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April 20, 2017

NDP Campaign Co-Chair Carole James Admissions, Errors, Half-Truths in her April 19 Press Conference



Today’s BC Liberals Vancouver-Quilchena Candidate Andrew Wilkinson released the following analysis of Carole James NDP platform defense press conference on April 19, 2017.

“It is clear from the NDP platform co-chair’s press conference yesterday that she does not understand the impact of the platform on taxpayers,” said Wilkinson. “John Horgan has a multi-billion-dollar hole in his platform that will result in higher taxes, bigger debt and more interest being paid to bankers.”

Carole James on the NDP Platform being costed

“In fact (the platform) is completely costed.”

Wrong. There is a $6.464 billion-dollar gap between what has been promised and what has been accounted for including MSP, Hydro Rate Freezes, Ferry Rate Freezes, ICBC Rate Freezes, added interest costs from massive capital spending…the list goes on and on.

The NDP claim that we have miscalculated their ICBC and Hydro Rate increases, which we disagree with as they have said that they will “end the ICBC rate hike” and “freeze Hydro rates.”

Even if you believe them that ICBC is for 1 year, and Hydro is for 2, that would still end up with a spending crater of $3.906 billion and a total 4-year deficit of $6.534 billion when adding in the other unaffordable spending increases.

Carole James on eliminating MSP:

“We’re not creating something brand new… (we will switch) over to a progressive tax system…”

That’s not what the NDP said in their platform.

The NDP platform promise was to “eliminate MSP fees and make sure low and middle-class families come out ahead.” It also said, “A non-partisan MSP Elimination Panel will advise on how to protect health care funding while phasing out that unfair flat tax.”

Nowhere in the platform do the NDP mention that they will not actually eliminate MSP – that instead they are going to switch it into the tax system.

Far from saving families up to $1800, their move may cost families more as they try to fill a $1.749 billion-dollar hole in their platform.

Carole James on raising the debt-to-GDP ratio

“In fact, it raises the debt-to-GDP ratio by one percent at the end of the five years.”

Wrong. Right off the bat, this year, the taxpayer supported debt to GDP ratio goes from 15.9 percent to 18.2 percent. Ultimately, the Debt-to-GDP will rise over 20 percent in year 4.

Carole James didn’t include the debt increases from their housing promise, bringing BC Ferries back into government, and bringing the Port Mann Bridge back into government, all of which are on top of their massive $1.4 billion reckless capital spending plan.

Carole James on tolls:

“Why would the people south of the Fraser be the only ones to pay a toll? We’re going to determine a strategy to build the alternatives so that there’s fairness.”

That’s not a commitment to eliminate tolls. It’s a commitment to charge everyone more tolls across the entire Metro Vancouver region.

Carole James on the Port Mann Bridge

“So from our perspective, we will deal with the debt as we’ll deal with the debt on every other government project.”

Essentially she admits that the Port Mann Bridge would be returned to government. That move alone blows the debt-to-GDP and Debt-to-Revenue ratio that would lead to a credit downgrade.

Carole James on added interest charges from moving the Port Mann Bridge into government:

“Again, we’re gonna take that debt and we’re gonna pay it down just as you do with any other debt…”

That is an admission that the additional $532 million in interest costs over the term of their government is going to be paid by government. This is not costed in their platform.

Carole James on BC Hydro Rate Freeze

“We’ve set a two-year rate freeze.”

Wrong. In fact, the NDP platform says that they will “Freeze BC Hydro rates” and are silent about when the freeze would come off.

Even if we accept that, the current BC Hydro rate plan calls for revenue growth of $132 million in 2017/18 and 2018/19—this is not costed in the NDP platform.

Carole James on costing for recreational facilities:

“Well, you know he has announced a fund for recreational facilities. That’s part of the capital plan.”

Carole James was Finance Critic for 2 years and doesn’t know the difference between operating and capital funds. Government can only spend capital money on the things they own—they need to spend operating funds to build things government doesn’t own.

The $30 million John Horgan promised for his recreation fund cannot be funded out of his capital plan. It must come out of a Ministry budget and therefore is uncosted.

Carole James on ICBC rate hike

“We’re certainly not going to implement the 42 percent increase and that’s…why we are holding the line on that 42 percent.”

The NDP platform says they will “stop the 42 percent ICBC rate increase” without any mention of what they would implement. At the very minimum, a one-year rate freeze will cost the company $259 million in 2017/18 and is not costed in the platform.

Carole James on the Balanced Budget

“In fact we have a balanced budget over the three-year cycle…”

Er, no you don’t. At a bare minimum, there is a $3.906 billion hole in the NDP budget, and a $6.534 billion deficit.

Just because you say you have a balanced budget, doesn’t make it true. See Budget 1996.