Opinion

UNCOMMON SENSE: BC Liberals offer little with latest budget

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The speech from the throne and the budget both delivered the sort of promises little Johnny might make during bedside prayer.

“One day I’m going to grow up to be an astronaut or a hockey player and I’ll be a millionaire and have six houses and 14 cars and a private jet.”

Even though Johnny wakes up the next day and has none of those things it doesn’t really matter. The goal to have these things some time in the future.

Similarly, the BC Liberal throne speech highlighted a number of wonderful things the residents of B.C. can expect to have when they, too, grow up.

Did you know Premier Christy Clark is going to create a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry that will create 100,000 jobs and eliminate the province’s debt? How will it do those things? Clark has no idea, but like Johnny, she’s eager to believe.

The Liberals will also create a 10-year skills training program, a 10-year labour agreement with teachers, and a 10-year transportation plan. Since none of those timelines fall within a contemporaneous context, none of them can come back to bite the government in the hind quarters when the next election arrives. Or the one after that.

Oh, and the Liberals will also formally apologize to the Chinese-Canadian community for historical wrongs. Which is nice–and it absolutely needs to be done–but is utterly and completely irrelevant to the needs of British Columbians living in 2014.

As for the budget, it’s consistent with the post-Gordon Campbell safe politics of the Clark government. A balanced budget for once, with an increase in sin taxes and health care premiums, an early childhood tax credit, and help for first-time home buyers.

If you were hoping for much more, you won’t find it in the budget. Short on specifics, but specific about vague ideas is the core of this 2014 BC Liberal government.

As Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington has pointed out, the throne speech included a claim that LNG would create an energy boom that would lower China’s greenhouse gas emissions. If that isn’t the most baseless, factually-lacking assertion you’ve ever heard from the Clark government, then just wait five minutes.

The Liberals are going to create thousands of LNG jobs, cure the poisonous relationship they have with the BC Teachers’ Federation, and make TransLink anything but a sinkhole of Delta’s tax dollars.

Just give them 10 years and you’ll see.

• Catch new episodes of Adrian MacNair’s TV show On Topic, which air Sundays at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Delta Cable.

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