Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Green Factor Explains Disappearance of Big-Ticket Promises in B.C. Budget: James

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Green Factor Explains Disappearance of Big-Ticket Promises in B.C. Budget: James

Article excerpt

Green factor plays part in B.C. budget

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VICTORIA - British Columbia's three-member Green party was a factor behind the absence of big-ticket election promises in the minority NDP government's first budget update, Finance Minister Carole James says.

James said universal child care and a comprehensive housing strategy will anchor her next budget in February, but not before a period of consultation with the Greens, interest groups and organizations.

The NDP and Greens reached an agreement to combine their seat totals in the 87-seat legislature to defeat the Liberals in a non-confidence vote after B.C.'s spring election did not produce a clear winner. The agreement also sees the Greens support the NDP minority in confidence votes in the legislature.

The NDP's election promises included a $10-a-day child care program for families struggling to find affordable, accessible, quality daycare. The party also pledged to offer renters annual rebate cheques of $400 to offset high rents in much of the province.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said the Greens support free daycare for families of children under age three and will suggest universal child care should not be stuck on the $10 number highlighted during the election campaign.

"Our position was why $10? Why not $15. Why not free?"

Weaver said his party also believes the $400 renter rebate could be spread more widely to help people in need.

"We share the same value that we need to give renters a break," he said, suggesting that giving a rebate to all renters and creating the bureaucracy to deliver it may not be the best way to go. …

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