BC BUDGET: Opposition pans MSP reduction plan

NDP leader John Horgan not ready to announce his own plan to eliminate health premiums, Greens' Andrew Weaver wants it in income tax

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and NDP leader John Horgan

Opposition politicians were quick to attack the BC Liberal government’s plan to cut Medical Services Plan premiums by half next year, and eliminate them entirely in future years.

NDP leader John Horgan isn’t ready to announce details of his own promise to eliminate MSP premiums, but he said the plan in Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s pre-election budget is not credible.

“Where was [Premier Christy Clark] on MSP premiums two years ago? When we raised it in the legislature, they laughed at us,” Horgan said. “And now, after doubling MSP premiums, next January, they’ll reduce them by half. Half measures, not good enough.”

Horgan said the release of the budget Tuesday is his party’s first look at the government’s books and forecasts for the year, and his plan to eliminate the premiums will be released “in the weeks ahead.”

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has advocated shifting the $1 billion in revenue from the premiums into the income tax system, so people who make more will pay more. The current system provides low-income reductions and exemption from MSP, but charges others the same rate regardless of their income.

“Two years ago, I brought forward a progressive way to eliminate MSP premiums through income taxes, but the government did not act,” Weaver said. “Now they are making a substantial reduction in MSP premiums for some British Columbians, on the eve of an election.”

 

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

Just Posted

No bucks for Ellison park expansion, ministry tells Vernon chamber

Vernon Chamber of Commerce vows to help government connect with potential funding partners to see Chelsea Estate purchased

COVID-19: Vernon fields and courts ready for booking

Local sport organizations will soon be able to get back out on the field for limited activities

$500 fine for Vernon man caught near Coldstream playground

Richard Slobodian, 58, served one night in jail and ordered to pay for breaching probation

Vernon firefighters showcase new rescue equipment

New tools helping VFRS make safer, swifter and more versatile rescue operations

House arrest for Vernon physiotherapist guilty of sexual assault

Stephen Witvoet to serve 18-month conditional sentencing following July 8 hearing

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read