NDP blasts B.C. budget update

Deteriorating financial results make it even less likely B.C. Liberals can balance budget, finance critic Mike Farnworth says.

NDP finance critic Mike Farnworth

VICTORIA – NDP finance critic Mike Farnworth blasted the B.C. government’s budget update Thursday, pointing to deteriorating financial conditions that make it even less likely the promised surplus will materialize by next spring.

“Economic growth is down. It was forecast at 1.6 per cent. Now it’s down to 1.4 per cent,” Farnworth told the legislature. “Retail sales are down … Housing starts are down 13 per cent. People are leaving B.C. for Alberta and other stronger economies. That’s nine straight quarters where more people have left than arrived.”

Speaking to reporters after the budget speech, Farnworth focused on Wednesday’s throne speech commitment to launch a 10-year skills training initiative.

“The Business Council of B.C., back in 2002, identified skills training as one of the critical issues facing British Columbia, and here we are, 10 years later, talking about it in the throne speech,” Farnworth said. “But when you go to the budget, what do you see? A $45 million cut, the same cut that was there before February, and 5,300 fewer spaces for the kids of British Columbia to be able to get into over the next four years.”