John Horgan on the steps of the B.C. legislature. (Black Press)

OPINION: Putting people first and getting results

‘We’re going to keep working hard to make life better for people,’ writes Premier John Horgan

John Horgan | Premier of B.C.

Wherever I go, I meet people who have had to make difficult choices to help their family get ahead and thrive. Over the past decade British Columbians have struggled with rising costs and declining services, because of decisions that were made to benefit the few at the top.

Our government is making different choices and putting people first – and that’s starting to yield real benefits for people.

RELATED: B.C. government Throne Speech puts focus on housing, child care, affordability

Last fall, we announced the first phases of our universal child care policy through a $10-a-day pilot program.

I was in a room with a group of parents when it was first announced, and the look on their faces was something I will never forget. The relief and joy they felt is something I want for every family in this province.

That’s why we’re working to reducing costs and fees across the board, so that you have more money in your pocket to pay for necessities, or to save for the future.

We’re tackling the housing crisis, providing more affordable childcare for more families, and making sure quality public services like health care and education are delivered in every community.

And we’re working to build a strong, sustainable economy that works for people and creates opportunities now, while meeting the challenges of tomorrow.

People are beginning to see the results of this work in their daily lives. MSP premiums have been cut in half, saving families up to $900 per year. MSP is disappearing entirely on Jan. 1, 2020, making this the biggest middle-class tax cut in B.C. history.

Parents are saving up to $15,000 per year per child through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which is available to all families in B.C. earning up to $111,000 per year. We’re also reducing fees for parents of kids in licensed care – up to $350 per month, $4,200 per year, for more than 52,000 child care spaces.

For B.C. patients waiting for MRIs, we are delivering 37,000 more MRIs this year than last. In addition to funding for more MRIs, machines are being used more efficiently resulting in more than 800 additional MRI operating hours per week around the province.

People are getting the care they need through urgent primary care centres that have opened in Surrey, Langford, Kamloops, Quesnel and Vancouver and five more centres – one in each health region, including one recently announced in Nanaimo – will open by spring 2019. Since opening, the new Urgent Primary Care Centres have had nearly 20,000 patient visits.

We’re also working to deliver a better, more affordable ferry service that people in coastal communities can count on. We’ve frozen fares on major routes, cut fares by 15 per cent on smaller and northern routes, added more round trips per year, and seniors travel free Monday through Thursday.

New classrooms for thousands of students are underway throughout B.C., including new and expanded schools in growing communities to help move kids out of portables and into classrooms.

To make sure people have access to the rental housing they need, 17,000 new affordable housing units are underway for families, heading towards a total of 114,000 over 10 years. And we can see the housing market beginning to moderate.

RELATED: Premier John Horgan calls for high-tech investment

To address the skills shortage, and make sure people have access to the training they need, we’re boosting apprenticeship opportunities and adding 2,900 tech-related post-secondary spaces.

It’s all part of building a better province and a prosperous economy that works for everyone, while opening up opportunities for people. And it’s only the beginning.

There is much more work to be done. We’re going to keep working hard to make life better for people, and build a brighter future for B.C.

•••

John Horgan is the premier of B.C. and the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca.

Just Posted

Village Block Party returns to Cook Street

Sunday’s event brings vendors, entertainment and coveted dog race to Victoria’s Cook Street

BC Transit offers high school grads free bus rides

2019 grads can choose two days in June to ride for free

Greater Victoria residents among the most credit-worthy Canadians

Yet debt levels continue to rise as Canadians owe $178 for every $100 earned

Thursday sees mix of sun and cloud, high of 22 C

Plus a look ahead at your weekend forecast

BC business offers ‘clean start’ for people with employment barriers

CleanStart BC is looks to expand its Victoria staff

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Most Read