Provincial election banter is picking up in Chilliwack as local Liberals wonder where Adrian Dix's platform is and New Democrats say the government keeps stealing their ideas.
"Elections are supposed to be a competition of ideas," said Chilliwack MLA John Les in a press release. "But Adrian Dix and the NDP haven't bothered to share their plan."
Les will not again run in the May 14 election. Liberal candidate for Chilliwack John Martin also said Dix's silence is not showing leadership.
"Making British Columbians guess isn't leadership," Martin said. "It's well past time for Adrian Dix to tell British Columbians what he wants to do with their tax dollars."
The full NDP platform is expected in early April before the official start of the four-week campaign on April 16.
In the meantime, NDP Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O'Mahony said many details of her party's plan have already been released.
"I can't keep track of how many announcements we have made," O'Mahony told the Times from Victoria.
O'Mahony said the NDP, if elected, will end taxpayer funding for partisan advertising, bring back the Buy B.C. program, institute a $100 million student grant program paid for with capital tax on banks, maintain the small business tax rate, improve public transit using carbon tax revenue, extend compensation to Woodlands survivors and take back provincial authority on oil pipeline projects by withdrawing from the federal joint review process.
Dix also announced an increase in income tax for those earning more than $150,000 and a two per cent increase in the corporate tax rate.
Since then, the Liberals instituted the former and went halfway with the latter, hiking corporate taxes by one per cent.
"The Liberals are most interested about what we are going to put in our platform and I wonder if they are going to steal our ideas," O'Mahony said.
O'Mahony added that the 2001 Liberal platform had no costs associated with it. She said now that they have a Liberal budget to work off, her party can finalize its costed platform.
"The Liberals have offered a budget that they are claiming to be balanced," she said. "It's an act of fiction."
The Martin/Les press release said that when in opposition, the BC Liberals released specific plans for public scrutiny "well before" the 1996 and 2001 elections.
But Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer disputed this on Twitter, saying that the then-opposition Liberals released their platform in 2001 five days after the writ was dropped and in 1996 10 days after the writ dropped.
Also in opposition, the Carole James-led NDP offered platforms in 2005 six days before writ and in 2009 five days before writ.
"Dix target early April would be earlier than James, Libs in Opposition," Palmer Tweeted.