I’d like to say that there are some interesting things in the budget tabled in the Legislature this week, but I can’t bring myself to get excited because this budget will never be passed into law.
That’s the problem with pre-election budgets: we can’t know if they’re real or not because they don’t get debated, and governments know they won’t be held accountable to them. Basically, they must be treated as a political promise from a party that wants your vote in a couple of months.
That’s why I’ve joined with Independent MLAs Vicki Huntington and John van Dongen to call for the fixed election date to be changed to the fall, starting with the next election in 2017. We’d still go to the polls this spring, but moving the fixed election date to the fall for future contests will allow spring budgets to be fully debated and implemented. I introduced a Private Member’s Bill this week to change future election dates.
So far, the NDP, Green Party and BC Conservatives have supported our call to change the election date to the fall, and I hope the Liberals will support this legislation as well.
I do have to give the government some credit for their budget, because it admits that tax increases are necessary if we have any hope of balancing the books while continuing to provide robust public services. Realistically, however, there is no way the budget presented this week would balance our finances by the end of 2014. Now that the government has put their throne speech, budget, and election platform forward, the focus must turn to the man who wants to be our next premier: Opposition Leader Adrian Dix.
After a week of telling the media that the Liberal Party has lost the moral right to govern and ought to be voted out of office, the NDP now have no excuses — they must provide an alternative vision and budget for BC as soon as possible so voters can make an informed choice on May 14th. To view copies of the 2013 budget documents, visit www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2013.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.