wilkinson-and-clark_thumb
wilkinson-and-clark_thumb This article is more than 3 years old
Analysis

3 Major Messes That Need to Be Cleaned Up in British Columbia’s 2019 Budget

BC has the worst inequality in Canada after a decade and a half of BC Liberal Government rule

British Columbia’s Finance Minister Carole James is set to table the province’s 2019 Budget this week.

During last week’s Speech from the Throne, the Horgan government signalled that its upcoming budget will aim make life “more affordable” for working families in BC, highlighting issues like poverty, housing and childcare as top priorities.

The budget will be the second brought forward by the Horgan government after a decade and a half under the BC Liberals – a period that saw skyrocketing costs of living and public institutions that combat inequality left underfunded.

Here are a few timely examples of big messes left by the BC Liberals:

1. Inequality

James has signalled that the upcoming budget will see significant new investments in reducing poverty, something long overdue considering the size of the gap between the rich and the poor in BC.

Under the BC Liberals, the province had the biggest wealth gap in Canada, with BC’s wealthiest 10% holding more than half (56.2%) of all wealth while the bottom 50% of British Columbians held only 3.1% of the province’s wealth.

Meanwhile, one in five children in BC were living in poverty – that’s a rate far higher than the national average.

As the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives points out, the BC Liberals’ “decade of tax cuts” and “regressive changes to the provincial tax system” helped to “exacerbate growing income inequality in BC.”

Last year, Horgan’s government voted to cut poverty by 25% in five years.

Source: Statistics Canada

2. Affordable Housing

Last week’s throne speech noted “years of inaction” on BC’s housing crisis have “left people unable to find affordable housing,” echoing experts who point fingers at the old BC Liberal government for contributing to the housing crisis by doing little to curb real estate speculation and failing to make investments in affordable housing.

Although the current BC government’s new real estate taxes have helped cool the province’s skyrocketing housing and rental costs, housing costs in cities like Vancouver and Victoria remain among the most expensive in Canada.

However, the BC Liberals don’t seem interested in fixing those problems since they’re now calling for tax breaks for real estate speculators and homeowners with property worth $3 million or more.

3. Affordable Childcare

Under the BC Liberals, childcare costs in the province skyrocketed to heights most working families could barely afford or not afford at all.

By 2015, median childcare costs in the province ranged as high as $755 per month for preschoolers and $1,000 per month for infants – a 33% increase for infants and 37% increase for preschoolers compared to a decade earlier.

A 2017 report by the CCPA found under the BC Liberals, three of Canada’s five most expensive cities for childcare were in BC.

Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

 

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

westjet

Top Doug Ford Adviser Sent Premier’s Office Backchannel Message About Meeting With Russian Government

Related Stories

Analysis

Pierre Poilievre is Proposing a ‘Massive Government Intrusion’ into Academic Freedom, Academics Warn

View the post
Analysis

Meet the 8 UCP Leadership Candidates Trying to Steer Jason Kenney’s Party Even Further to the Right

View the post
Analysis

Fraser Institute’s ‘Tax Freedom Day’ Wildly Exaggerates the Tax Bill of the ‘Average Canadian Family’

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get All Your Canadian Labour News in One Place
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? Good news! We’ve launched a newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.