What people are saying about the B.C. budget

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government released its budget Tuesday promising to spend billions on pandemic economic recovery. Here is some of the reaction to the budget:

"Given the uncertainty around the pandemic it is difficult to forecast exactly when we can return to balance." — B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson.

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"Preliminary Ministry of Finance analysis suggests that this can happen in seven to nine years."

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"Frankly, what’s missing (here) are critical supports for the front-line workers that have gotten our province this far — like paid sick leave and mental health supports. Those are gaps that need to be filled for our province to come out of this pandemic." — Stephanie Smith, president of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union.

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"This government made big promises on climate change and old-growth and if they aren’t willing to adequately fund those commitments, they shouldn’t have made them." — Torrance Coste, national campaign director of the Wilderness Committee.

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"And B.C. continues to lead when it comes to quality, affordable child care, bringing an additional 20 school districts into the Seamless Day Pilot Program, adding another 3,750 child-care spaces. An economic recovery plan that doesn’t include universal child care is doomed to failure." — Paul Faoro, president of CUPE BC.

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"It is immensely gratifying to see $495 million invested in increasing surgical capacity." — Edith MacHattie, BC Health Coalition co-chair. "However, we are concerned that surgeries continue to be contracted to private clinics. It remains unclear how much of that public funding will go into profits instead of investing in our public system for the future."

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"We are still striving for a post-pandemic vision for the economy that attracts investment, creates good jobs and promotes opportunity." — Bridgitte Anderson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

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"The Surrey Board of Trade was pleased that specific mention was made to the commitment of building a new Surrey hospital." — Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.

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"Though the government has committed to assessing pandemic-related needs in schools as planning for the fall continues, we really would have hoped to see dedicated funding in this budget to ensure there is adequate PPE, ventilation, enhanced cleaning, and physical distancing in classrooms come September." — Teri Mooring, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2021.

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