Election promises: BC NDP, John Horgan says he will freeze BC Hydro rates if the NDP is elected May 9. Horgan made the pledge just after he promised to eliminate tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. The NDP’s announcement comes barely a week after electricity rates jumped nine per cent. BC Hydro announced in November that rates would climb another 16.5 per cent over the next four years. “Residents have no choice but to pay the increases in order to power and heat their homes” Horgan said. He also said freezing rates and removing bridge tolls will make life more affordable for British Columbians. NDP hoping an election campaign focusing on affordability will move the party from the Opposition benches to power after 16 years of Liberal rule.
Liberals focus on tolls, tax credits in election platform
The B.C. Liberal’s have released the party’s platform in advance of Tuesday’s official provincial election kick-off.
The party is estimating the new promises — including putting a cap on Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridge tolls — will cost an additional $157 million by 2019/20.
“The foundation of our plan is controlling government spending and cutting taxes for the middle class to create jobs and grow the economy,” said Clark in a letter to voters.
Senior tax credit and respite credit
The BC Liberals are also proposing an ‘active senior’ tax credit and a ‘respite’ tax credit.
The active senior tax credit will provide a credit for up to $500 a year on things like gym memberships and yoga classes for British Columbians over the age of 65. The B.C. Liberals forecast this will cost $2.5 million a year.
The respite credit will allow British Columbians to receive a credit for hiring help — up to $2,500 a year — to give them a break from caring for elderly parents and loved ones with disabilities. The party forecasts the respite credit will cost about $5 million a year.
Ferries loyalty discount
The B.C. Liberals are also promising a loyalty discount program by 2020 for BC Ferries users. Until the program is up and running, the party is planning a new tax deduction for residents of ferry-dependent communities.
Those individuals will be able to deduct 25 per cent of the value of their ferry fares, up to a maximum amount of $1,000, from their net tax payable to the Province.
“Island and coastal residents make huge contributions to our province, and we’re excited to make life a little easier for those who count on ferries to get around,” said Stephen Roberts, BC Liberal candidate in Saanich North and the Islands.
Included in the platform is the party’s promise to cap Metro Vancouver toll crossings at $500 per vehicle per year.
The party says the toll cap will cost an estimated $30 million in the 2018/19 fiscal year, and an additional $30 million after that. The platform only provides financial forecasts for a three year period.