I have been honoured to work for Premier Gordon Campbell here in BC and Premier Ralph Klein in Alberta as they restored economic prosperity and fiscal accountability in the two provinces. As a former Deputy Finance Minister, I know firsthand how the costs of deficit spending and unrestrained operating debt robs government of its ability to provide important public services such as healthcare, education and support to those in need. Both of these governments were committed to a core, unwavering principle to respect their hardworking citizens, their families and future families. In addition, they led the country in laying out reasonable, affordable programs and being accountable for the results they achieved. This was the recipe to earning the respect of voters and winning elections.
Under our current system, voters in our province have a clear choice: Elect a BC Liberal government that will act as the protector of the public purse OR elect the NDP to spend our dollars like they are their own – as if the money that flows into provincial treasuries just appears out of thin air.
BC Liberals need to maintain that clarity of choice for British Columbians. We need to ensure that we spell out our plans for a new BC Liberal government and do it in a way that remains true to our core values of free-enterprise, balanced budgets and small government.
I recently looked at the websites of the six leadership candidates to review their plans for the future of our province. So far just two candidates have released platforms that lay out their commitments for a new BC Liberal government. Only Andrew Wilkinson has provided a fully costed multi-year plan that lines up with his five core priorities: prosperity, healthy people, safe communities, sustainability and opportunity.
While four of the candidates have provided broad directional statements and a few interesting ideas, they have not provided a platform that gives us a real sense of their priorities, how they will deliver on the initiatives and the costs of their program. While Todd Stone has released a vision for the future, his plan appears to include billions and billions of dollars in spending increases, new entitlements and tax cuts, without a detailed costing. My calculations put the costs for his commitments at $2.7B in year one, about $4.5B in year two and $6.2B in year three.
As a party, we need a leader who has the skill and experience to deliver a balanced, affordable plan that can win the approval of British Columbians all across the province. We also need leader who is committed to providing British Columbians with a government they can afford, that does not mortgage our children’s future. Andrew Wilkinson is the leader I am counting on to hold true to our free-enterprise values and balanced budgets while delivering better services to British Columbians.
Andrew is a leader who will stick to our BC Liberal principles that led to 16 straight successful years in government. I’m proud to support Andrew as a leader for all of B.C.