Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau responds to questions during a campaign stop in Squamish, B.C., on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

The leader of British Columbia’s Green party took aim at her two larger rivals on Tuesday over the pandemic recovery, a promise on the provincial sales tax and the snap election call.

Sonia Furstenau said a Liberal promise to drop the PST for a year would increase inequality at a time when people need help most.

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry, and accused both parties of not supporting a clean energy economy.

Furstenau made the comments at a campaign stop in Squamish, where she said the Oct. 24 snap election call left the Greens scrambling and likely unable to field a full slate of candidates to run in all 87 B.C. ridings.

“We had exactly zero heads-up notice that this election was coming,” Furstenau said at a news conference.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan called the election last week, about a year ahead of the October 2021 fixed date. Horgan said he struggled with the decision to hold an election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the province needs the stability of a majority government.

In 2017, the NDP formed a minority government after reaching an agreement with the Green party, which held the balance of power.

Furstenau, one of two Greens in the legislature, said the party met with Horgan prior to the election call and committed to supporting the minority government until October 2021.

“John Horgan needs to stop trying to blame this election on anybody but himself,” she said.

Furstenau said she was disappointed the NDP’s $1.5-billion economic recovery plan didn’t do more for tourism.

“It was not the immediate support that the sector sorely needs,” Furstenau said, adding $100 million in targeted funds and a task force gathering information for next year’s tourism season falls short.

Furstenau had similar comments about Andrew Wilkinson’s campaign promise to eliminate B.C.’s seven per cent PST in the first year of a B.C. Liberal government.

“To suggest that to take out revenues from government at a time when we need to deeply invest in services and the infrastructure that this province will need as part of its economic recovery, to me not only shows a lack of imagination but that it’s an irresponsible decision to make at this time,” she said.

Wilkinson said the proposed PST cut is a bold and necessary initiative during unprecedented times.

He said during a campaign stop at Campbell River that the COVID-19 pandemic means the provincial government must make moves to spur consumer and investor confidence.

“So let’s be clear, the provincial sales tax cut will not lead to any reduction in services in B.C.,” said Wilkinson. “We’re in a crisis, folks. It’s time for us to put everything we’ve got into rebuilding B.C.”

Horgan, campaigning in Coquitlam, said the Liberal pledge to eliminate the PST appears to be “desperate, not thoughtful.”

The NDP recovery plan includes targeted tax cuts that offer businesses relief when they purchase new equipment to create jobs.

“Eliminating the PST won’t build one school,” said Horgan, who promised to complete construction of a high school and middle school in the Liberal-held riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

(Photo Submitted by the Gord Bamford Foundation)
Lacombe’s Gord Bamford to perform a virtual concert for a good cause

The concert aims to raise awareness for Operation Santa Clause

Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

best
Heartland Stationer’s lands ‘Stettler’s Best Kept Secret’ award through the Stettler Board of Trade

Successful long-time business will be starting a new chapter with a name change and relocation

lights
Mark your calendars for the annual ‘Festival of Lights’ holiday events

Annual celebration raises funds in support of patient care at the Stettler Hospital

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

(Photo submitted)
Rimbey resident avid author despite Parkinson’s

Wins more accolades for her writing

(Photo Submitted by the Gord Bamford Foundation)
Lacombe’s Gord Bamford to perform a virtual concert for a good cause

The concert aims to raise awareness for Operation Santa Clause

City of Wetaskiwin Mayor presenting the AUMA Above & Beyond Award to John Maude and Susan Quinn. Ren Goode/ City of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin County residents win the AUMA Above & Beyond Award

John Maude and Susan Quinn are being recognized for their role in Wetaskiwin’s sustainability.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Most Read