British Columbia’s three main political parties are sparring at full force Saturday — the last recommended day to send mail-in ballots. There is just one week left to go until election day on Oct. 24.
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan kicked off the day in Kamloops with more details about his party’s 10-year cancer plan.
Horgan, who reminded the crowd that he is a cancer survivor, said the party has committed $450 million over three years to help fight the disease.
“What defines us as Canadians and British Columbians is access to universal health care,” Horgan said. “Our public health care system is critical.”
Both the NDP and the Liberals have already made healthcare commitments in Kamloops this campaign. The NDP promised a new cancer treatment centre there, while the B.C. Liberals promised $5 million in funding for cancer treatment.
Horgan took the opportunity to slam the Liberals for what he said were 16 years of cuts in the health care sector. He also reiterated his promise to hire 7,000 new care aids for long-term care homes.
When asked why he hadn’t travelled to Kamloops in the past two years, Horgan said he hadn’t been able to because being in a minority government placed more demands on him to be in the capital region.
Wilkinson criticized for role in mill closure
Shortly after the Horgan announcement, NDP candidates Nathan Cullen and Jen Rice held a press conference to roast B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson over his role in the closure of a pulp mill in Prince Rupert.
They said Wilkinson facilitated the sale of the mill to Sun Wave Forest Products when he was deputy minister of economic development between 2005 and 2006, and then represented the company when it sued Prince Rupert between 2010 and 2012.
“The legal fight between Sun Wave and Prince Rupert cost the city millions in legal fees and hampered the local economy as the court battle dragged on for years,” the NPD said in a written statement.
Liberals address forestry on Vancouver Island
Midmorning, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson spoke from Campbell River, where he reminded the crowd that he had worked as a doctor there for three years in the ’80s.
“People here are just asking for some basic respect,” Wilkinson said about the embattled forestry sector.
He said Horgan “did nothing to step up and get workers back on the job and provide stability for families” during forestry sector strikes in the region.
“There’s a very strong sense here of being fed up with the NDP, we can address that because we’re proud of forestry,” Wilkinson said.
The Liberals have promised to review stumpage fees and work with the federal government to resolve the ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the U.S.
The B.C. Greens are scheduled to speak later today at 12:30 p.m. PT, when leader Sonia Furstenau will be in Victoria to unveil her party’s plan for sustainable forestry.