Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

B.C. needs real results on affordability

Lorne Doerkson’s column to the Free Press

We hear the word ‘affordability’ all the time. It’s become a central topic of conversation in our province lately, both from government and in our day-to-day conversations.

In 2022, I don’t think I went more than a day without talking with someone about how expensive gas, groceries and housing are these days. While inflation has certainly played a role in the sharp price increases we’ve witnessed this past year, they have been made even more painful due to the fact B.C. was already one of the most expensive jurisdictions in the country.

By nearly every metric, life has become less affordable after almost six years under the NDP. As an MLA, it is heartbreaking and deeply frustrating to see people in our community struggle more than ever to make ends meet or find a home they can afford, while government talks about all they have supposedly done to improve affordability. Anyone engaged in their community knows that if the government has taken any steps to address affordability, they have failed to make a difference in the daily lives of real people.

Having good intentions is important, and I believe the NDP genuinely wants the best for people. However, they have so far been unable to translate their intentions into outcomes. We now have the most expensive rental markets in the country, the most expensive fuel prices, and almost half of British Columbians are $200 or less away from insolvency at the end of each month.

A report released by the Seniors’ Advocate last year showed B.C.’s seniors have been hit especially hard by worsening affordability. It found overall use of food banks by seniors has increased by 78 per cent over the last five years and that nearly 60 per cent of seniors were concerned about not having enough money to pay for their normal living expenses.

It’s clear B.C. is in a worrying situation, and people don’t need more words or empty promises. They need real support from government and initiatives that will make a tangible difference. It’s why our BC Liberal caucus proposed multiple inflation-fighting measures last year and called on government to adopt them. Measures like a one-time enhanced carbon tax rebate for low-and-middle income families, elimination of the sales tax on used cars under $20,000, and a temporary suspension of the gas tax to provide people with relief at the pumps.

It’s simple steps like these that would immediately deliver results for people. If the NDP is really serious about affordability, they will take more of them in 2023.

100 Mile House