B.C. leaders square off in TV debate

Christy Clark, John Horgan and Andrew Weaver battle it out ahead of the May 9 election

BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark

BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark

B.C. party leaders squared off in their main TV debate of the provincial election campaign Wednesday.

B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark, NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver started with a series of questions on housing affordability.

Clark took aim at Horgan’s proposal to provide renters with a $400-a-year tax credit, and accused him of wanting to cancel her government’s program to offer second mortgages up to $37,500 with five years interest free.

The renters’ tax credit amounts to little more than a dollar a day, Clark said.

Horgan responded that the B.C. Liberals’ 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax has slowed the rise of prices in Metro Vancouver, but young people are still leaving B.C.

“They don’t want to live in a basement apartment, but that’s all they can find,” Horgan said.

Weaver defended his plan to double the foreign buyers’ tax for “mega-mansions” costing more than $1 million. He said his plan would make it easier to buy more modest homes, and Clark’s government has ignored high housing prices in Kelowna, Victoria and other B.C. urban areas.Horgan asked about temperIn a section on leadership, moderator Jennifer Burke put Horgan on the spot about his temper, asking him if he has an “anger management problem.”

Horgan said he is passionate about public service, and when he sees battles with teachers and children in care left to take their own lives, “I get angry.”

Weaver challenged Horgan about being a “career politician” who has spent 16 years in opposition, saying no to the B.C. Liberals. In a heated exchange that followed, Weaver asked, “are you going to lose your temper on me now, Mr. Horgan, because you did last week.”

Clark ducked questions about big donations received by her party, referring to the province’s record on job creation. Horgan said he has moved six times to ban “big money” from B.C. politics, and would do so immediately if he forms government.MSP a hot topic

Horgan and Weaver clashed over their plans to eliminate Medical Services Plan premiums. The Green platform calls for MSP to shift to income taxes, and Weaver accused Horgan of having “a plan to have a plan” with different claims about how Canada’s only medical service charges would be eliminated.

Horgan replied that he has been “crystal clear from the start.” He will match the B.C. Liberals’ promise to cut MSP premiums by half in January 2018, and eliminate the rest of it by the end of a four-year term in government.

Clark said the NDP will also move the burden of MSP premiums onto other taxes. Horgan noted that the B.C. Liberal government raised MSP premiums every year until they were doubled, and promised to cut them on the eve of an election.Clark goes after NDP health spending recordOn health care and surgical waiting lists, Horgan promoted his plan to develop urgent care centres that he said will take pressure off emergency wards.

Clark shot back that during the 1990s, the NDP government didn’t add a single doctor training space, closed hospitals and laid off nurses, because they ran out of money to provide services.

Weaver said his approach is not to throw money at a top-down system, but to develop community care that would keep more people out of hospital.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read