For Delta North’s newly-elected NDP MLA, yesterdays’s throne speech sounded a little too familiar.
“It felt like I was reading the NDP platform,” said first-time MLA Ravi Kahlon.
Kahlon said he was disappointed when he heard Premier Christy Clark’s throne speech on Thursday, June 22, which promised $1 billion for child care expansion, restrictions on political donations and the removal of tolls from the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.
“Part of me will find pleasure in listening to 43 Liberals talk about how great our platform is,” he continued. “But there will be 44 members on our side who will be anxiously wanting to get on with government.”
Along with the child care expansion plan — which will provide 60,000 new spaces over four years, 150,000 spaces with full or partial subsidies, and grants and bursaries to train 4,000 new early childhood educators — Clark’s speech included an increase in income assistance rates, an increase in RCMP drug enforcement officers to deal with opioid trafficking and a political donation restrictions that would ban federal party and foreign donations.
The reason this is possible now, Clark said, is because the government has more money.
“Based on the new numbers that we see, and the new strength that we see in the economy, we don’t have the structural deficits that we had under the NDP. We have structural surpluses,” Clark told the media after the throne speech.
“A structural surplus means you have more money to build into your budget, which is what we’re doing.”
But it’s not just about the money.
“In the last 16 years, there have been other examples where government has changed its mind based on the advice of the people,” Clark said.
Cynics and the opposition seem to think government shouldn’t change its policy, she continued, “but why shouldn’t governments change their mind in response to what British Columbians tell us?”
For Kahlon, that idea is exactly what turns people off from politics.
“Many people voted for Christy Clark and Scott [Hamilton] in this riding, believing that they were going to be fiscally conservative in all these things,” Kahlon said.”And for them to attack us the entire election and then turn around and adopt our whole platform, I thought was a cynical move.”
The NDP and Green parties are still planning to defeat the B.C. Liberal government at the next available opportunity.
The first likely chance for a vote of non-confidence would be Thursday, June 29. Horgan said he will make a motion of non-confidence on Monday, but that would require unanimous support of all 87 MLAs.
-with files from Tom Fletcher