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

The River Forecast Centre is maintaining a flood watch for the area, including the Bella Coola River and tributaries, Kingcome River, Owikeeno-Rivers Inlet, and surrounding areas.
Wuikinuxv under evacuation order, more rain in forecast

Bella Coola’s Hill has re-opened but road conditions are muddy and wet

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

Highway 20 is closed from the top Avalanche gate to the bottom Avalanche gate as of 19:30 on Tuesday October 27, 2020 (WL Tribune photo)
Rockslide closes the Hill as rain pours down in Bella Coola

Bad weather has resulted in rockfall on the Hill on Highway 20

The River Forecast Centre is issuing a Flood Watch for the Central Coast including Bella Coola River (file photo)
Flood watch issued for Bella Coola River

The River Forecast Centre is issuing a Flood Watch for the Bella Coola River

Two of the three grizzly cubs that were relocated to Smithers after their mother was killed (Caitlin Thompson photo)
Bella Coola residents urged to secure attractants after two sow grizzlies killed

One sow was a mother to three cubs of the year, which have been transported to Smithers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

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

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read