The B.C. Liberal party will implement a new economic response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic within 60 days if it wins the Oct. 24 provincial election.
In the party's platform, released on Tuesday, the Liberals say the plan would involve eliminating the PST for a year, launching a comprehensive review of regulatory processes to ensure more timely approvals and establishing an emergency pandemic response committee to work with all parties and the provincial health officer.
The party said it would also appoint an independent Fair Tax Commission to review all provincial taxes and recommend adjustments, reductions or eliminations to most effectively fuel economic recovery.
The Liberals would also prepare legislation to ban early elections during provincial emergencies and implement a provincewide framework for hybrid and online learning for children.
B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has previously announced many elements of the platform, including $58 million to hire more police officers, prosecutors and psychiatric social workers and nurses.
He has promised to deliver $10- to $30-a-day child care and invest $1 billion over five years in new long-term care facilities.
“The B.C. Liberals are putting forward a plan that British Columbians can get excited about,'' Wilkinson said as he announced the platform in Vancouver.
“British Columbians are deeply concerned about their future and we need strong, disciplined leadership to get us through this once-in-a-century challenge.”
Also in the election campaign platform:
• An end to tent cities and more supports for people experiencing homelessness;
• Help for seniors to stay at home longer and access to their own private room when they require long term care;
• An end to the ICBC monopoly so drivers have choice and more affordable auto insurance rates;
• Infrastructure investments like a 10-lane George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge, a new Richmond Hospital acute care tower and a new second Surrey hospital;.
• Review the NDP’s 23 new or increased taxes. Establish an independent fair tax commission to study which taxes to reduce or eliminate to spur economic activity.
• Eliminate the small business income tax.
• Create a loan guarantee program for tourism and hospitality businesses, as part of “aggressive agenda to rebuild and expand BC’s tourism sector.”
• Eliminate the NDP government’s Community Benefits Agreements, which require workers on major government infrastructure projects to join specific unions.
• Cancel the speculation tax and implement a condo-flipping capital gains tax instead.
• Charge non-residents of Canada a higher property tax, to discourage foreign investors driving up the price of housing.
• Make permanent permission for restaurants to deliver liquor with takeout and obtain wholesale liquor pricing.
• Encourage self-insurance models for stratas facing skyrocketing insurance, as part of other reforms.
• Expedite indigenous-led LNG projects.
• Reform the stumpage system for forestry.
• Appoint a minister responsible for Fisheries and Coastlines.
• Double provincial park campsites in popular areas, and improve the BC Parks online camping reservation system.