B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson at his legislature office, Oct. 4, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

VIDEO: Spending, ICBC, vaping on agenda as B.C. legislature resumes

Real estate market ‘in a tailspin,’ Andrew Wilkinson says

The B.C. legislature resumes sitting Monday, and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has a long list of problems he wants Premier John Horgan to deal with.

The province’s financial state is high on the list, with a slump in the forest industry, real estate revenues falling and the NDP government cutting $300 million from ministry budgets as its surplus dwindles away.

“They’ve sent the real estate sector into a tailspin, so their revenue from property transfer tax is dropping like a stone,” Wilkinson told Black Press in an interview. “I’ve talked recently with people from Fernie, from Revelstoke, from Kelowna and of course Vancouver, who say they’re in a crisis. They can’t get housing built, the cost of housing is too high, young people can’t afford to live in BC any more to build up a life here, whether they’re renting or owning.”

Finance Minister Carole James has described her new speculation and vacancy tax as a needed cooling of an overheated market, including reduction of prices in urban markets of the Central Okanagan, the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island.

Wilkinson noted that young drivers are starting to feel the effect of Attorney General David Eby’s reforms to ICBC, as their rates jump to reflect their statistical risk. Facing billion-dollar deficits, soaring accident rates and legal costs, ICBC has capped minor injury claims and restructured rates to better reflect the risk of new drivers and those with crashes on their records.

Wilkinson calls for a different approach.

“I worked as an insurance defence lawyer,” he said. “This is a 45-year-old state monopoly that doesn’t work any more. So why are we defending something that’s never been used anywhere else in the world? It’s a dud.”

RELATED: ICBC boss responds to criticism it has failed to adapt

RELATED: B.C. speculation taxes faces its first legal challenge

Concerns about the increase in young people vaping is another pressing issue, which “seems to be completely ignored by the NDP for reasons that are hard to fathom,” said Wilkinson, who also worked as a medical doctor.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has suggested that a provincial licensing system for B.C. is one way to deal with unauthorized sale of nicotine vaping products to young people.

Wilkinson agrees with the NDP on one initiative, moving the province to daylight saving time year-round. He said the East Kootenay and Peace region should be respected in their decision to stay on Mountain time because of economic ties with Alberta. Boundary-Similkameen B.C. Liberal MLA Linda Larson presented a private member’s bill in the legislature last spring calling for the change.

Horgan has pushed for a switch to year-round daylight in cooperation with western U.S. states. He acknowledges that the change will not take effect in time for this year’s “fall back” to standard time in November, but is hopeful that the 2020 “spring forward” will be the last one for most of B.C.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

COVID-19: Quesnel’s Billy Barker Days Festival will happen but may be delayed and look different

‘It will be something different than it has been in other years,’ say organizers

COVID-19: Quesnel RCMP adjusts workers’ hours at the detachment

Police are also encouraging online reporting

B.C. Wildfire Service will expand its operations at Quesnel Airport

A new lease agreement with the City of Quesnel will allow BCWS to house additional crews at airport

COVID-19: Signs of the times

Hearts for frontline workers and social distancing reminders around Quesnel

COVID-19: Quesnel considers its most vulnerable

City in contact with the shelter and B.C. Housing to ensure well-being of homeless during pandemic

‘We don’t need this right now’: B.C. man breaks up road rage incident

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road in Saanich on Vancouver Island

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Most Read