Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka said B.C.’s 2023 budget is disappointing and does not address the needs of the province’s residents.
Shypitka said healthcare in rural ridings is still left behind.
“We’re getting shuffled off to other municipalities in the province, like Kelowna or Victoria or Vancouver. It makes it very expensive, and very hard to access, especially in the wintertime when safety is a concern,” said Shypitka. “There’s no mention in the budget on how we can get that back on track, or at least get our regional hospital the resources it needs.”
He also said the budget falls short of addressing the needs of seniors and people struggling with addictions.
Shypitka also feels that B.C.’s natural resource sector was not adequately supported.
“Liquified natural gas was never even mentioned in the budget, even though it’s one of the biggest revenue sourced the B.C. government has,” said Shypitka. “The critical mineral strategy was identified in the budget, but it was given $6-million. If you want to move to a low-carbon economy, if you want to get off greenhouse gas and be responsible, you need mining to do it.”
The MLA feels that parts of the budget may look good, but he is skeptical about whether the NDP government can deliver actual results.
“It appears as if they’re investing in people, and that’s what we want to do, but they have a bad track record of actually delivering any kind of results,” said Shypitka. “They scrap plan after plan and they keep touting they’re going after new and improved. I remember back in 2017, they boasted 114,000 affordable homes, well, they got about 10 per cent of that done.”
Shypitka said there was a silver lining on one point of the budget, however.
“Free birth control, I’ll give them full credit on that one. That’s something our party has been after for quite some time, and they came through with that. I think that’s fantastic,” said Shypitka. “But we’re skeptical of this budget, and people of B.C. should be very skeptical. And they are, judging by the reports we’re getting.”