Christy Clark budget: A few election goodies, but no significant investment in vital public services

February 21, 2017 | News Release

Vancouver - Today’s BC budget offered a number of election goodies for voters—including a rollback of some of the massive increases in MSP premiums imposed by the BC Liberals—but nothing to invest in vital public services that have been cut over the past 16 years, says the BC Federation of Labour.

“Hard working British Columbians and our families are grappling with urgent challenges around affordability and the lack of public services,” says BCFED president Irene Lanzinger.

“While services for people have been cut to the bone for the last 16 years, the rich and powerful have done very well,” says BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger. “It reflects the choices Premier Clark and the Liberals have made—and whose side they’re on.

“Again with this budget they’ve chosen not to invest in public services,” says Lanzinger. “There’s nothing concrete for parents struggling to find affordable child care spaces. Seniors still won’t get the care they need and deserve. There are no new plans to build social housing that would deal with affordability issues. And nothing to expand public transit that’s such a high priority for communities across the province.”

Lanzinger says she’s concerned that Premier Clark chose to do nothing in the budget to address the growing problem of inequality between rich and poor in BC.

“There’s no poverty reduction strategy, and nothing to help the 500,000 British Columbians working for poverty wages, less then $15 an hour.”

And with the government announcing a number of capital projects in the budget, Lanzinger says she can’t understand why the government isn’t mandating that trades apprentices will be part of building public infrastructure.

“It’s a head scratcher,” says Lanzinger, “because a serious jobs strategy should be leveraging government investment in building things to help train the next generation of workers and give apprentices the practical experience to complete their certifications.”