WATCH: Critics react to what was – and was not – mentioned in Tuesday’s throne speech. Calvin To reports.
During the last election campaign, the NDP made two promises that were not mentioned in this week’s throne speech. These were a $10-a-day child care and a $400-a-year renters’ rebate.
On Wednesday, the opposition said British Columbians deserve better.
“The $10-a-day daycare was a fundamental piece of the platform for the NDP and they can’t even bring themselves to say it anymore,” said Michelle Stillwell, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. She also referred to the lack of mention of the renter’s rebate as “another broken promise.”
During the throne speech, the NDP announced a “substantial investment” in child care, including moves to convert unlicensed spaces to licensed ones and increase training for early childhood educators.
The provincial government has not committed to including a $10-a-day child care in next week’s budget.
“Families will see immediate affordability relief right away and I’m really excited to roll out more details next week,” said Katrina Chen, minister of state for child care.
Still, child care advocates are optimistic about the government’s plans.
“The fact that the $10-a-day branding wasn’t used is less important than the fact that they committed to dealing with affordability, to dealing with accessibility and for investing in the ECE workforce,” said Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.
The NDP, however, did say it’s still committed to its promise of a renter’s rebate, even if it doesn’t happen right away.
“There are absolutely pieces of it you’re going to be seeing around supporting renters right now that are needing some help,” said Housing Minister Selina Robinson. “That will be definitely in the budget and there’s more work to come, we can’t do it all in one fell swoop.”
The B.C. Green Party says it’s pleased with the government’s overall direction on both fronts even if it doesn’t support the rent subsidy as it has been proposed.
“If you give every renter a fixed amount, economics 101 will tell you that all it does is raise rents by that equivalent amount,” party leader Andrew Weaver said. “What’s critical is the right people get the appropriate amount in a needs-based way and we’re very pleased with the direction this is going.”