B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the UBC campus, Vancouver, Oct. 13, 2020. (CTV)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the UBC campus, Vancouver, Oct. 13, 2020. (CTV)

B.C. VOTES 2020

B.C. leaders tested in the only TV election debate of 2020

Horgan, Wilkinson, Furstenau press their criticisms

B.C.’s three main party leaders went head to head in the only televised debate on the 2020 election issues Tuesday, with support for business in the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggle to protect seniors in care among the top issues.

The timing of the election itself was an early target for opposition leaders.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson pressed NDP leader John Horgan on the delay in business support caused by the surprise election he called for Oct. 24, after a long delay for consultation. Wilkinson cited the latest survey showing that up to a quarter of B.C. businesses expect to close for good.

Horgan gave a now-familiar answer that the “it’s never a bad time” to consult the public, either on business relief money or in a general election.

B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau was a week into her new role when the election was called, and called Horgan on terminating the minority government agreement she had promised to uphold.

“You’re willing to break your word, you’re willing to break your agreement, and you’re willing to break the legislation,” Furstenau said.

Horgan went after Wilkinson on the state of seniors’ care homes, nine out of 10 of which were not providing the province’s level of daily care due to lack of staff before the pandemic. The NDP government has moved since COVID-19 to increase staff wages and make sure care aides aren’t working multiple part-time jobs at different facilities.

RELATED: B.C. Liberals promise to ban elections in emergencies

RELATED: NDP offers another round of $,1000 pandemic payments

RELATED: B.C. Greens call for better transit, municipal financing

All three party leaders endorsed the current mix of public and private for-profit seniors care, with additional staffing. Horgan has promised to hire 7,000 more care home staff, and Wilkinson has vowed a construction program to give all long-term care home residents a private room.

All three leaders clashed over clean energy policy, with Horgan calling his CleanBC program for housing and transportation world-leading. Wilkinson called CleanBC “a giant hot-air balloon with not much in it,” adding a quarter of the plan isn’t funded as greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise in B.C. up until the pandemic slowdown.

Wilkinson called for the province to greatly expand wind and solar energy, which works with the province’s network of hydro dams. He accused Horgan of “importing dirty American power,” a reference to the NDP’s proposed changes to electricity imports. That move was objected to by Indigenous communities who want local power projects, and the legislation was withdrawn when the two Green Party MLAs refused to support it.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

The Bella Coola RCMP are investigating the cause of the fire (Caitlin Thompson photo)
RCMP investigating Bay Motor Hotel fire

Anyone with information is asked to call Bella Coola RCMP 250 799 5363 or Crimestoppers

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before Phillip Tallio’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

A third-party crew cut the Telus fiber line on Tuesday, Nov. 17, resulting in a nearly 24hr communications blackout for the Valley (Black Press Media)
Recent outage highlights vulnerabilites in local communication infrastructure

A third-party crew accidentally severed the cable on Highway 20, resulting in a valley-wide communications outage

The Bay Hotel burned to the ground last night (Christina Hoppe photo)
Bay Hotel burns to the ground in early morning fire

The building was abandoned and had been falling apart for years

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu turns 105

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read