OPINION: B.C. government is investing in an affordable future for everyone

Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton (BC Liberal) explains how the provincial government is helping make B.C. more affordable.

Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton (second from right) is joined by Alpha Aviation Chairman Fred Kaiser

People in Delta work hard. Our job in government is twofold: invest in the services that people depend on, and to leave as much money as possible where it will do you the most good – in your pocket.

That’s why we have a plan to put British Columbians first. It starts with a strong, growing, and diverse economy, saying yes to economic development and the jobs it creates, and controlling government spending.

That’s how we can afford to look after the people we love.

Let’s start with the basics. Thanks to hardworking British Columbians, we’ve had four straight balanced budgets, with a fifth coming next spring. We’re on track to eliminate our operating debt, which is important, because it means we’re not borrowing (and then paying interest) to pay for basic services. That’s why we’re able to maintain the lowest income taxes in Canada.

Is it working? The numbers speak for themselves. British Columbia is first in Canada in economic growth, first in job creation, and has the lowest unemployment.

Because we’ve worked so hard to build a solid foundation, we’re in a position to make investments that put British Columbians first.

We introduced a variety of measures to keep housing within the reach of the middle class, such as eliminating the property transfer tax for new construction under $750,000. In just over six months, over 5,000 British Columbians have taken advantage, saving thousands of dollars. To protect consumers, we ended self-regulation of the real estate industry. And to keep the market from becoming distorted by foreign demand, we introduced an additional 15 per cent transfer tax on purchases by non-Canadians.

We are also helping single parent families secure employment by paying for up to 12 months of work training, continued financial support while you are undergoing that training, and child care and travel costs during that training.

We’ve also made record investments in health, education, and infrastructure projects, like the George Massey Tunnel replacement project, which will ease congestion across the Fraser River, and the Site C dam, which will provide clean, affordable energy for 100 years – and has already created 1,500 jobs.

And despite the cost pressures of making more investments in clean power, with our 10 year rates plan, British Columbia enjoys the third lowest residential electricity rates in North America.

The NDP’s proposal is to say no to jobs and projects across British Columbia while at the same time proposing to spend more tax dollars at every turn. Reckless spending combined with no economic growth starts a vicious cycle of spending more, then taxing more, sliding further and further into debt. That does not help family affordability.

Instead, let’s keep working to grow the economy – and make investments that will benefit all of us.

Scott Hamilton is the BC Liberal MLA for Delta North and Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.