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A list of quotes in reaction to the 2024 British Columbia budget

VICTORIA — Here’s what people are saying about the 2024 British Columbia budget: “Some look at the challenges ahead and say government should respond with deep cuts, leaving people to fend for themselves.
Finance Minister Katrine Conroy, left, is joined by food security co-ordinator Jesse Wallis and volunteer Vincent Aigbefo as they pack groceries for a subscription based program made up of volunteers called Good Food Box during a photo opportunity at the Fernwood Community Centre in Victoria, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

VICTORIA — Here’s what people are saying about the 2024 British Columbia budget:

“Some look at the challenges ahead and say government should respond with deep cuts, leaving people to fend for themselves. This would only weaken the services we all rely on and drive up costs with added fees and fares.” — Katrine Conroy, minister of finance

“Right now, that was a choice we had to make and it was the right choice.” — Conroy on the increased deficit

“Not once did the finance minister mention there was going to be a record deficit.” — Peter Milobar, BC United finance critic

“This budget is disappointingly familiar, it lacks innovation and forward-thinking initiatives. This government has demonstrated it’s not interested in creating a livable world for our children. Instead, they are telling British Columbians to fend for themselves." — Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Green Party, MLA for Cowichan Valley

“This is a reckless, inflationary budget that's going to make things more unaffordable for families because when government is spending this recklessly, it drives inflationary pressures, which impacts groceries, it impacts housing, it impacts everything that is already affecting British Columbians.” — Kevin Falcon, opposition leader

"What I saw today is a budget that is quite frankly bankrupting the people of the future." — John Rustad, B.C. Conservative Party leader

“We do not agree the government should be running large operating deficits when the economy is near full capacity and people are struggling to pay the bills because of inflation." — Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of British Columbia

"Can we afford the plans laid out today? The question is, how is that going to be serviced over the next number of years?” — Fiona Famluk, president of B.C. Chamber of Commerce on the budget deficit and debt numbers

“We’re going to be delivering all of these wonderful new babies we’re going to see. I’m happy for the people it’s going to help.” — Kristan Ash, executive director of Midwives Association of B.C., on plans for free IVF treatment

“We know there is more to do to rebuild our health-care system, and this budget keeps us moving in that direction with $13 billion in capital investments in the next three years.” — Meena Brisard, secretary-business manager for the Hospital Employees’ Union

“Things like worsening floods and wildfires are costing us more, and the science tells us these costs will continue to balloon as long as carbon emissions remain where they are. While the BC NDP is paying the initial bills, they continue to drag their feet on measures to really rein in the most polluting sectors and prevent the most polluting projects.” — Torrance Coste, associate director of Wilderness Committee

“Relief for small businesses was our number 1 ask and so we are pleased to see movement on the Employer Health Tax threshold in the budget." — Bridgitte Anderson, president of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

"The government is on the right track by tackling affordability, as working people struggle with rising costs for necessities like groceries and housing. B.C.’s lowest-paid workers need to see real wage increases and a reduction in their household costs." — Sussanne Skidmore, president of BC Federation of Labour

“While we remain disappointed that public dollars continue to flow to elite private schools, and that there is no funding to remove private, for-profit operators from our public transportation systems, this is a good budget for public services.” — Karen Ranalletta, CUPE BC president

“The B.C. government, by giving a monopoly on significant work to just the 15 per cent of the construction industry represented by the traditional building trades unions, continues to grossly overpay for infrastructure.” — Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.

“We are disappointed that a tax review was not mentioned, and that Surrey will not receive capital investments in Budget 2024 for more health care services at the second hospital in Surrey or for schools." — Anita Huberman, president of the Surrey Board of Trade.

“While it is not too late to get ahead of climate-fuelled water disasters, Budget 2024 fails to allocate the proactive, provincewide funds needed to keep communities safe in the face of this cycle of water crises.” — Coree Tull, co-chair of the BC Watershed Security Coalition

“Teachers need a lifeline, and we didn’t see that in this budget. While we appreciate that this isn’t an austerity budget, what we really need is bold action to ensure every student gets the support they deserve.” — Clint Johnston, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press