The BC Liberal Party is presenting a platform for the 2020 Provincial Election focusing on economic recovery, infrastructure investment, and strengthening health care.
Incumbent Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok is running for Columbia River-Revelstoke and said the party’s platform offers something for all B.C. residents.
“Our platform is bold and exciting. It was designed for British Columbians whether you’re rural or not,” said Clovechok. “We’ve got a very great affordable housing plan that’s going to help develop more spaces, obviously the cut to PST (Provincial Sales Tax) is huge.”
Clovechok said the party, if elected, will eliminate the PST for one year and reintroduce it at 3% afterwards.
Tom Shypitka, running for re-election in Kootenay East, said the Liberal Party has plans to make a significant investment in the province’s infrastructure.
“We’ll see $30.9-billion in infrastructure improvements over three years; that’s including hospitals, schools, transportation, primary care clinics, senior homes, mental health treatment and affordable housing,” said Shypitka. “It’s a huge stimulus package to get the economy up and running and get our workers working. It’s pretty bold, but we’re basically in a wartime effort here and we need all hands on deck.”
Tourism is an important sector of the economy for B.C., particularly for Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke. Tourism is also among the industries that have suffered the most from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shypitka said the proposed PST cut will go to help tourism businesses recover from the pandemic and help keep money within the province.
“It’s a double whammy for people in Kootenay East because we know how many hundreds of millions of dollars leave to Alberta every year because people want to save that sales tax,” said Shypitka. “If there’s no financial gain from going to Alberta to save 7%, and it’s hundreds of millions of dollars staying in Kootenay East, that is a game-changer for a lot of retailers.”
Clovechok said the Liberals plan to provide further assistance to tourism businesses in the form of loans and promoting tourism within Canada.
“We have to make sure, with the international borders being closed, that we are promoting tourism locally. For example, this October, I’ve never seen the Columbia Valley busier with tourists, and they’re Canadian tourists,” explained Clovechok. “What we’re going to do is create what we think are regional hubs for tourism. It’s an incredibly important industry for my region and we’re going to be working really hard to make sure people keep coming here.”
On the topic of health care, both Shypitka and Clovechok said they would address the shortage of doctors in their ridings as well as across rural B.C.
“We need to look at the model of incentivizing those that come out of residency to go to rural areas, such as Cranbrook, to bump up the incentives that are already there so rural locations are more attractive,” said Shypitka.
Clovechok explained the strategies that the Liberals may use to incentivize more physicians to the province.
“When you have doctors that are looking to move to British Columbia to raise their families and practise medicine, we have to make sure there’s housing for them, that there is affordable child care available,” explained Clovechok. “It’s about more than just attracting the doctors, it’s about making sure we take care of all the needs of professionals who are moving to our area.”
Voters head to the polls on Saturday, October 24th.
More: BC Green Party presents a platform focused on economy and ecosystem (Oct 21, 2020)
More: BC NDP commits to address healthcare, tourism and wildfire safety (Oct 19, 2020)