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Promises on jobs, affordability continue to dominate B.C. election campaign

Jobs, affordability big promises in B.C. election

VANCOUVER — With just over a week left in British Columbia’s election campaign, the leaders spent Sunday out on the hustings trying to shore up votes.

Campaigning in the Kootenays, B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark repeated her party’s promise to protect jobs in resource industries like forestry and mining.

Last week, the U.S. introduced tariffs of up to 24 per cent on Canadian lumber, and Clark said her party is the only one that can stand up for B.C. workers in the face of rising protectionism.

“The NDP can’t do it. The Greens won’t do it. Not when they have opposed so many of the jobs we already have in British Columbia,” she said during a campaign stop at a hardware store in Invermere, B.C.

Clark’s party also reiterated a promise Sunday to bring ride-sharing to B.C. by December 2017, saying in a release that new legislation would be tabled in the first session following the election.

The Liberals also announced a car-sharing tax credit at an annual cost of $1.5 million.

Meanwhile, New Democrat Leader John Horgan campaigned around the Lower Mainland, repeating his party’s pledge to make life more affordable for British Columbians.

The message is striking a chord with people who have consistently seen their cost of living rise under the Liberal government, he said.

“The Liberals are saying ‘This is as good as it gets.’ And the public’s saying ‘We can do better than this.’ And a better B.C. is nine days away.”

Horgan said his campaign is building momentum, and there’s an energy and excitement in the air that he hasn’t seen for a “long, long time.”

“The Liberals want desperately to hold on to power for the wealthy and the well-connected, and the people are desperate for a government that works for them,” he said.

The message has resonated with at least one young supporter.

Eleven-year-old Charlie Gatley was in the crowd at a campaign stop in Burnaby, B.C., on Sunday and he told The Canadian Press how he rallied his friends to donate to the NDP campaign. He said the group came up with $70.

Gatley called the donation “a worthy cause” and said he likes the party’s stance on improving public health care.

“I really like that, because if I get an injury, I want to know that I can be treated well and that my injuries get cured,” said the Grade 5 student.

A man at an NDP event in Vancouver on Sunday wasn’t as impressed with the party’s promises. The man heckled Horgan as he spoke to media, saying the leader’s endless promises will bankrupt the province.

Horgan responded by saying the New Democrats’ platform is fully costed and that he would be happy to speak with the man about his concerns after the event.

 

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press