BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson brought his campaign to Osoyoos on Sunday, pledging to spend $100 million on improving internet access in rural communities if elected after the Oct. 24 vote.
He says the money would also support better mobile connectivity in large parts of the province where it’s impossible to get a cellphone signal.
Wilkinson also touted the Liberals’ promises to eliminate the provincial sales tax for a year and implement a $7,000 yearly tax cut to help older people remain in their homes rather than entering assisted-living or long-term care.
Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau, meanwhile, criticized her rivals’ records on housing affordability during a campaign stop in Duncan.
Furstenau says the Liberals treated the early days of the housing affordability crisis as an “economic boom,” in which real estate prices drove up wealth for homeowners in particular neighbourhoods.
She says the boom came at an enormous cost, as a generation of young people in B.C. have been priced out owning homes in their communities.
Furstenau acknowledged progress to cool the housing market and protect renters under the NDP minority government, which the Greens supported, but says government can’t keep “tinkering around the edges” of the crisis.
She took aim at an NDP estimate that the New Democrats’ plan to support people and spur economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic would save an average family of four an added $3,400 each year.
The savings would come from supports including a one-time $1,000 rebate and a renter’s rebate, but Furstenau says an analysis by the CBC suggests fewer than two per cent of households would receive close to that amount.
Furstenau promised the Greens would do more to reduce speculation in the housing market, tackle rising insurance costs in strata buildings and support people who spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.
NDP Leader John Horgan was also on Vancouver Island, promising action to protect and revitalize wild salmon stocks while visiting Campbell River.
He said a re-elected NDP government would double its contribution to the B.C. salmon restoration and innovation fund, a nearly $143-million partnership with Ottawa.
The province currently contributes 30 per cent and the federal government provides 70 per cent for the fund that focuses on innovation, infrastructure and science partnerships to support sustainable fishing practices and protect wild salmon.
“I understand that the constitutional experts will tell us that the federal government is O.K. with managing the fishery. I’m here to say today that British Columbians want a greater say in managing that fishery and we’ve been doing that over the past three years,” said Horgan.
He was also set to visit Courtenay, Parksville and Duncan.