Jobs, education are feature issues on British Columbia campaign trail
NDP Leader John Horgan addresses supporters during an election campaign kickoff rally in Surrey, B.C., on Sunday April 9, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Laura Kane, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017 2:36PM EDT
VANCOUVER -- New Democrat Leader John Horgan says he's not worried about Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals attacking the economics of his campaign platform, which contains big promises including $10-a-day child care and eliminating bridge tolls.
The Liberals' Michael de Jong, the finance minister in Clark's government, is set to offer a "detailed update" on the costing of the NDP platform.
But Horgan says his numbers are solid and based on Ministry of Finance numbers tabled in February.
He campaigned Wednesday at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he promoted his plan to eliminate interest on student loans and offer a $1,000 completion grant to people who finish their studies.
Horgan says if his party is elected May 9, it will also eliminate fees for adult basic education and English as a second language programs while maintaining a cap on tuition fees at colleges and universities.
"I'm going to make sure that students don't have crippling debt when they finish their education and that they can be full participants in the economy and make B.C. better," he said.
Only about 48 per cent of registered voters aged 18 to 24 cast a ballot in 2013, but some campus groups are trying to boost turnout this time, including a group called Young Climate Voters that is urging students to elect climate leaders.
Clark campaigned in the Vancouver area as well, telling an event in Surrey with Liberal candidates that the Site C dam is necessary for the province's economic well being.
It was the second straight day that Clark highlighted the $8.8-billion hydroelectric project after she visited Fort St. John on Tuesday to tout construction jobs it has created.
"Today in British Columbia we are leading the country in job creation, we are leading the country in economic growth," said Clark, who was wearing a blue hard hat.
She accused the NDP of releasing a platform that will cost billions, with no way to pay for it.
"Their platform creates not a hole in our budget, it is a crater, a giant, smoking crater of a hole to the tune of billions of dollars that they are going to fill with your money in the form of new taxes," she said.
Green Leader Andrew Weaver is campaigning in Kamloops on Wednesday afternoon, a day after the party missed its mark of running a candidate in all 87 provincial ridings.
Party spokesman Stefan Jonsson says the Greens had 80 candidates officially approved by Elections BC ahead of a Tuesday afternoon registration deadline and were waiting to hear back on the eligibility of up to three more. A final list had not been published by Elections BC by late Wednesday morning.
Jonsson said the party is proud of the candidates who have put their names forward, and excited that most ridings across the province will include a Green candidate.
When the legislature was dissolved earlier this month, the Liberals held 47 seats, the NDP had 35 and there were three Independents, including Weaver. After redistribution, there are 87 seats up for grabs in this election.