BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Winter 2020
What an NDP majority will mean for you and your family
Premier John Horgan – as head of an NDP government with a strong majority – has set himself an ambitious agenda for the next four years.
“I’m humbled and honoured by the support British Columbians have shown for our BC NDP team and want to wish a warm welcome to the newest members of our team of 57 BC NDP MLAs,” said Horgan.
“Just like we have for the last three and a half years, we’re going to do our level best each and every day to keep BC moving forward and build a better future for everyone. That’s my commitment to you,” he said.
As laid out in the NDP platform, Horgan’s detailed commitments build on the work the NDP did as a minority to restore services cut by the previous Liberal government, to create good jobs, and to support ordinary people.
The plan includes additional steps that the NDP will take to support people and businesses in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, continuing to move B.C. forward with measures that are widely regarded as the most robust and successful in Canada.
Here are some brief highlights:
• Free Covid-19 vaccine, when approved and available, to everyone who wants it.
• A long-term economic recovery plan that provides direct support to people, communities, workers and businesses, not tax cuts for the wealthy.
• A one-time $1,000 recovery benefit to families with an income of less than $125,000 a year, with reduced amounts for families earning up to $175,000, and $500 to single people earning less than $62,000 with a sliding scale up to $87,000.
• Deliver better and faster care in more communities by opening more Urgent Primary Care Centres. Already 21 are opened or coming soon, and ten more are on their way.
• Continue to build and modernize hospitals. So far, the NDP has moved forward with 14 hospital construction projects.
• Continue to increase capacity for surgeries and diagnostic assessments. Wait times for MRIs have already been cut in half.
• Launch B.C.’s second medical school – in Surrey – to educate more health professionals in our own province.
• Fight for a national Pharmacare program, while continuing to improve Fair Pharmacare to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
Long term care and home care
• Hire 7,000 new health care workers in long-term care and assisted living to meet and beat the standard of 3.36 hours of care per day per senior – something that 90 percent of facilities failed to do under the Liberals.
• Maintain “levelled up wages” to retain qualified staff and provide better care.
• Build better, public long-term care homes that keep seniors safer, healthier and more comfortable.
• Put care before profit with requirements that private operators are more transparent and accountable for the public funding they receive.
• Expand publicly funded home care to allow seniors to remain in their homes.
• Freeze rents to the end of 2021, and limit increases to the rate of inflation thereafter.
• A renter’s rebate of $400 a year for households earning up to $80,000 a year.
• Work to control the rising cost of strata insurance – and develop a public strata insurance option if rates have not corrected by the end of 2021.
• An enhanced care model that will deliver better care to people who are injured in car accidents and reduce ICBC premiums by an average of 20 percent next spring.
• Pay rebates to B.C. drivers from any surplus ICBC delivers as a result of the pandemic.
And much more
Horgan’s plan includes action in many more areas that will help shape our future as individuals and a civil society. These include climate change. Good jobs. Affordable housing. Reconciliation with First Nations. Systemic racism. The opioid crisis. Affordable child care. Poverty.
In these times, when a pandemic makes it a challenge to even swear in new MLAs and recall the Legislature, it is clear that Premier Horgan and his new cabinet will have their hands full.
“Covid-19 is presenting us with new challenges each day,” said Horgan.
“We need to keep the focus where it belongs: keeping ourselves, our families and our communities healthy, safe and secure. We will get through this together,” he said.