NDP Leader John Horgan, centre, speaks to students and graduates Langara College, Vancouver, October 1, 2020. Horgan’s election platform includes increased eligibility for post-secondary student grants. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

NDP Leader John Horgan, centre, speaks to students and graduates Langara College, Vancouver, October 1, 2020. Horgan’s election platform includes increased eligibility for post-secondary student grants. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. VOTES 2020: NDP launches platform with $1,000 COVID relief payments

News COVID-19 payments up to $1,000 per household

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan released his full platform for the Oct. 24 B.C. election with a promise to send out further COVID-19 relief payments of up to $1,000 per family, increasing a record deficit further to do it.

Horgan said Oct. 6 he came up with the idea of direct payments after the election was called, rather than delaying part of the province’s $5 billion aid package for a snap election call.

“We’re not throwing money just to buy votes,” Horgan said. “We believe this puts the stimulus in the hands of the people who need it the most.”

The direct payments are to be available up to household incomes of $125,000, and individual incomes up to $62,500. They will cost $1.4 billion, and along with rent assistance and other promises they are estimated to bring the province’s deficit up to about $15 billion for the year.

“We recognize that when this is over we’re going to have to dig out from underneath it,” Horgan said.

The platform contains 154 commitments, most of them already announced. New ones include an income-tested rent supplement, to replace the 2017 payment that didn’t materialize, and making transit free for children under 12. Small businesses struggling to survive in the COVID-19 pandemic are promised $300 million in recovery grants and a temporary removal of provincial sales tax for eligible machinery and equipment.

The timing of the surprise election has Horgan attempting to explain why support programs for struggling tourism and other businesses aren’t likely to begin until the new year. Business groups have been saying for months that they need to survive long enough to receive them.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the election call has made a bad situation worse.

“If you’ve been in a business with next to no revenue so far in 2020, and you’re told you’ll get maybe a consultation process in January, chances are you’re just going to pack it in,” Wilkinson said Oct. 5. “The NDP have completely failed the tourism and hospitality business in British Columbia by stringing them along until late September and then calling an election that blocks any relief for them.”

RELATED: B.C. Liberals promise to end ICBC insurance monopoly

RELATED: B.C. Greens call for $1B mental health program


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
Kootenay-Columbia MP pans federal budget

Conservative Rob Morrison says budget doesn’t have a plan for long-term spending priorities

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
Man arrested in incident at Canada-U.S. border near Roosville

A man who crossed the border illegally was apprehended by U.S. officials

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

The golf course in Elkford would need to be re-zoned to allow for 10 camping sites. (Image courtesy of District of Elkford)
Elkford to consider allowing campsites at golf course

The district has expressed support for 10 campground spaces at the golf course

Most Read