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BC Election 2013: As campaign heats up, NDP shows its cards

Change is likely coming to the BC electoral scene in May, but massive debt accrued under the Liberals will make the transition slow and cautious, one small NDP step at a time.

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Health, which includes the Medical Services Plan, PharmaCare and regional services, has been allocated the largest share of the government expenses pie. More than $17.9 billion, or 41 per cent of total spending, is set aside for health costs.

Education, which includes elementary, secondary and post-secondary costs, gets the second largest amount, $11.7 billion, or 26.8 per cent of the total.

Coming in third place is social services — including social assistance, child welfare, low income tax transfers and community living services — which was allocated $3.9 billion or 9 per cent of the total.

Those three spending areas are estimated to total $33.5 billion, or more than 76 per cent of all government spending in 2012-13. The other ministries, debt servicing and various additional expenses get much slimmer portions of the rest of the spending pie.

As a result, an NDP government would have to pay extra attention to health, education and social services because they would certainly be a major factor in any strategy to balance an annual budget and pay down a debt that is beginning to feel, especially if interest rates begin climbing, like a runaway train.

Telford, who believes the environment and potential threats to it like oil and gas pipelines will figure prominently in the election, says Dix “knows full well the fiscal cupboard is quite bare” so he is apparently lowering expectations for big program announcements that loyal supporters would like to see established.

 “They’re being very cautious,” he added.




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