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B.C. Budget 2024: opposition parties slam NDP’s 2024 provincial budget

BC United, Conservatives accuses NDP of reckless spending, while Greens criticize climate policies
B.C.’s opposition parties are criticizing the NDP’s provincial budget but on different grounds. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

Each of B.C.’s three opposition parties denounced the NDP’s pre-election budget, but for different reasons.

Leader of the Official Opposition Kevin Falcon said Thursday’s budget was the worst “example of reckless spending” that he has ever seen in a government budget, accusing of government of “juicing” the numbers.

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy and the NDP Governmet tabled a budget with a record deficit of nearly $8 billion, which includes several temporary relief measures for families, some relief for business, as well as more spending on health care.

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Falcon called it an “inflationary budget” that will first eat up any of the promised relief, then drive up costs.

“We get the most money being spent coupled with the worst results, we have ever seen,” he said, pointing to long waits at clinics, public safety issues and the opioid crisis.

Falcon also expressed concerns that the budget will burden future generations with debt.

“Of course, it’s important to make capital investments, but here is the problem,” he said. “It’s the recklessness in which they are undertaking those capital projects.”

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Falcon said government has to be run the way families run their households.

“I don’t know any families out there that just keeping cranking up the credit card, spending recklessly without regards to whether the work is actually being done…or what they are spending it on.”

BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the budget maintains the status quo without addressing the conditions that would allow British Columbians to flourish, such as a better health care and education system.

“I can propose a slogan for the BC-NDP re-election campaign: ‘Vote for Us. We promised to keep things exactly the same.’”

Furstenau accused the NDP of abandoning new measures to fight climate change.

“When you look at the budget, you can see they are doubling down on LNG exports at a time when we had zombie fires in B.C.’s northeast all winter long,” she said. “They are not accounting for the enormous costs that we are going to continue to see as result of the impacts from climate change and they are leaving behind the British Columbians who need government supports the very most.”

Government should have invested in more public services, like transit, that would not help fight climate change, but also save money, Furstenau added.

“When we act on climate, we reduce costs — energy costs, transportation costs, housing costs,” she said. “But if we ignore climate change, if we ignore the billions it’s already costing us, we ignore that to the peril of every British Columbian.”

Conservative Party of BC John Rustad said the budget creates a financial burden for future generations without solving pressing problems.

“What I saw today is a budget that is quite frankly bankrupting the people of the future.”

Public transit in Metro Vancouver and BC Ferries remain under-funded, he said, while the budget does nothing to adequately support key industries like forestry and mining.

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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