June 21, 2017 3:57 pm
Updated: June 21, 2017 10:55 pm

Clark pledges no new election, $1B for childcare in platform relaunch

Wed, Jun 21: Premier Christy Clark says her govermment will announce a billion dollar investment in child care over the next four years. The opposition isn’t impressed. Keith Baldrey has more.

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Premier Christy Clark is revealing more details of what the BC Liberals are calling a “preview of a renewed plan for B.C.,” and they come with some big spending promises.

As a part of the “renewed plan,” Clark now says the BC Liberals are committed to a billion-dollar investment in childcare and early childcare development.

Clark is also promising new money for other social supports, including a provincial poverty reduction plan.

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Clark made the announcements at a BC Liberals Womens’ Lunch where she’s laying out the reset, a day before the party’s crucial Throne Speech.

But while the event has the feel of an election platform launch, Clark is insisting she has no plans to send British Columbians back to the polls.

“The outcome is never wrong,” Clark said. “Let’s embrace the results.”

“Nobody in British Columbia wants an election. Let’s figure out how to make the results of this election work for British Columbians, let’s listen to what they have to say. Let’s go back to the house tomorrow and let’s figure out how we can make sure that we can work together with the numbers of the parties that the people gave us.”

The Liberals’ new childcare promise includes funding for 60,000 new spaces over four years, on top of the 13,000 spaces the party had already promised.

The plan also includes the Liberals pledge to raise welfare rates by $100/month and to index disability payments to increases in inflation.

In recent days the Liberals have also announced other major policy U-turns, including a pledge to ban corporate and union donations, as well as scrap a requirement for Metro Vancouver to hold a referendum on any new transit funding mechanism.

Those prior changes amounted to nearly $220 million not accounted for in the February budget or BC Liberal election platform.

MLAs head back to Victoria Thursday for the Speech from the Throne, with a confidence vote the Liberals are projected to lose coming as early as next week.

Opposition doesn’t budge

In the wake of the announcements, BC NDP Leader John Horgan quipped the BC Liberals appear to be preparing an NDP Throne Speech.

“After 16 years of ignoring childcare, ignoring people with disabilities, ignoring income assistance rates, all of a sudden after the people have rejected you at the polls, our platform looks pretty appealing to people,” Horgan said.

Meanwhile, his partner in a minority government alliance Green Leader Andrew Weaver says his party isn’t wavering on the deal despite the new Liberal promises.

“We believe that the BC Liberals need to be put in a time out, they’ve governed for 16 years, they’ve let social services, for example, education, the environment, climate, they’ve let these things get away from them. We need to step in and fix them, and we’ve agreed to work with the BC NDP to do just that.”

Weaver says the Liberals can promise whatever they want in a Throne Speech, but it doesn’t mean anything until the promises are written as a bill.

He says Clark promised the world when it came to LNG but those promises have not panned out.

  • With files from Jeremy Lye and Liza Yuzda

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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