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NDP’s affordability crisis disproportionately impacts B.C. seniors

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson’s column to the Free Press
Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

Despite BC United tirelessly advocating for more affordability throughout 2023, families can unfortunately expect to see costs increase this year as the government fails to make progress on the cost-of-living crisis.

Since being elected in 2020, I have called for additional support for families and seniors, and it is disheartening to see another year go by with little relief from this NDP government.

We are seeing more seniors using the food banks than ever, with many facing the difficult decision of choosing between paying for groceries, medication, or housing. This is at a time when B.C. is facing the highest gas prices and gas tax in North America, the highest rental costs in the country, and the most unaffordable housing in North America.

Starting on April 1st, seniors, and all British Columbians, will be faced with even more expenses as B.C.’s carbon tax is set to rise from $65 a tonne to $80 a tonne. The carbon tax will cost 17 cents per litre of gas, 21 cents a litre of diesel, and 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas. Meanwhile, the cost of heating our homes, something that is not optional in Cariboo-Chilcotin, will also rise.

I have delivered hundreds of your letters to the government, which outline concerns about rising costs and the pressure it is putting on seniors, even organizing a petition that garnered significant support. Yet these concerns have not been addressed by the government and there is little reprieve in sight.

Governments have tools at their disposal that would help lower costs, but David Eby’s NDP continues to drag its feet. After seven years and two terms of NDP government, life in B.C. keeps getting worse — but it doesn’t have to be this way.

To make life more affordable, you need to make it less expensive. That’s why a Kevin Falcon-led BC United government intends to implement common-sense measures to put money back into your wallets. Our initiatives include removing the carbon tax from home heating and removing the provincial fuel tax so we can save drivers up to 15 cents per litre every time they fill their tank. We’ll also lower the cost of groceries by scrapping the carbon tax for on-farm fuel use, lowering the operating costs for farmers, which will result in lower costs in our stores.

Our seniors never expected to retire in a time when British Columbia is facing an unprecedented affordability crisis. British Columbians need a government that will take meaningful action to address the affordability crisis and start growing B.C.’s economy once again. I will continue to advocate on behalf of seniors and all British Columbians so that we can put an end to the affordability crisis.