Budget law “dumb public policy,” says HEU

News release

Instead, government should respond to British Columbians’ top priority — protecting, modernizing public Medicare

Premier Ujjal Dosanjh’s balanced budget law introduced today in the legislature is sadly misguided, and could pose serious problems for future governments’ efforts to maintain important social services like health care and education during the frequent cyclical downturns that are the norm for B.C.’s economy, says the Hospital Employees’ Union.

“No one would argue with the idea of trying to balance the provincial budget, but this is just dumb public policy, plain and simple,” says Chris Allnutt, spokesperson for the 46,000 member Hospital Employees’ Union.

“The legislation will leave working people confused by the rightward drift of the government, and won’t galvanize support of the NDPs’ electoral base. But it will be dismissed by the NDP’s foes on the right and in the business community as a cynical move,” he said.

“The proposed legislation flies in the face of the priorities of the vast majority of British Columbians,” says Allnutt. “Our polling data shows people want government to act to protect and modernize our public medicare system. Yet while the Premier’s office can move quickly in the space of five weeks to draft and introduce the balanced budget legislation, the Dosanjh government has been lurching from crisis to crisis on the health care front with no long-term plan to improve our public health system.”

“Most economic experts will agree that B.C. will make significant progress with a much smaller than projected deficit at the end of the current budget year,” says Allnutt. “This slow and steady fiscal approach—based on real accomplishment — will do more to help the NDP turn around its troubled image on money matters than the kind of grandstanding we’re seeing with this legislation,” he said.