BC Premier David Eby marks 100 days in office with new affordability credit
David Eby on Saturday marked his 100-day tenure as BC Prime Minister by announcing another round of cost-of-living support for British Columbia residents this spring.
The BC NDP chairman said another BC Affordability Credit will be granted to about 85 percent of people in the province, particularly those in lower- and middle-income brackets — similar to the tax credit that was issued in January.
According to Eby, the next round will be deposited as early as April 5 and will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
“We know families are still struggling, especially as food prices continue to rise,” Eby said.
“This credit brings up to $164 per adult and $41 per child, up to $410 for a family with two children.”
Eby admitted the loan won’t cover “all the bills” but he believes it will take some of the pressure off families who need it most.
The prime minister, who was sworn in last November, summarized what he has achieved so far and set goals for the rest of his term in a speech on Saturday.
As the province is set to present its new budget on Tuesday, Eby said his government will continue to invest in health care, including mental health and addiction treatment, as well as housing and affordability.
Earlier this week, he launched a new 10-year plan to improve cancer care across BC and said his government is responding to increased demand as more people are diagnosed after delaying routine screening during the COVID-19 pandemic have.
Eby also introduced measures to bring more health workers to BC, along with an updated housing plan and a strategy to create safer communities.
“To see some of the remarkable potential our province has ahead of us, we must take action today to address our greatest challenges,” he said.
“Over the next 18 months, my team and I will work hard to improve life for you and your families in ways you can see and feel in your lives and in your communities.”
Budget will set the table: political scientist
Stewart Prest, who has a PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia and teaches at Quest University in Squamish, expects Tuesday’s budget to set the BC NDP’s priorities ahead of the upcoming 2024 provincial election.
“I think we’re going to get a pretty clear indication of where this government thinks it can make a real difference over the next 18 months,” he said in an interview.
“We’ve seen a few different types of policy innovations in the form of housing changes, changes in healthcare spending, and making room for additional spending.”
According to Perst, the money the government has freed up in various areas could be diverted to social housing, non-governmental organizations looking to build rental housing, additional financial incentives for healthcare workers and treatment facilities for mental health and addiction.
He adds that under Eby’s leadership nearly $5 billion has already been spent, much of which has been distributed through one-off grants, that it will be important for BC’s NDP to be transparent about how the money is being spent .
“They really need to be able to show they can offer value for money and take on that responsibility,” he said.
“These are other questions that may not be answered in the budget, on budget day, but will definitely be asked in the coming months.”