NDP Leader John Horgan, centre, speaks to students and graduates Langara College, Vancouver, October 1, 2020. Horgan’s election platform includes increased eligibility for post-secondary student grants. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. VOTES 2020: NDP launches platform with $1,000 COVID relief payments

News COVID-19 payments up to $1,000 per household

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan released his full platform for the Oct. 24 B.C. election with a promise to send out further COVID-19 relief payments of up to $1,000 per family, increasing a record deficit further to do it.

Horgan said Oct. 6 he came up with the idea of direct payments after the election was called, rather than delaying part of the province’s $5 billion aid package for a snap election call.

“We’re not throwing money just to buy votes,” Horgan said. “We believe this puts the stimulus in the hands of the people who need it the most.”

The direct payments are to be available up to household incomes of $125,000, and individual incomes up to $62,500. They will cost $1.4 billion, and along with rent assistance and other promises they are estimated to bring the province’s deficit up to about $15 billion for the year.

“We recognize that when this is over we’re going to have to dig out from underneath it,” Horgan said.

The platform contains 154 commitments, most of them already announced. New ones include an income-tested rent supplement, to replace the 2017 payment that didn’t materialize, and making transit free for children under 12. Small businesses struggling to survive in the COVID-19 pandemic are promised $300 million in recovery grants and a temporary removal of provincial sales tax for eligible machinery and equipment.

The timing of the surprise election has Horgan attempting to explain why support programs for struggling tourism and other businesses aren’t likely to begin until the new year. Business groups have been saying for months that they need to survive long enough to receive them.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the election call has made a bad situation worse.

“If you’ve been in a business with next to no revenue so far in 2020, and you’re told you’ll get maybe a consultation process in January, chances are you’re just going to pack it in,” Wilkinson said Oct. 5. “The NDP have completely failed the tourism and hospitality business in British Columbia by stringing them along until late September and then calling an election that blocks any relief for them.”

RELATED: B.C. Liberals promise to end ICBC insurance monopoly

RELATED: B.C. Greens call for $1B mental health program


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

World War II veteran, and former POW, Hans Andersen is seen at his home in Maple Ridge Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
WWII veteran Hans Andersen recalls his time fighting in Europe

99-year-old Maple Ridge resident places a wreath at Cloverdale Cenotaph each year

Thomas Dawson Peacock
Surrey man, 32, charged with sexual interference

Incidents alleged to have happened in Surrey and Abbotsford

Students at Janice Churchill Elementary count the ballots following the school election on Oct. 26, 2018. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Local Student Vote mirrors Surrey’s election results

Nearly 8,000 students voted in mock election

Fraser Health Authority closed Valhalla Distribution/MSJ Distribution in Delta on Oct. 3, 2020 after 23 employees at the facility tested positive for COVID-19. (Google Maps screenshot)
Fraser Health says outbreaks over at Surrey meat-processing facility, Delta distribution centre

Health authority says it worked with facilities ‘to strengthen their COVID-19 mitigation strategies’

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

This Halloween display by a Maple Ridge family, seen here Oct. 31 in the 23600 block of 119 Avenue, has been the target of social media complaints that it is racially insensitive. (Black Press Media)
Halloween gallows display by B.C. family slammed as racially insensitive by social media critics

Refers to medieval times, not Black lynchings, says man responsible

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hay bales can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Straw bales used for Halloween decor can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society

Langley animal facility said they are always need in of fresh bedding

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Most Read