds will come from.
“Now they are saying that it is over a 10 year period. That was not the campaign promise. It was over a three year period, and for those that voted in favour of the NDP-because of this exact program, are most likely not going to see it when they need it most–right now.”
Horgan stated in a press conference, “The first three years are the ramp-up period, where we’re looking at toddler and infant care, we’re creating more spaces, we’re training more people. And those elements will be in the budget.”
With affordable housing a number one issues amongst British Columbians, this matter was addressed in the speech, “Starting this year, government will begin to make the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history, including social housing, student housing, seniors housing, indigenous housing and affordable rentals for middle-income families.”
“The 10-year housing plan is a concern for me. They are currently at 2000 units with a goal of 114,000 within a decade, I quite frankly do not see how this is possible for them to achieve. Not based on what they are doing.”
As far as rural B.C. we are all concerned about the Trans-Canada Highway. Although the Three Valley Gap area is not the only spot on B.C. roads to have avalanches and rock falls, it is certainly one of the deadliest. During the speech much talk was of traffic jams in the Surrey area as well as building a brand new Patullo Bridge, which was constructed in 1936 and must be replaced by 2023. Albeit, these are valued issues, the matter of expanding the Trans-Canada Highway was not brought up at all.
Clovechok shared with frustration, “I could not believe it. There was nothing about the Trans-Canada (Highway). This is a major issue, and it wasn’t even mentioned. Yes, the other matters are important, but it is just another example of pandering to the lower mainland. If this is a precursor to what the budget is going to look like, then we are in trouble.”