Two issues that seemed almost buried by the COVID-19 pandemic resurfaced in the B.C. election campaign on Friday.
The Cullen commission into money laundering announced it was delaying the start of hearings until after the Oct. 24 election.
The hearings were scheduled to begin Oct. 13.
“My reason for this is two-fold: first, it is to preserve the independence of the Commission; second, it is to protect the integrity of the electoral process,” commissioner Austin Cullen said in a statement.
The delay may soften the issue of money laundering in the campaign. The BC Liberals would likely be the party most on the defensive over any revelations that emerged from the hearings.
Meanwhile, another issue that dominated headlines before the pandemic has emerged again: the housing speculation tax.
During a Facebook Live event in Maple Ridge on Thursday night, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said, in response to a question, that his party would scrap the tax if it wins the election, and replace it with an anti-flipping tax.
On Friday, the NDP issued a news release criticizing Wilkinson’s position, claiming he favors “tax breaks to people with multiple vacant homes.”
Housing was an issue addressed at both Horgan’s and Wilkinson’s campaign events Friday morning.
Horgan appeared in front of a condominium construction project in Coquitlam to defend the speculation tax while Wilkinson was in Yaletown to further explain his plan to tax what he considers true housing speculators.
Where the leaders chose to campaign continues to show where they think the key election battles loom. Horgan was in the Tri-Cities, where the ridings of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain (currently held by the BC Liberals) and Port Moody-Coquitlam (currently held by the NDP) are likely to be close races once again.
Wilkinson was in Vancouver-False Creek, one of the closest races in 2017. The BC Liberals won that seat by just 415 votes.
Green Party leader Sonia Fursteneau, meanwhile, remained in her riding of Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, where her party has the most support.
Fursteneau continues to criticize Horgan’s decision to call a snap election.
Today on CKNW’s Mike Smyth show, she repeated her assertion that Horgan has wrongly accused her of not supporting his minority government.