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The BC Liberals won the most seats. Here are 7 things they promised to do

B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark gives the thumbs up as she makes a campaign stop in Hope, B.C., Monday, May 8, 2017. .
B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark gives the thumbs up as she makes a campaign stop in Hope, B.C., Monday, May 8, 2017. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The BC Liberals have won the most seats in a minority government.

Now comes the important part: delivering on their platform.

The party’s platform carried several promises, on issues ranging from transportation, to taxes, health care and consumer protection.

Here are seven of the party’s promises, with some commentary about how realistic it will be to achieve them.

Cap bridge tolls at $500 per year

Will eliminating bridge tolls threaten B.C.’s credit rating?
Will eliminating bridge tolls threaten B.C.’s credit rating?

The BC Liberals have promised to cap the amount of money that commuters pay to drive over the Golden Ears and Port Mann Bridges at $500 annually.

Currently, commuters who drive across the bridges for non-business purposes could be paying as much as $1,600 per year.

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The party has promised to put the policy into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and it’s estimated to cost $30 million in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

SFU Prof. Rhys Kesselman told Global News that $30 million is a “tiny drop in the bucket” of a provincial budget and that he’s “sure it could be fitted in.”

He added, however, that he considers caps on tolls “bad idea” from a public policy standpoint.

“We should expand tolling to all the major areas, bridges, tunnels and other congested areas and they should be time of day so people have an incentive not to use them, to use public transit,” Kesselman said.

Bring ride-sharing to B.C. by the end of the year

Taxi drivers split over potential Uber expansion into B.C
Taxi drivers split over potential Uber expansion into B.C

The BC Liberals have promised that ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber will be offered in the province starting in December.

They have also promised to ensure the taxi industry is operating on a “level playing field.” The party has pledged to help the taxi sector develop an app in order to “modernize their service for customers.”

Kesselman said the BC Liberals will need cooperation from various municipal governments to implement this promise; he also anticipates resistance from the taxi industry, for which there’s a “lot at stake” for operators who own taxi licenses.

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Cut MSP premiums before eventually phasing them out

Cuts to BC’s MSP premiums and eventual elimination highlight budget
Cuts to BC’s MSP premiums and eventual elimination highlight budget

The BC Liberals say they want to eliminate Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums over the long term.

But first, they want to cut them in half for households and individuals who have annual net income of up to $120,000. It’s a move that they say could save families up to $900 every year.

The cuts aren’t expected to take effect until January 2018.

Kesselman called the plan to cut MSP premiums in half “reasonable” and “realistic.” He’s less certain about the pledge to eliminate them entirely, as the party only plans to do that when the fiscal situation allows.

“It’s a promise that’s kind of empty,” he said.

Look at ways to stop bots from snapping up tickets

New polls shows Canadians want crackdown on ‘ticket bots’
New polls shows Canadians want crackdown on ‘ticket bots’

In their platform, the BC Liberals promised to watch what the Ontario government is doing when it comes to cracking down on “scalper bots” that snap up concert and sporting event tickets before other buyers have a chance.

Earlier this year, Ontario’s provincial government launched an online survey as a step toward introducing legislation in an effort to protect consumers — although Attorney General Yasir Naqvi admitted it would be difficult to stop resellers from peddling tickets elsewhere.

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“Scalper bots” are nevertheless an issue for many Canadians — an Angus Reid Institute survey found that 76 per cent of respondents considered ticket bots a “huge problem that must be fixed.”

Maintain B.C.’s AAA credit rating

Close-up of assorted Canadian paper currency.
Close-up of assorted Canadian paper currency. File Photo

B.C. has a triple-A credit rating from the three major ratings agencies, and the BC Liberals want to keep it that way.

In January, Moody’s said that British Columbia has a “relatively strong provincial economy, [a] track record of prudent fiscal management and a high degree of flexibility to accommodate revenue and expenditure pressures.”

But it also said that, with net direct and indirect debt measuring 86.8 per cent relative to revenues, it has hit a “high level compared to many other global AAA-rated peers.”

The agency also flagged rising debt for BC Hydro, which has grown from $8.1 billion in 2008 to $18.1 billion in 2016 — a factor, the agency said, that could “pressure the province’s rating since it raises the contingent liability for British Columbia.”

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Political donations

Political fundraising under scrutiny in B.C.
Political fundraising under scrutiny in B.C.

Political financing was one of the biggest issues that dogged the BC Liberals on the campaign trail.

In January, The New York Times called B.C. the “wild west” of political cash, and academics say it could remain that way if British Columbians don’t choose a new party to form government.

In their platform, the BC Liberals promised to change the Elections Act to require “real time disclosure of donations to political parties.”

This is something the party started doing in January, and it’s a move that the NDP said would do little to reform political financing.

The BC Liberals have also pledged to convene a review panel to look at proposals for political fundraising reform.

Get three LNG facilities into the construction phase by 2020

Squamish LNG project gets green light
Squamish LNG project gets green light

The BC Liberal platform touts a number of “accomplishments” on LNG.

The province has one LNG plant in operation; another that’s ready for construction; and 18 with export permits, one of which is ready for a final investment decision.

They hope to have three more LNG plants ready for construction by 2020; and the party said global demand for the resource is set to grow by almost 50 per cent by 2040.

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Kesselman, however, is less optimistic about the BC Liberals’ chances of realizing their LNG dreams.

“They campaigned on this four years ago,” he said.

“We’re not much different than we were four years ago, so that one is a big question mark.”