BC election underway after weeks of unofficial campaigning ends

The Port Mann Bridge

The Port Mann Bridge

He said Clark's Liberals are looking to turn attention away from last week's report by Ombudsman Jay Chalke into the government's flawed handling of an investigation that resulted in eight health workers being wrongly fired and one of the workers taking his own life.

These add to promises already announced, including capping bridge tolls at $500 a year and a tax break for people who live in ferry-dependent communities.

Nanaimo Liberal candidate Paris Gaudet said a respite tax credit of up to $2,500 for those caring for seniors or the disabled and doubling the Home Renovation Tax Credit were her two favourite aspects of the platform.

The Liberals say the toll cap would be applicable to personally registered vehicles that get a free TReO decal.

Weaver called the Liberals' Island platform "shocking" for its lack of vision and original proposals.

Other commitments include $15 million from hunting licence fees for a new wildlife society, $12 million for an quake early warning system for schools, hospitals and emergency command centres, a $10-million tax deduction for ferry users in ferry dependent communities, and $10 million to increase the value of charitable tax credits. "The opposition would replace our tax cuts with tax hikes ... and they would push B.C. Families to the brink". As seen in the 2013 provincial election and the 2015 federal campaign, the underlying strategy is to present the NDP as the best managers of the capitalist system, "ready to govern" without rocking the boat. "People care about being able to have a job", said Clark, whose party has been in power since 2001.

Clark also talked about steps the government has taken to address the housing crisis in Vancouver, including providing loans to first time buyers.

Ian Wright blasts Arsenal stars after Palace loss: 'At least I tried!'
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"We can afford to do it because the economy is growing", said Clark.

The platform included no promise to raise basic welfare rates, which have been frozen since 2007.

To boost jobs in Nanaimo, which is one of the more impoverished B.C. ridings, Gaudet said the Liberal's biggest focus is education.

"This election is about a choice", it said.

The formalities set the stage for a 28-day campaign and a bid by the BC Liberals for a fifth consecutive term in office.

Since the 2013 election, a few mass struggles have forced the government to pull back for tactical reasons, and the NDP caucus in Victoria has raised some important criticisms about the anti-people and environmentally destructive policies of the Clark Liberals.

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