The second week in the Legislature has been dominated by the budget – a budget that provides no good news for us in the North Island.
It’s a budget which will lead to massive cuts across the board, a new flat tax, and an increase in MSP premiums.
And it is a budget which offers no hope for people laid off from the forest industry or for those people who aren’t working in our mills. And for those in the north island relying on tourism, the new tax hammers their industry also.
Despite the government trumpeting that education is being protected and that money is going into health care, the reality is going to be cuts to education and waitlists for health care.
The government said that it would explain how the HST would work, but instead showed how only a few people would actually save money with this new tax. The big corporations will win, but individuals and families will definitely lose – especially taking into account the increase in MSP.
The government’s green glow in the last year – with its avowal that it was going to do everything it could to fight climate change and protect the environment – has washed out this year. There are massive cuts to environmental stewardship, to compliance; programmes designed to help people choose alternatives are being axed; even the Premier’s own climate action secretariat has had a 50 percent cut.
These cuts would be bad enough on their own, but they are against a backdrop of eight years of BC Liberal slashing. There is nothing left to protect those in need; that’s been cut over the last eight years.
And this against a backdrop of questions about the government’s honesty: how much did they know about the financial problems ahead of, or during the election? When did they really decide to implement the HST? We do know that the Premier and his Finance
Minister said time and again during the campaign that the deficit would be no more than $495 million; on Tuesday we learned it was $2.8 billion – six times higher than was guaranteed. And without the HST bonus paid to the Province by the Federal government it would be $1.6 billion dollars more.
I had my opportunity to speak about the budget
at the end of the week in the Legislature and addressed just some of the concerns about the government’s plans and their negative impact on the North Island.
I was also able to mark the 100th anniversary of the Co-op in Sointula
in a statement to the House.
The Opposition will continue to challenge the credibility of the government in the Legislature in the coming weeks. However we are all back in our constituencies for the week around Labour Day.
I’ll be joining people in Port Alice for their annual Labour Day picnic on Monday and then will be in the communities of the North Island until Wednesday. The end of the week brings me back to Campbell River and will be participating in the Women 4 Women Walk/Run on September 12th.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch. My Campbell River office phone number is 250 287 5100 or toll free at 1 866 387 5100. You can always reach me by email at Claire.trevena.mlaleg.bc.ca.
Claire Trevena, MLA (North Island)
Phone: 250-287-5100 or 1-866-387-5100
Fax: 250-287-5105 www.clairetrevena.ca