I’m very proud of our government’s third budget delivered last week. It’s building on the strong foundation of last year’s budget and will truly make life better for people in North Island.
It’s hard to pick and choose which items to write about but some of the highlights include: the elimination of Medical Services Plan premiums; the introduction of the BC Child Opportunity benefit for families with children younger than 18; and the continued roll out of our 30 point housing plan which is bringing homes to people in our communities.
We’re continuing to create a bigger, much more affordable child care system for our province. Not only families, all BCers will benefit from the increased number of spaces and reduced costs. A sustainable child care system is both important social policy and good for the economy. Business often cites the lack of affordable childcare has a problem that, in particular, prevents many women from re-entering the workforce.
BC’s economy is doing well and we’re continuing to encourage businesses large and small: the small business corporate income tax rate has been cut by 20 percent, and we’re eliminating PST on non-residential electricity which will help industry. We are facing a massive skills shortage which we are addressing in part through our Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). When we are building provincial infrastructure, the CBA will require apprenticeships be provided, local workers be hired and will enable those who often don’t have easy access to construction jobs – particularly women and Indigenous people – to get work. These initiatives will increase our workforce.
I’m pleased that primary health care remains a focus as it works well for North Island communities resulting in less travel to big centres for care. However we also are making significant investments in other aspects of the health system; for example, we’ve seen a massive increase in MRI exams and that will continue. Meanwhile through the expansion of Fair PharmaCare more than 240,000 families will find their prescriptions become cheaper.
North Island residents also will see benefits from CleanBC, our climate action plan. We’re going to provide assistance for retrofits, such as upgrading windows and doors and taking other measures to improve insulation. And there will be a subsidy to lower the cost of switching to new, more cost-efficient home heating systems.
Our region also will benefit from the $10 million investment to support the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization. One of the key goals is to rebuild secondary processing so BC logs can create BC jobs. We want to restore public confidence in the management of our public resource.
I’m proud that as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, we’ve been able to keep ferry fares frozen after we rolled them back last year; that includes free seniors travel from Monday to Thursday. I’m also very pleased that we’re going to be restoring ferry services cut by the previous government five years ago. And, stay tuned, there will be more happening on the ferry file in the weeks and months to come.
We’re in the Legislature for another week then I’ll be back in the constituency. Plans are for visits to the ‘’real” North Island as well as Gold River. And when not on the road I’ll be in Campbell River.
As always I can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 250 287 5100 in Campbell River or 250 949 9473 in Port Hardy. You can find me on Facebook or follow me @clairetrevena on Twitter.