British Columbia·In Depth

We've tracked every promise the B.C. NDP made in the last election: Here's where they stand

A detailed look at whether each promise by the government has been completed or not.

While some high-profile promises have fallen short, more than 75% of the NDP's platform is being enacted

Premier John Horgan's government has fulfilled a majority of the promises in their election platform, based on an analysis done by CBC News. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

With just one week left in the B.C. government's first spring session, Mike Farnworth believes the NDP have a lot to show for their first year in government since 2001. 

"I'm not disappointed in anything right now. We've been out of office for 16 years. There's a lot of expectations, and the fact we've been able to deliver on so much is really exciting," said Farnworth, who leads the government's legislative agenda as House Leader. 

It's the traditional tone of any young government. But a detailed analysis of the NDP's record in government shows they have moved forward on a number of items.

One hundred of them, in fact. 

CBC News has tracked every tangible promise the NDP made in their election platform last year to see how many of them they've followed through on after nearly a year in power and two sessions of the legislature. 

122 promises made

In total, we counted 122 promises made by the government. Of those, 76 have been either passed into law, or are on a clear path to happening. 

The jury is still out another 24 promises. Some are items where it will take years to figure out if it was a success (like their pledge for $10 a day daycare), while some are items where initial work is being done, but the end result isn't certain (ensuring students can access specially trained mental health professionals, for example). 

And there are 22 promises where the government has taken no real action or, in the case of freezing B.C. Hydro rates, have outright failed.

(A spreadsheet with the full list is at the bottom of this article.)

Premier John Horgan would not comment for this article, but members of his staff were provided with this list last week and took substantive issue with only two items. 

Overall, Farnworth says it's an assessment he'll take. 

"It's not going to be done overnight, it's going to take a lot of work … but I think the progress we've made shows our commitment on what we ran on is being fulfilled, and we're looking forward to fulfilling it over the next four years."

Rent freeze and bare trust loopholes

There was no issue in the last election that galvanized the public as much as housing affordability, and it showed in the NDP's platform: 13 specific promises, eight of which have been fully completed and three where progress has been made.

But that has put more focus on the two promises where no movement has happened: a $400 renter's rebate, and the elimination of the "bare trust" loophole, which allows people to create numbered companies to own properties and then sell them without paying a property transfer tax.

"I'm a bit frustrated, I believe we're almost there, but they're being a bit cautious here," said Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, whose support for the NDP propelled them to government last summer.

Still, he said that his impression of the government — which has vacillated at times — is quite positive, overall. 

"Overall, I'd say I'm delighted. We had a few rocky steps early on, in the fall there were a few tensions, but I can tell you that we have a remarkably good working relationship. There's respect on our side, and I believe that respect is mutual," he said. 

Liberals attack on taxes

Unsurprisingly, the B.C. Liberals had a different assessment of the government's accomplishments.

"The NDP are proving to be very good at raising taxes and very weak at governing," said Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, who was particularly critical of the government not fully meeting their pledge to "replace Surrey portables with real classrooms."

"They're scared of making decisions, so they send many, many topics out for study, and when they bring them back they're not sure what to do."

And while the NDP have enacted promises that include new taxes — including the speculation tax, schools tax, and health payroll tax in place of MSP premiums — they've also followed through on cutting the small business tax rate by 0.5 per cent, giving credit unions permanent tax status, and strengthening venture capital tax credit programs for B.C. companies. 

Wilkinson also noted several promises that are very much up in the air right now, including "building 114,000 rental and co-op homes" and eliminating interest on student loans.

But Farnworth said he's confident voters will see progress the next time they head to the polls — which he hopes won't happen for another three years.

"We're looking at a four-year mandate, the fall of 2021, and at that time people will be able judge us on the entire record," he said.

"But I would say right now, I think we're off to a pretty good start."


Justin McElroy


Justin is the Municipal Affairs Reporter for CBC Vancouver, covering local political stories throughout British Columbia.


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