And they’re off!
By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
As people digest this week’s presidential debate in the US, BC also looks forward to upcoming debates for the province-wide election towards the end of the month.
BC provincial party leaders gear up for the first round of debates on October 13 when they will be debating climate change and the economy. The televised debate will feature BC party leaders like the NDP’s John Horgan, the Liberals’ Andrew Wilkinson, and the Green’s Sonia Furstenau.
Though the decision to call an election was not a popular one, the NDP party seems to have the popular vote. At this point, it looks like the risk Horgan took for calling a snap election was a wise move for his party. The votes are currently in the NDP’s favour with 39 percent, according to a poll commissioned by 338Canada where they asked respondents, “if the election was held today, who would you vote for?” The Liberal party trails behind with 29 percent, and the Green party sits at 13 percent. The Conservative party has 1 percent of the votes, according to the same poll.
Though the decision to call an election was not a popular one, the NDP party seems to have the popular vote.
As for their platforms, BC Liberals announced they plan to eliminate provincial sales tax for one year to help reboot the economy from the pandemic (then reduce the tax to three percent in the subsequent year) should they be elected. As it stands, the BC provincial sales tax is at seven percent. “Eliminating PST puts more money in people’s pockets, stimulates growth for struggling small business, and helps British Columbians who are struggling to get by. This is a vital step to rebuild our economy,” Wilkinson said. Liberals also promise to eliminate “tent cities,” but do not explain how they will do it. In her first platform announcement, Furstenau says the Green party will end for-profit long-term senior care, citing COVID-19 for shining a light on the state of senior homes. The NDP promised to expand BC access grants for post-secondary students and add spaces to create more technology programs. Horgan also pledged to increase the wages of long-term senior care workers.
The campaign trail has already been met with some setbacks. The Green party struggled to find enough candidates—fielding 74 candidates instead of the usual 87. On the matter, Furstenau said: “We did not have the head start that the NDP had. We did not even have the head start that the Liberal party had.”
The Liberal party also had some hiccups at the beginning when a BC Liberal candidate was accused of election fraud. In a letter by party lawyers to Elections BC, it alleges that Garry Thind, the Liberal candidate for the Surrey-Fleetwood district, has been collecting personal information from constituents and requesting mail-in ballots on their behalf. As of October 2, Elections BC says they have found no evidence of corrupt voting occurring.