B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson at his legislature office, Oct. 4, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

VIDEO: Spending, ICBC, vaping on agenda as B.C. legislature resumes

Real estate market ‘in a tailspin,’ Andrew Wilkinson says

The B.C. legislature resumes sitting Monday, and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has a long list of problems he wants Premier John Horgan to deal with.

The province’s financial state is high on the list, with a slump in the forest industry, real estate revenues falling and the NDP government cutting $300 million from ministry budgets as its surplus dwindles away.

“They’ve sent the real estate sector into a tailspin, so their revenue from property transfer tax is dropping like a stone,” Wilkinson told Black Press in an interview. “I’ve talked recently with people from Fernie, from Revelstoke, from Kelowna and of course Vancouver, who say they’re in a crisis. They can’t get housing built, the cost of housing is too high, young people can’t afford to live in BC any more to build up a life here, whether they’re renting or owning.”

Finance Minister Carole James has described her new speculation and vacancy tax as a needed cooling of an overheated market, including reduction of prices in urban markets of the Central Okanagan, the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island.

Wilkinson noted that young drivers are starting to feel the effect of Attorney General David Eby’s reforms to ICBC, as their rates jump to reflect their statistical risk. Facing billion-dollar deficits, soaring accident rates and legal costs, ICBC has capped minor injury claims and restructured rates to better reflect the risk of new drivers and those with crashes on their records.

Wilkinson calls for a different approach.

“I worked as an insurance defence lawyer,” he said. “This is a 45-year-old state monopoly that doesn’t work any more. So why are we defending something that’s never been used anywhere else in the world? It’s a dud.”

RELATED: ICBC boss responds to criticism it has failed to adapt

RELATED: B.C. speculation taxes faces its first legal challenge

Concerns about the increase in young people vaping is another pressing issue, which “seems to be completely ignored by the NDP for reasons that are hard to fathom,” said Wilkinson, who also worked as a medical doctor.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has suggested that a provincial licensing system for B.C. is one way to deal with unauthorized sale of nicotine vaping products to young people.

Wilkinson agrees with the NDP on one initiative, moving the province to daylight saving time year-round. He said the East Kootenay and Peace region should be respected in their decision to stay on Mountain time because of economic ties with Alberta. Boundary-Similkameen B.C. Liberal MLA Linda Larson presented a private member’s bill in the legislature last spring calling for the change.

Horgan has pushed for a switch to year-round daylight in cooperation with western U.S. states. He acknowledges that the change will not take effect in time for this year’s “fall back” to standard time in November, but is hopeful that the 2020 “spring forward” will be the last one for most of B.C.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Design work for seismic upgrade of John Hart Dam continues

BC Hydro’s planned seismic upgrades to the John Hart Dam are targeted… Continue reading

Residents escape fire in Campbell River mobile home

CR Firefighters respond to mobile home fire this morning. No injuries reported.… Continue reading

Where’s the line between furniture and art?

Local timber framer Chris Zumkeller makes foray into the world of fine art with wood creations

Future of Campbell River Sportsplex will go to public consultation

‘We have buckets on the floor to catch the leaks in the roof. That’s unpalatable to me’

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

Most Read