Column: Have you seen Adrian Dix's plan?
By Ralph Sultan, MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano
July 12, 2012
What does Adrian Dix have to hide? That’s a question that concerned British Columbians should be asking themselves with the news that Adrian Dix confirmed that he and his party will not release their plan for British Columbia until February 2013, just weeks away from a provincial campaign.
Interns at our BC Liberal Party office recently launched a social media campaign drawing attention to this very issue: what is Adrian Dix’s plan? These young volunteers set out, symbolically, to scour the province -- from atop Mt. Robson to the shores of Cape Scott, searching for the plan that Adrian Dix and his NDP prepared for British Columbia (but never released) a few months ago.
In the fall of 2011, Adrian went on record as saying he had done his homework and prepared a fully-costed plan for British Columbia. There had been talk of a possible election, but the election was called off. The NDP plan vanished into thin air. Perhaps Dix buried the plan deep in a borehole with other radioactive waste? Perhaps it's on a rocket bound for outer space?
Now that Dix has confirmed he won't release his plan until the eve of the election, these young BC Liberals need your help in uncovering the NDP plan. British Columbians need time to sufficiently scrutinize this plan so that its impacts can be fully understood.
What plan does the NDP have in mind for B.C.? Whose taxes would they increase? What deals will they cut with their allies? How much more debt can British Columbians expect to absorb?
About five months ago, MLA Mary Polak and I, with help from various “promise trackers” on staff, did our best to add up all of the spending promises the NDP has made over the past several years. It was a mixture of firm commitments, not-so-firm commitments, and broad hints. Whatever categorization you might choose, it added up to a lot of money – somewhere between $6 and $12 billion. Conservatively, let’s say the NDP promised in the range of a 15% spending hike across the board. This money would have to come from somewhere: higher taxes or higher debt, take your pick.
When one is in Opposition, spending promises come easily, as the NDP has repeatedly demonstrated. Actual governing requires fully-costed plans, balanced priorities, and tough, sometimes unpopular, choices.
Our BC Liberal Government is on realistic track to balance our budget. Our province’s AAA credit rating has been affirmed during a time of global economic chaos and credit downgrades all around us. On Christy Clark’s watch, our economy has created over 60,000 new jobs. Health, education, transportation, and social services spending are all higher than ever before, even while British Columbians pay taxes among the lowest of any jurisdiction. How many governments can match this achievement?
Meanwhile, Dix and the NDP have gone silent and explicitly promised they won’t release their plan. It seems clear they feel victory is theirs if they simply keep their mouths shut. But voters have the right to ask “Mr. Dix, show us the plan you have hidden away.” I suspect that once voters understand his intentions, enthusiasm for the NDP option will fade away.
- Ralph Sultan is MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano and former Chief Economist with The Royal Bank of Canada.