B.C. Liberals target the NDP and unions at party convention


Premier Christy Clark wound up the B.C. Liberal Party convention Saturday with a combative speech that blasted the NDP for their economic and energy policies.

After recounting her government’s job creation efforts and labour agreements with teachers, doctors and other employees, Clark accused the NDP of a list of sins, including a possible moratorium on natural gas development in northern B.C.

The NDP would also “jack up personal and business taxes” and take away the secret ballot for union certifications, Clark told more than 800 cheering delegates at the Chateau Whistler hotel.

NDP MLA Shane Simpson has acknowledged the party is considering labour law changes including union certification rules, but no decision has been announced. And NDP leader Adrian Dix has repeatedly stressed that corporate tax rates would only be raised two per cent if he wins the election next May.

Pressed on his intentions for personal income tax increases in a radio interview last week, Dix said he would consider a small increase for people with annual incomes of $150,000 or more.

Clark’s suggestion that the NDP might put a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas drew a quick response from NDP energy critic John Horgan, who set out the party policy a year ago.

“We will be looking at the scientific impacts but we support the process,” Horgan said. “There’s not going to be any moratorium.”

Taking questions after the speech, Clark declined to comment on resolutions endorsed by delegates to ban use of mandatory union dues for political activities, and to force disclosure of union spending on salaries and lobbying.

NDP MLA Maurine Karagianis said the B.C. Liberals want to silence unions in political debates, while allowing their “corporate buddies” to spend as much as they want on campaigns.

Horgan said the NDP’s election platform will reiterate the party’s position that both business and union donations to political parties should be banned, as they have been for federal parties.

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