B.C. Premier David Eby marks 100 days in office with new affordability credit
David Eby marked 100 days in office as B.C. Premier on Saturday by announcing another round of cost-of-living support for British Columbians this spring.
The leader of the B.C. NDP said another B.C. Affordability Credit will be given to roughly 85 per cent of people in the province, specifically people in lower and middle-income brackets — similar to the tax credit that went out in January.
Eby says the next round will be deposited as early as April 5 and administered through the Canada Revenue Agency.
"We know that families are still struggling, especially as the cost of food continues to rise," Eby said.
"This credit will provide as much as an additional $164 per adult and $41 per child, up to $410 for a family with two kids."
Eby acknowledged the credit won't cover "all the bills" but he believes it will take some of the pressure off of families who need it the most.
The premier, who was sworn in last November, recapped what he's accomplished so far and set goals for the rest of his term in a speech on Saturday.
As the province gets set to table 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 throughout B.C., saying his government was responding to increased demand as more people get diagnosed after putting off routine screening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eby also introduced measures to bring more health-care workers to B.C., along with a refreshed housing plan and a strategy to create safer communities.
"To see some of the remarkable potential that our province has in front of us we have to take action today to deal with our biggest challenges," he said.
"Over the next 18 months, my team and I will work hard to make life better for you and for your families in ways that you will be able to 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, says he expects Tuesday's budget will lay out the B.C. NDP's priorities ahead of the upcoming provincial election in 2024.
"I think we're going to get a pretty clear indication of where this government feels it can make a real difference in the next 18 months," he said in an interview.
"We've seen some different kinds of policy innovations in the form of housing changes, changes to health-care spending, creating space for additional money to be spent."
Prest says the money the government has freed up in different areas could be re-directed toward social housing, non-governmental organizations looking to build rental properties, additional financial incentives for health-care workers, and treatment facilities for mental health and addictions.
He adds that with close to $5 billion having already been spent under Eby's leadership, a large portion of which was handed out through one-time grants, it will be important for the B.C. NDP to be transparent about how the money is spent.
"They're going to have to really be able to show ... that they can provide value for money and provide that accountability," he said.
"Those are other questions that may not be answered in the budget, on budget day, but are definitely going to be asked in the coming months."