Transition isn’t always easy, especially when you’ve been doing the same thing for years. All of a sudden you are faced with new experiences and you’re not always sure how to react.
But that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case for the region’s MLAs, who were part of the Liberal government but are now relegated to the opposition benches after the NDP and Greens took power through parliamentary maneuvering.
If anything, the MLAs appear to be enjoying their new duties and finger-wagging at the NDP.
“A lot of the announcements were a regurgitating of items we had previously announced. The reduction in MSP premiums had been previously announced,” said the Shuswap’s Greg Kyllo, when asked for his thoughts on the budget update released Monday.
Kyllo then went a step further when he accused Premier John Horgan and the gang of having no vision to grow the provincial economy.
“They are reviewing Site C with an intent to kill the plan. They are killing the George Massey bridge project,” he said, adding that these would have created good-paying jobs.
“I would have thought the NDP would have learned lessons from their time in government in the ’90s but it sure doesn’t seem like it.”
And that is a common refrain you will hear from the Liberals, that the current NDP will drive B.C. into the ground and chase away investors. Obviously the NDP, some historians and economists disagree with that interpretation of the ‘90s, but it plays well among Liberal stalwarts.
Kyllo also neglects to point out that while these mega projects would create some good-paying jobs, they would do little for those away from the construction zones struggling to make minimum wage.
Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, also got into the act Monday, portraying the NDP as spend-thrifts who put B.C.’s financial house in jeopardy.
“There’s some expensive housing initiatives which people are happy to see but you have to pay for them,” he said, referring to $208 million for the construction of over 1,700 new units of affordable rental housing and $291 million to support the construction of 2,000 modular housing units for people who are homeless.
Foster insists you can’t fund social programs while also eliminating infrastructure projects that create jobs and revenue.
“I’m concerned the money won’t be there if the income does down.”
Once again, the Liberals love to claim the NDP aren’t fiscally prudent and are only interested in debt.
But while spending more than you have is never good, what about the social deficit that is increasingly evident in our province?
Many people can’t afford to put a roof over their head even if working, and if they can cover rent, there is nothing left for food and other basics. Agencies like the Upper Room Mission are increasingly seeing families and seniors walking through the door.
Now the Liberal government did focus on affordable housing and significant investments were made in Vernon, but it never seemed to be enough.
Previously, the Liberals, when in power, often suggested that the NDP only offered criticism and no constructive solutions to the province’s major challenges, but now that the tables are turned, what do the Liberals offer as a viable alternative?
If criticizing is the hallmark of being in opposition, then the Liberals have tackled their new role with enthusiasm.