NDP Leader John Horgan, centre, speaks to students and graduates Langara College, Vancouver, October 1, 2020. Horgan’s election platform includes increased eligibility for post-secondary student grants. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. VOTES 2020: NDP launches platform with $1,000 COVID relief payments

News COVID-19 payments up to $1,000 per household

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan released his full platform for the Oct. 24 B.C. election with a promise to send out further COVID-19 relief payments of up to $1,000 per family, increasing a record deficit further to do it.

Horgan said Oct. 6 he came up with the idea of direct payments after the election was called, rather than delaying part of the province’s $5 billion aid package for a snap election call.

“We’re not throwing money just to buy votes,” Horgan said. “We believe this puts the stimulus in the hands of the people who need it the most.”

The direct payments are to be available up to household incomes of $125,000, and individual incomes up to $62,500. They will cost $1.4 billion, and along with rent assistance and other promises they are estimated to bring the province’s deficit up to about $15 billion for the year.

“We recognize that when this is over we’re going to have to dig out from underneath it,” Horgan said.

The platform contains 154 commitments, most of them already announced. New ones include an income-tested rent supplement, to replace the 2017 payment that didn’t materialize, and making transit free for children under 12. Small businesses struggling to survive in the COVID-19 pandemic are promised $300 million in recovery grants and a temporary removal of provincial sales tax for eligible machinery and equipment.

The timing of the surprise election has Horgan attempting to explain why support programs for struggling tourism and other businesses aren’t likely to begin until the new year. Business groups have been saying for months that they need to survive long enough to receive them.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the election call has made a bad situation worse.

“If you’ve been in a business with next to no revenue so far in 2020, and you’re told you’ll get maybe a consultation process in January, chances are you’re just going to pack it in,” Wilkinson said Oct. 5. “The NDP have completely failed the tourism and hospitality business in British Columbia by stringing them along until late September and then calling an election that blocks any relief for them.”

RELATED: B.C. Liberals promise to end ICBC insurance monopoly

RELATED: B.C. Greens call for $1B mental health program


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

English Creek, southeast of Three Valley Gap, has become a popular bouldering destination. (William Eaton photo)
Column: English Creek now a bouldering destination

Terrain offers 33 climbing routes in six bouldering areas

RCMP responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm early Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm man killed in collision on Highway 1

RCMP say slippery road conditions contributing factor behind collision

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a seven-vehicle chain reaction collision early Monday morning, Oct. 26. (File photo)
One person injured in seven-vehicle chain-reaction collision in Salmon Arm

Snow packed to ice, speed contributing factors behind collisions

Armstrong’s Christyna Whieldon is $1M richer after scoring a winning Lotto 6/49 ticket from the general store. (BCLC contributed)
Armstrong mom $1M richer after candy run

Christyna Whieldon bought a winning ticket from Armstrong’s general store

Streets are slick in Salmon Arm this morning, Oct. 26, with drivers struggling to stay on the roads in multiple locations. (File photo)
Vehicles slip and slide in Salmon Arm Monday morning as snow falls

Snow forecast to stop by noon, with temperatures rising Tuesday, Oct. 27

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
Second case of COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health has confirmed the new case is unrelated to the one announced Sunday

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Popular Kelowna outdoor ice rink will open amid COVID-19 pandemic

City council approved COVID-related changes to the Stuart Park ice rink’s operations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Parents not giving up, after official search for Manning Park hiker suspended again

‘We are determined, but eventually the money is going to run out.’

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Most Read