Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau responds to questions during a campaign stop in Squamish, B.C., on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

The leader of British Columbia’s Green party took aim at her two larger rivals on Tuesday over the pandemic recovery, a promise on the provincial sales tax and the snap election call.

Sonia Furstenau said a Liberal promise to drop the PST for a year would increase inequality at a time when people need help most.

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry, and accused both parties of not supporting a clean energy economy.

Furstenau made the comments at a campaign stop in Squamish, where she said the Oct. 24 snap election call left the Greens scrambling and likely unable to field a full slate of candidates to run in all 87 B.C. ridings.

“We had exactly zero heads-up notice that this election was coming,” Furstenau said at a news conference.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan called the election last week, about a year ahead of the October 2021 fixed date. Horgan said he struggled with the decision to hold an election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the province needs the stability of a majority government.

In 2017, the NDP formed a minority government after reaching an agreement with the Green party, which held the balance of power.

Furstenau, one of two Greens in the legislature, said the party met with Horgan prior to the election call and committed to supporting the minority government until October 2021.

“John Horgan needs to stop trying to blame this election on anybody but himself,” she said.

Furstenau said she was disappointed the NDP’s $1.5-billion economic recovery plan didn’t do more for tourism.

“It was not the immediate support that the sector sorely needs,” Furstenau said, adding $100 million in targeted funds and a task force gathering information for next year’s tourism season falls short.

Furstenau had similar comments about Andrew Wilkinson’s campaign promise to eliminate B.C.’s seven per cent PST in the first year of a B.C. Liberal government.

“To suggest that to take out revenues from government at a time when we need to deeply invest in services and the infrastructure that this province will need as part of its economic recovery, to me not only shows a lack of imagination but that it’s an irresponsible decision to make at this time,” she said.

Wilkinson said the proposed PST cut is a bold and necessary initiative during unprecedented times.

He said during a campaign stop at Campbell River that the COVID-19 pandemic means the provincial government must make moves to spur consumer and investor confidence.

“So let’s be clear, the provincial sales tax cut will not lead to any reduction in services in B.C.,” said Wilkinson. “We’re in a crisis, folks. It’s time for us to put everything we’ve got into rebuilding B.C.”

Horgan, campaigning in Coquitlam, said the Liberal pledge to eliminate the PST appears to be “desperate, not thoughtful.”

The NDP recovery plan includes targeted tax cuts that offer businesses relief when they purchase new equipment to create jobs.

“Eliminating the PST won’t build one school,” said Horgan, who promised to complete construction of a high school and middle school in the Liberal-held riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

(File)
British Columbians want more parks, even if it means less mining and logging: survey

Scientists say 30 per cent of land and water in Canada should be protected

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

The Alchemy Studio is hosting a dance church event on Halloween. (File Photo)
The Alchemy Studio hosting Halloween Dance Church

Spaces are limited and an RSVP is required

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read