VICTORIA— British Columbians’ ability to give to charities has dropped dramatically since Christy Clark became premier five years ago, says Carole James, New Democrat Official Opposition spokesperson for finance.
“Christy Clark let the housing market get out of control. She’s raised the MSP tax, hydro rates and ICBC premiums every year. And she gave a $1 billion tax cut to the richest two per cent of income earners,” said James. “Now people are saying that the main reason they are giving less – or nothing at all – to their favourite charities is because they can’t afford to.”
James was referring to Vancity’s report which said that five years ago 74 per cent of all British Columbians gave to charity. Today, that number has dropped to 59 per cent, and the average donation has fallen nine per cent. Survey respondents named housing affordability, stagnant incomes and the rising cost of living as their top financial concerns.
“During the two years that Christy Clark refused to believe that speculators were pricing families out of the housing market, the benchmark price of a detached home in Vancouver shot up by over $600,000,” said James.
James also pointed out that Clark’s increases to MSP, hydro and ICBC premiums alone are costing a normal family $1,000 more per year, which is about equivalent to the average amount among British Columbians who donate.
“If it weren’t for Christy Clark’s hidden tax increases, British Columbians would be able to afford to double their charitable donations,” said James.
“Under Christy Clark’s leadership, we’ve had the second-to-last wage growth in the country, half of British Columbians are living paycheck-to-paycheck, we have the country’s highest level of household debt, and the nation’s highest level of wealth inequality. Now, we learn that charitable giving has suffered too. That’s the Christy Clark economy.”