Today was Budget Day in the BC Legislature. This is the first full budget announced by the new BC NDP minority government. While we haven’t had the time to fully digest all the details we are cautiously optimistic.
We are very pleased with the investment in childcare and early childhood education. However, we remain troubled with the government’s approach to dealing with the housing crisis. It is good to see that we have a government that is finally acknowledging there is a problem in housing, but there is much more that needs to be done. While a welcome first step, the proposals we heard today are not a bold enough response to our housing crisis.
We also remain concerned that the challenges presented by the emerging economy, and the challenge of climate change in particular are not receiving adequate attention. What was lacking in the budget speech was a vision for a strong, resilient diversified economy that build’s on British Columbia’s strengths (something that I will address in my budget response tomorrow).
When I rise tomorrow to speak to the budget, I will provide a more extensive analysis. Below is the media statement we released outlining our initial reaction.
B.C. Greens respond to budget
For immediate release
February 20, 2018
VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green caucus issued the following response to the release of the provincial budget.
“It is refreshing to see a provincial budget that puts people back at its centre, but there is still much work to be done to meet British Columbians’ expectations for the future,” said Weaver.
“We need a vision for seizing the opportunities and addressing the challenges of the 21st century. Our goal shouldn’t just be to only fix the shortcomings of the last 16 years – as leaders we need to champion a clear plan for the economy and the challenges and opportunities of the coming decades.
“It is good to see that we have a government that is finally acknowledging there is a problem in housing, but there is much more that needs to be done. While a welcome first step, the proposals we heard today are not a bold enough response to our housing crisis.
“Many of the other tools the government has put on the table are promising but what matters is whether these initiatives will be implemented in a way that set us on a path to a different future and ensures the next generation won’t be dealing with the same challenges we face right now.
“It is encouraging to see such a significant emphasis on child care. This is a core commitment to our Confidence and Supply Agreement and we have been working diligently to consult with the government on how we can best achieve our shared goals.
“However, we are still concerned that the challenges presented by the emerging economy, and the challenge of climate change in particular are not receiving adequate attention. Without a clear vision and decisive action we risk undermining all of the progress we could make on childcare and housing.
“Over the coming days and weeks our caucus will be seeking more information from the government about the specifics of their budget policies.”
Sonia Furstenau, who has been collaborating with the government on the child care plan, said the government’s articulation of Child Care B.C. was promising.
“The investments in childcare and early childhood education provide an us with an unparalleled opportunity to provide the next generation of British Columbians with the best possible conditions for success and to set B.C. on a path towards achieving far greater equality,” said Furstenau.
“I am grateful to see explicit recognition of the importance of educators and indigenous-led care.”