OK, so we know what some of the problems are with the 2016 BC Budget. Economists have analyzed how empty it is of real measures to help British Columbians. But I’d also like to share a little bit about what it was like to sit and listen to the Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s Q & A with journalists. The thing that struck me most was what seemed like barely disguised contempt for anyone who questioned him, even the journalists, whose job it is to ask questions, awkward though that might be.
And then there were these bizarre moments:
- When the Minister introduced the $77 increase to monthly disability benefits and almost seemed embarrassed by the puny amount. Perhaps this explains his statement that the increase “won’t suddenly make life easier,” but that hopefully it “will make life a little less hard.” Apparently “easier” does not equal “less hard?”
- When he said that properties valued at less than $400K in Metro Vancouver were “likely” condos, and didn’t understand why journalists laughed.
- When he told Vancouver Sun reporter Tracy Sherlock that she was wrong about government revenue from MSP increasing, and he would walk her through the numbers later. Math is hard! (For the record, she was correct.)
- When he refused to define “affordable housing,” explaining to the impertinent journalist who asked the question that affordable means different things depending on your income.
- When he acknowledged the dilemma posed by the government profiting off the overheated housing market. He explained that it’s similar to the government profiting off the lottery: you want people to keep playing, but of course you want them to do it in a healthy way.
The BC Budget lockup: enough to make your head spin.
Topics: Provincial budget & finance