With the May 9 provincial election approaching, we asked the leaders of the three major parties what they plan to do for you. 

Christy Clark

(Westside–Kelowna) BC Liberal Party, Premier

Christy ClarkPeter Holst

SEATS 48

CRED: First elected MLA in 1996; former cabinet minister, deputy premier and radio talk-show host

SIGNATURE LOOK: Suit and wrap

CAMPAIGN PROP: Hard hat

CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Laura Miller, Previously Ontario Liberal staffer

STAR CANDIDATE: Ex–TV news anchor Steve Darling (Burnaby–Lougheed)

 

 

If you win the election, what will your government’s top three priorities be?

1) Maintaining the best job creation record in the country; 2) continuing to work with other levels of government to make sure home ownership is within reach for middle-class B.C. families; and 3) lowering taxes so everyone can keep more of their hard-earned money and look after the people they love.

What will you do to help businesses thrive in B.C.?

We’ve taken many actions to support private-sector growth, including making sure business has access to a deep talent pool with expanded training programs. Balanced Budget 2017 took another major step by exempting PST from electricity rates, saving business $164 million by 2019-20.

How will you balance economic growth with environmental stewardship?

The idea that you have to choose one or the other is false. Our priority is to work to grow the economy and protect our environment. It’s a model we’ve proven can work, from B.C.’s revenue- neutral carbon tax, which has reduced emissions while the economy has grown, to the historic Great Bear Rainforest Agreement.

Where do you stand on business taxes?

In the budget, we reduced small business taxes to two per cent. B.C. has the most small businesses per capita in the country, and 5,900 new small businesses were created in our province just last year, a growth rate 1,400 per cent above the national average.

What role should government play in regulating business?

We must ensure that essential protections are in place but not burden business with unnecessary red tape. Since 2001, we have reduced red tape by 47 per cent, and we have received the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s A grade six years in a row.

How will you make housing more affordable for British Columbians?

In addition to the foreign buyer tax, we introduced the BC HOME Partnership to help first-time buyers enter the housing market. We also expanded the first-time homebuyer program, saving first-time buyers up to $8,000. And we’ve just committed $920 million to support 5,300 more affordable housing units.

        

John Horgan

(Juan de Fuca) New Democratic Party of B.C., Opposition leader

John Horgan

Seats: 35

CRED: MLA since 2005; one-time millworker and management consultant

SIGNATURE LOOK: Jacket and open collar

CAMPAIGN PROP: Jar of bitumen

CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Unannounced as of press time

STAR CANDIDATE: Former NDP MP Jinny Sims (Surrey–Panorama)

If you win the election, what will your government’s top three priorities be?

1) Making life more affordable for families; 2) creating and attracting good-paying, family-supporting jobs; and 3) delivering high-quality, accessible government services. The Christy Clark government has been failing on all three measures because she only cares about the wealthy and the well-connected.

What will you do to help businesses thrive in B.C.?

I will create the conditions for businesses to succeed. That means offering certainty and engaging in respectful relationships. For example, by refusing to exclude workers from the foreign buyer tax from the beginning, Christy Clark really hurt businesses that were trying to recruit in-demand talent. That’s the wrong approach.

How will you balance economic growth with environmental stewardship?

Economic growth without environmental stewardship is simply robbing from the future. We have the knowledge and the technology to build our economy without undue harm to our environment, and I expect companies to utilize that. So much of our economy depends on a healthy environment; we have to protect it.

Where do you stand on business taxes?

Businesses benefit from the things that taxes pay for. Businesses in B.C. wouldn’t get very far without roads to move their goods, health care to care for their workers and schools to train them. We all benefit from strong government services, so I expect everyone to contribute to them.

What role should government play in regulating business?

Government’s job is to protect the public and the public good. It’s reasonable to expect that if you pay for a pint of beer you get your 20 ounces, not 16. And that your drinking water won’t be polluted by someone dumping waste. That’s regulation. People depend
on it.

How will you make housing more affordable for British Columbians?

We will tax speculators who are not contributing to B.C. and not renting their properties, and we will use the money that generates to make investments in affordable housing, including co-op housing. We will also be closing loopholes in the law that have fuelled speculation and hurt renters.

Andrew Weaver

(Oak Bay–Gordon Head) Green Party of British Columbia

Andrew Weaver

 

Seats: 1

CRED: B.C.’s first Green MLA; UVic climate scientist

SIGNATURE LOOK: Sweater and chinos

CAMPAIGN PROP: PhD in applied mathematics

CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Taylor Hartrick, Helped elect Weaver in 2013

STAR CANDIDATE: Punk legend Joe Keithley (Burnaby–Lougheed)

If you win the election, what will your government’s top three priorities be?

A BC Green government will focus on enhancing B.C.’s unique opportunities and alleviating the greatest barriers to those opportunities: 1) prepare B.C.’s economy for the technology-driven economy of the 21st century; 2) undertake a significant poverty reduction strategy; and 3) take meaningful action on climate change in both prevention and mitigation.

What will you do to help businesses thrive in B.C.?

We will invest in education, skills and training, giving British Columbians access to lifelong learning that supports careers in a 21st-century economy. A BC Green government will also streamline corporate and consumption taxes and ensure that the regulatory framework facilitates new 21st-century business models such as the sharing economy.

How will you balance economic growth with environmental stewardship?

We will not only look at short-term management but long-term perspectives in policy decisions and governance. True sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This core value will guide our decision-making on economic, fiscal, social and environmental issues.

Where do you stand on business taxes?

We will review consumption taxes so they support business viability and consumers’ needs. The tax system has become overly complicated and needs to be updated for the 21st century.

What role should government play in regulating business?

Government represents the people, and its job is to protect the public interest, which is complicated and multifaceted. Its role in business regulation is to balance these factors and work in the best interests of British Columbians as a whole.

How will you make housing more affordable for British Columbians?

A BC Green government will ensure that everyone has access to acceptable accommodation. Ultimately, the housing crisis is a supply issue. A BC Green government will take a diversified approach, including investment in new units, taking measures to ensure that accommodation does not sit empty, and measures to address speculation and offshore ownership.