Last week the BC Liberal government delivered a Throne Speech chock full of progressive policies—a ban on corporate and union donations, a poverty reduction plan, and action on childcare, housing, transit, and more.
The Throne Speech represents a major departure from the austerity British Columbians have experienced over the past 16 years. It is disturbing that the provincial government would introduce these important policies only as a last ditch effort to avoid losing power. But equally disturbing is the narrative we’re hearing from many mainstream media commenters—namely, that the BC Liberals have embarked on a “reckless” and “massive spending spree.”
In other words, we’re back to the stale old argument that we can’t afford the British Columbia we want. As my colleague Alex Hemingway notes in his latest article on Policy Note, alarmist claims about public spending and taxes are likely to get even louder if the NDP and Greens form government.
We got a taste of what’s to come when the Fraser Institute published a report arguing that the NDP-Green agreement will mean major tax increases for “average” families. CCPA-BC economist Iglika Ivanova thoroughly debunked those ridiculous claims.
And as fellow economist Marc Lee shows in his latest Policy Note piece, BC has plenty of fiscal room to make substantial new investments in government programs and services. In fact, as Alex Hemingway documents, there’s been a steep drop in public spending compared to the size of BC’s economy since 2001.
So let’s not echo the narrative that the BC government is on a “spending spree.” Doing so reinforces larger false ideas about the viability of progressive policies.
More of these arguments are coming, and we need to be ready to push back. An important part of our role at the CCPA-BC is to debunk myths like these, but we can’t be effective without you.
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