NDP plan is borrow and spend

Major policy announcements had been released previously, but there was plenty more spending added to the total.

NDP leader Adrian Dix has finally rolled out his “fully costed” election platform.

Major policy announcements had been released previously, but there was plenty more spending added to the total.

The NDP’s health care plan is surprisingly modest – more money for home support, residential senior care, mental health and addiction services and a rural acute care initiative totaling $159 million over three years.

As health critic Mike Farnworth points out, the residential care increase will allow seniors two baths a week instead of one. Full marks to the NDP for this part of the platform.

Increases to Community Living B.C., children and families programs and aboriginal friendship centres are also commendable.

Other NDP proposals don’t inspire as much confidence.

Raise welfare rates $20 a month and index them to inflation. Index the minimum wage to inflation too, at a time when inflation can only rise.

Set up a new child bonus program to send $70 per month for each child with family income under $25,000. Lesser payments would go to families with income up to $66,000.

This ’70s-style family allowance scheme is based on a “child poverty” claim that misrepresents federal statistics of relative income distribution. The program is optimistically budgeted at $210 million a year. Dix insists it isn’t a “big new social program,” which makes me wonder what would qualify.

It would be partly funded by cancelling a B.C. Liberal plan to establish education savings accounts for kids born after 2006. Out with self-reliance, in with the nanny state.

Another $100 million is added to hire more teachers, to address the teachers’ union’s often-repeated but false claim of “a decade of cuts” in education.

Another $100 million goes to student grants, much of it further subsidizing the oversupply of English, education, sociology, women’s studies, journalism and other university grads who eventually discover there is little demand for their degrees. As with welfare, increasing support for bad choices can only yield more bad choices.

On a related note, the NDP will revive a ministry of women’s equality, “to promote social and economic equality to all government programs….” As with female candidate quotas, the NDP keeps the flame of ’70s socialist feminism alive.

The party totals up its new program spending to $988 million over three years. That’s exactly the amount Dix estimates will be raised by tax hikes on corporate income, bank capital, personal income over $150,000, carbon tax on oil and gas drilling, and cancelling the B.C. Liberals’ RESP and child tax credit plans.

As for deficits, the NDP claims that the B.C. Liberal budget hides a deficit of  $800 million this year and similar deficits in the next two years. The B.C. Liberals point to an impressive string of “net zero” wage settlements with public sector unions, the core of their spending control record.

Would the NDP continue to hold the line on public service wages, as the B.C. Liberals have done?

Dix’s NDP caucus and staff is stocked with former government union officials. Party president Moe Sihota is essentially a direct employee of the same unions. The B.C. Federation of Labour has shaped the NDP’s Labour Code changes, which we won’t see until after the May 14 vote.

And how much money does the “fully costed” NDP plan set aside to pay wage increases for its government union brothers and sisters? Zero.

Since this is the party that appears to be cruising to victory in the May 14 election, I’ll look at what’s not in their platform and other issues next week.

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com

Just Posted

Remembering legendary ski builder Fred Bosinger

On Dec. 12 Western Canada lost a man who made a mark in its skiing community.

UPDATED: Body found in burnt-out car

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Kootenay Boundary remains in unusually dangerous avalanche period

Avalanche Canada says it expects snowpack conditions to get better soon

Genelle ‘vehicle incident’ under RCMP investigation

Regional firefighters respond to car fire Sunday night

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Most Read