2017 is provincial election year

This editorial appeared in the January 11, 2017 edition of the Interior News. You can read or download the original here.

Happy New Year to all. It’s time to look ahead to what is coming in 2017 to circle on the calendar. One date in the first half of the year that should be double circled is May 9 – the B.C. provincial election day.

You’ll be hard pressed to miss the lead up because outside the 28-day official campaign period beginning April 11 (writ drop), is the 60-day pre-campaign season – a time where the Christy Clark government refused to accept our suggestion to put a limit on election spending. As a result, expensive media buys will mean a flurry of partisan television and radio ads starting soon.

You’ll also be repeatedly reminded how great a job the Christy Clark government is doing thanks to the fact the BC Liberals jacked up the government advertising budget to $15 million this year from a projected $8.5 million. Seems a bit excessive considering other important needs in Stikine and the province.

With a bit of lead time before May 9, it is possible to check out the policy directions of each party before the election without the background din of those partisan ads. One way to research the Official Opposition is to look at Private Members Bills (PMB) we introduced.
The following is a small sample in just the last year alone:

On affordability, Official Opposition leader John Horgan introduced the BC Hydro Affordability Act. With Hydro rates increasing by 28 per cent under the Christy Clark government, it provides a mechanism for low-income households to receive a discounted ‘lifeline’ Hydro rate. We also introduced Bills promoting B.C. agriculture (British Columbia Local Food Act), ensuring stable funding for wildlife and habitat management (Sustainable Wildlife Management Act) and protecting our blood supply by banning ‘pay for blood’ schemes (Safe Blood for BC Act).

And yes, there was also the Government Advertising Act which requires the independent Auditor General’s office to first scrutinize government ads to ensure they aren’t partisan, and prohibits all government advertising four months before an election. The BC Liberals did not support any of our Private Member Bills so none made it into law.

If you would like to check out more of our PMBs as one way to better inform yourself, you can access all of them through the BC legislative assembly website, www.leg.bc.ca.

– Doug Donaldson is the MLA for Stikine and the Official Opposition spokesperson for energy and mines.