New Democrat MLAs gathered in Kamloops Wednesday to continue crafting what they called a “modest” election agenda, while casting the governing Liberals as “big-time spenders.”
Leader Adrian Dix and most of the NDP caucus appeared in Kamloops for private meetings in addition to speaking with community leaders.
The touring Opposition caucus comes during what’s traditionally been a fall sitting of the legislature. Rather than spending time in the legislature, however, the B.C. Liberals have been churning out spending announcements.
In Kamloops alone the government has recently committed to a long-term four-laning of the Trans-Canada highway, $7.4-million to Thompson Rivers University and $6.3 million for the NorKam trades centre.
“On Monday, Wednesday and Friday they talk about austerity,” Dix told reporters. “On Tuesday and Thursday they spend like there’s no tomorrow.”
The spending comes as the Liberal government pledges to balance the budget before the May election next year.
Dix said Premier Christy Clark’s government “is in some respects emptying the treasury, just as the Social Credit did in 1991 – the last time the NDP came into office.”
Much of the NDP’s effort in Kamloops entailed work on the party’s election agenda, which Dix promised will be modest and fully budgeted, but the party is keeping those details under wraps.
“A big step today is to continue that platform development work,” said caucus leader Shane Simpson. Those include reducing inequality and boosting skills training.
“It’s about how we create the sustainable and dynamic economy we need in British Columbia.”
Dix contrasted the approach of the Clark government with that of her predecessor, Gordon Campbell.
“You knew where they were going from time to time. With the current government, the challenge is from week to week. The message changes and the policy changes.”