VANCOUVER â€” A timeline of some of the key events in British Columbia’s election campaign:
April 10: On the eve of the election, the Liberals release an campaign platform containing $157 million in new spending over three years and promising a personal income tax freeze, as well as new tax credits for seniors and family members who care for them. The Liberals projected a surplus of $295 million in the 2017-18 budget released before the election.
April 11: The election begins. Linda Kayfish, the sister of a health researcher who was fired by the province in 2012 and later killed himself, accused Liberal Leader Christy Clark of being “callous and cynical” in her government’s response to a recent report by British Columbia’s Office of the Ombudsperson about the firings. Clark offers to repeat government apologies if it would give Kayfish some closure.
April 13: The NDP releases its platform, which includes $717 million in new spending for this fiscal year but forecasts a $108 million surplus for 2017-18 by generating new revenue and finding savings in government spending. The party’s promises include increasing the corporate tax rate by one point to 12 per cent, a speculation tax on out-of-province property owners, $10-a-day childcare and an annual $400 rebate for renters.
April 17: The Green party promises to overhaul the tax system to pay for spending on childcare, education, public health and the environment in its platform. Green Leader Andrew Weaver forecasts operating deficits in the second and third years of a four-year mandate with a $216-million surplus in the final fiscal year.
April 19: Michael de Jong, the finance minister in Clark’s government, says a Liberal analysis of the NDP platform reveals $6.5 billion in costs that have not been accounted for. Carole James, the NDP’s finance critic, calls the Liberal accusations “fearmongering.”
April 20: Clark touches NDP Leader John Horgan on the arm during a radio debate and tells him to calm down. “Don’t touch me again, please,” Horgan replies.
April 24: Facing questions about donations to her party from forestry company Weyerhaeuser, Clark says she isn’t compromised because she doesn’t defend American demands for tariffs on Canadian softwood. She accuses Horgan of “cozying up” to the United Steelworkers Union because it’s paying the salaries of some NDP campaign staff.
April 25: If he’s elected premier, Horgan says he would travel to Washington, D.C., within 30 days to meet U.S. representatives on a new softwood deal after the Americans announce duties on Canadian exports.
April 26: The moderator in the TV debate asks Horgan if he has anger-management issues, which he denies, adding he gets angry when he sees government inaction on a range of issues from underfunding of schools to a lack of support for children in care that has resulted in suicide. Clark is asked about a stipend she once collected from the Liberal party on top of her salary as premier and political donations that have led to a police investigation of B.C.’s political parties. She deflects the question on trust, partly by discussing her economic record.
April 26: Clark reacts to the softwood duties by calling on Ottawa to ban the shipment of thermal coal through British Columbia, a move that would hurt producers south of the border.
April 28: Clark ratchets up the pressure in the trade dispute over softwood, saying if Ottawa doesn’t ban thermal coal she will act on her own. Horgan says Clark has not addressed thermal coal as premier, but now there’s an election campaign she’s making “provocative” statements.
May 2: Clark promises a hefty $70-per-tonne carbon tax on U.S. thermal coal to make it uncompetitive in the global market.
May 3: The Liberals say they “stand corrected” on claims the NDP planted a woman at a campaign event to confront Clark. The encounter days earlier generates a buzz on social media as the hashtag #IamLinda became a rallying point on Twitter for those opposed the Liberal government.
May 5: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells Clark in a letter that he’s seriously considering her request for a ban on exports of U.S. thermal coal and that federal trade officials are examining it.
The Canadian Press