“How will you make sure our economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic?” That’s a question we at The Discourse heard from you after we launched a poll asking what you think should top the B.C. election agenda. Our goal is to put you in the driver’s seat of the election conversation because we believe you should guide it, not the candidates or the parties.
Leading up to the election, we’re publishing answers to questions you sent. Today, the question is: How will you make sure we can provide economic recovery from COVID-19 while transitioning to a more sustainable economic model for British Columbians?
As of Oct. 19, The Discourse received answers from all four candidates for this question via email. I’ll be rotating the candidates’ order of responses with each story we publish. Here are their responses. I’ve copied them directly from the emails they sent.
Tyson Riel Strandlund, Communist Party of BC
Under capitalism, corporate profit conflicts with the health of the planet, with the well-being of working people, and with democracy. The NDP fails to challenge corporate power, while my party fights for socialism. We are demanding security for workers affected by COVID-19 layoffs, including 100 per cent recall rights, wage protection, and full labour standards protection. We can increase annual revenues by $2.5 billion simply by restoring pre-2001 tax rates on corporations and the wealthy. Public ownership over resources and energy would provide substantial additional income and give working people considerably more control over the direction of our society, while our $20 minimum wage would further stimulate the economy.
Kelly Darwin, BC Liberal Party
This is a topic I feel very passionately about. I believe it is the government’s role to help and support businesses in a way that allows them to adjust to doing business during the pandemic. This means creating access to PPE, helping reduce overhead costs like the EHT, PST and tax incentives to hire people back to work and purchase more goods and services produced in B.C. The government’s job should not be to hire people but to better support businesses in hiring people.
John Horgan, BC New Democratic Party
First and foremost, for the economy to recover fully from COVID-19 we need to tackle and defeat the pandemic. We have followed the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry and carefully managed the restart and reopening of as many businesses and possible. Going forward, our economic recovery plan – Stronger BC – focuses on people and small businesses. It provides investments in jobs and skills training; and it supports our small- and medium-sized businesses with wage subsidies and grants to keep existing jobs and add new ones. Our platform puts the low-carbon economy of the future at the forefront, and makes the following commitments, among other initiatives:
- Investing an additional one per cent of GDP in people and communities: A new recovery investment fund will deliver about $3 billion a year – above and beyond our existing $23 billion in new capital commitments over three years – to drive new growth and investment. The funding will be used in communities all over the province to build new schools, hospitals, child care spaces, roads and transit, and more – creating an expected 18,000 new jobs every year.
- Invest in made-in-B.C. carbon capture technology: B.C. entrepreneurs have already started the research and development work to prevent carbon emissions from polluting the atmosphere. We will support that work with strategic investments to further our net-zero emissions goal.
- Ramp up CleanBC’s industrial emissions strategy: We’ll provide additional funding for our CleanBC industrial emissions strategy so that more mines, pulp mills, oil and gas processing plants, and other industrial facilities can reduce harmful emissions and move to cleaner operations.
- Fast-track our industrial electrification strategy: By working with the federal government and BC Hydro, we can expand electrification infrastructure to make it easier for industries to go green.
- More opportunities and sustained growth through an industrial and manufacturing strategy: Working alongside CleanBC, our commitment to reconciliation, the recovery investment fund, and other major initiatives will be this strategy – aimed at delivering smart, distributed industrial and manufacturing activity and growth to all parts of the province.
Gord Baird, BC Green Party
I would use a “sustainable lens” for infrastructure investment that supports community resiliency, personal well-being, ecological enhancements, low-carbon energy, and provides for our creative businesses to flourish.
- The BC Green Party platform proposes support for small business owners, a grant for renters, affordable child care, and looking at basic income and recovery from COVID-19 with a climate plan at its core, amongst other things.
- The Communist Party of BC platform outlines proposals to tax the wealthy and corporations, abolish income tax on earnings under $40,000, and calls for socialism rather than capitalism.
- On the BC NDP platform, a pledge to have a long-term economic recovery plan is made as well as preparing B.C. for the next emergency. Other commitments on the platform are to build a clean energy economy and make education and training more affordable for people.
- The BC Liberal Party has pledged to eliminate the Provincial Sales Tax for one year and then set it at three per cent as the economy grows. It also pledges to eliminate small business income tax, review all provincial taxes and invest in infrastructure investments to create jobs. The platform can be found online.