British Columbia’s Official Opposition Leader told delegates to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention that the province was heading in the wrong direction “in every way.”
In a speech Thursday at the 2022 UBCM convention, Kevin Falcon promised to work with municipalities on increasing housing supply, among other issues including health care, public safety and mental health. .
Falcon recognized the need for “much-needed changes” to increase housing supply in a timely manner.
“These changes will include legislative changes in Victoria that can help ensure we can get this supply to market,” he said. “The difference is that a government led by Kevin Falcon will work with local governments to make sure we get the right balance of incentives and disincentives to ensure we get the right results we need for the public to British Columbia.”
He later said during his speech that a government under his leadership would “flood the area” in terms of housing.
“We need more of everything – more condos, more townhouses, more single family homes, where it makes sense, more of everything.”
Falcon later told reporters that such disincentives would be financial or non-financial in nature, such as “opting out of provincial government funding programs” because “they’re not doing their part to get housing on the market”.
Falcon reiterated his opposition to yet to be officially announced legislation that he says would allow the provincial government to “dictate” density in communities.
“This will end badly, because David Eby (currently a candidate for the leadership of the New Democratic Party and a former housing minister) with the greatest respect has absolutely no experience in the private sector, has no experience in housing” , Falcon said.
Falcon also attacked the government’s record on health care, public safety and mental health during his speech and press conference.
“The health care system is in a serious state of crisis in all regions of this province and I can tell you that in rural British Columbia the scale of orders is worse than what you see in the Lower Mainland, which is bad enough,” he told reporters.
He said earlier that one of the fundamental functions of government is to ensure public safety, which he said is drastically diminishing.
“The second thing I hear about is the issue of crime and social disorder and frankly the social chaos, in many communities, is the worst they have ever seen,” he told reporters. . “It’s to a point of desperation.”
He promised an end to what he called the “David Eby and NDP-supervised capture and release system” of prolific offenders through unspecified investments in the justice system, but also additional investments in health. mental health, which would ultimately help reduce policing and other costs.
A government under his leadership would end what he called the “warehousing” of mentally ill people in hotels. Instead, it would offer “updated, modernized but compassionate versions” of the now closed Riverview facility to provide 24/7 care and support for people struggling with serious mental health problems.
Falcon’s speech didn’t spend much time on climate change. He acknowledged that omission during his remarks to reporters later, promised massive investment in rapid transit, and encouraged the tech community to help come up with solutions.
“It (the climate crisis) will not be solved by the government,” he said. “It will be the private sector that will lead the way.”
Falcon also acknowledged that the BC Liberals made a mistake in ceding authority over levees to municipalities, adding that spending money on the issue now would save billions in the future.
“The province needs to play a bigger role,” he said.
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