On March 23, all three parties at the Legislature came together in an extraordinary moment of cooperation to fight COVID-19.
All political differences were set aside and within just a few hours an additional $5 billion for COVID spending was added to the annual budget.
This included $1.5 billion that was earmarked for economic recovery. Unfortunately, and now nearly six months later, the NDP government is still sitting on the money and has failed to put a cent of it towards the remobilization of our economy.
Rather than put taxpayer’s money to effective use, the Premier has decided instead to send out a questionnaire in a public relations campaign designed to buy votes in the Lower Mainland.
According to the Business Council of British Columbia, 10 to 15 percent of the province’s 200,000 small businesses could fail by 2021.
We are talking about the backbone of our provincial economy. Jobs that support families and put food on the table.
Losing that many businesses will plunge B.C. into deeper unemployment, which currently stands at a shocking 11.1 percent.
We used to be the number one economy in the whole country. Now we have fallen to fifth place compared to all other provinces.
As the Official Opposition, we have repeatedly called for assistance for small businesses, including a 60 to 90-day break from major taxes, rent relief for small businesses, support for tourism, and a dedicated rural B.C. prosperity strategy.
Now is the time to be bold and brave when it comes to saving jobs and putting the economy back on track.
We only have one shot at this.
A $1.5 billion political slush fund (election?) is not what the province needs right now.