The BC Liberal candidate for Richmond-Queensborough says the NDP’s platform is an “attempt to bribe British Columbians.”
On Tuesday, BC NDP Leader John Horgan announced that a re-elected government would provide a one-time, $1,000 COVID-19 recovery benefit for all families with income under $125,000.
The benefit would go to others on a sliding scale up to a household income of $175,000.
Meanwhile, single people making under $62,000 would receive a $500 recovery benefit, with others getting help up to an income of $87,000.
But Jas Johal, who is running for re-election in Richmond-Queensborough for the BC Liberals, said that he was skeptical the platform was put together over the past two weeks.
“It shows the NDP has held back help for those who really needed it. They’re using the public’s own money to bribe them during an unnecessary pandemic election,” he said, speaking during a media availability in downtown Vancouver Tuesday afternoon.
Johal asked why the benefit wasn’t offered in March.
“That money was sitting there in March. In March, when people needed help,” he said, adding it was “unconscionable” that the money was held back.
However, Aman Singh, who is running against Johal for the NDP, said the Liberals “just don’t get it.”
“They may think that this election is all about political gain,” he said. “The reality is families are struggling…I’ve spoken to so many people in Richmond-Queensborough who are uncertain about not only the future, but the present, given the pandemic.”
He said the recovery benefit for families and individuals could be used for household expenses, such as groceries or childcare.
Singh said the NDP’s platform is designed to help the province keep moving forward and help people through the pandemic.
“It ensures that everyone benefits from the economic recovery,” he said, adding that the platform builds on progress the NDP already made, for example, in improving health care and creating jobs.
Singh said he would highlight the 10-year cancer plan for Richmond residents, in addition to the $3 billion recovery investment, over the next three years, to build new schools and hospitals.
“Those are all things that we require in Richmond,” he said.
Also included in the NDP’s platform are a rent freeze until 2022; a second medical school in B.C.; and free transit for children under 12.
Johal also criticised the NDP’s platform for making no mention of the promised acute care tower for Richmond Hospital and a second hospital for Surrey, the UBC-Broadway extension or funding for the tourism sector.
“There is absolutely no plan here to grow the economy,” said Johal.
He also said there was no plan to replace the Massey Tunnel in the NDP’s platform.
On Monday, the BC Liberals announced they would resurrect their plan for a 10-lane bridge to replace the aging Massey crossing.
However, Singh said that Richmond Hospital is already in the works and was included in the 2020 provincial budget. Meanwhile, he added, it’s “full steam ahead” on the toll-free tunnel replacement.
The BC Liberals have also promised to cut provincial sales tax for a year, and after that, would bring it back at a reduced rate of three per cent, in an effort to help the economy recover from COVID-19.
The Liberals’ platform has yet to be announced, however, Johal said parts of it are being released day by day, for example, the Massey Tunnel and PST announcements.