After boasting about a $3.6-billion forecasted surplus which only occurred because the pandemic measures were lifted and the economy was re-opened, British Columbia’s NDP government is plunging the province into a $4.2-billion deficit by spending on vanity programs like bike lanes, free contraception including spending on free illicit drugs for drug addicts and spaces to get high.
The Bank of Canada increased rates for the last several months making it more expensive to borrow money. Conroy admitted the economy is about to have some hard times but said that’s no reason to quit borrowing and spending more money.
“Interest charges on the government credit card will cost British Columbians more than $3 billion this year,” said Binda, British Columbia Director for the Taxpayer Federation. “That’s billions of dollars that can’t be used to hire more nurses or lower taxes because it’s going to the bond fund managers on Bay Street.”
“We know there are some economic headwinds ahead of us as the global economy shifts in
response to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and rising costs,” said Conroy in a press release.
“That’s not a signal for our government to pull back and cut services – it’s a signal that we need to keep making smart investments so that we can continue to be there for British Columbians and build the stronger, more secure future we all want.”
ICBC is set to hemorrhage $298 million.
Some of the large commitments is a $4.2 billion renters “rebate” in the form of a $400 tax credit, a $2.3 billion healthcare top up and $867 million in funding on addictions and mental health treatment. Spending for addictions will be injected into building and maintaining “safe consumption sites” for drug addicts to shoot up and smoke illicit drugs and providing a “safe supply” of illicit drugs for free.
The BC Government has committed $119 million over three years to provide free contraception throughout the province. The program will begin in April of this year with $39 million dollars, $46 million in 2024/2025 and $33 million for 2025/2026. The program will cover prescription contraception products, copper IUDs and Plan B.
Enhancing Outdoor and Community Infrastructure
$100 million has been ear marked for “active transportation” initiatives such as more bike lanes, multi-use paths and cleaner modes of transportation.
“The strategy aims to double the percentage of trips taken with active transportation by 2030, and reduce vehicle transportation.”
Treatment and Recovery Services
“$586 million across the spectrum of services and supports for people struggling with substance use disorder”
Responding to the Toxic Drug Crisis
“$184 million more over three years to support safer substance use for those living with mental health and addictions.”
The province’s new “Anti-Racism Data Act”, which was first proposed last year, will be established with an investment of $9 million thrown at it.
“These steps further B.C.’s progress toward dismantling systemic racism and discrimination in British Columbia.”
Massive carbon tax increases are coming. Currently the carbon tax is sitting at $50 a tonne but will be jacked up by $15 each year until the rates hit $170 a tonne in 2030. Drivers can expect to see prices at the pump increase 26 cents by 2030, the increase will also push prices up for products and services including groceries.
The latest year for which data is available shows carbon tax that British Columbia had only reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1% from its baseline year of 2007. That falls far short of the radical target of cutting emissions by 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 80% by 2050.
“Ongoing COVID-19 Health Response”
The BC NDP have also splurged for what it calls an “Ongoing COVID-19 Health Response” to syphon $875 million in 2023/24 from the Pandemic Recovery Contingencies for the Ministry of Health.
“COVID-19 and influenza vaccination programs; the provision of personal protective equipment for health-care workers and COVID-19 testing and other preventative measures including screening staff that work with vulnerable health-care residents.”
According to the BC Government this is the final year spending on Covid response and should wind down next year.