Horgan "can't guarantee" British Columbians will see $1,000 payments before Christmas

Nov 12 2020, 2:09 pm

It was a hallmark promise of John Horgan’s re-election campaign, but now the BC NDP leader is cautioning people shouldn’t count on an extra $1,000 arriving in their pockets before Christmas this year.

“I can’t guarantee that because I don’t know what restrictions we’ll have in terms of getting the legislature back into place,” said Horgan during a press conference this week.

Asked if he has a timeline around recalling the legislature and naming a cabinet, Horgan said he does, but added he “might not” meet it, blaming the rise in COVID-19 case numbers and the timeline around putting a new cabinet in place for the uncertainty.

“We do hope to bring the legislature back before Christmas, but with the increase in cases in the past 10 days or so, that has challenged our ability to bring people together in Victoria for swearing-in,” he said. “I’m hopeful we can get that addressed in the next two weeks and then be in the legislature in December, but I can’t be any more specific than that.”

And while he touched on the possibility of getting the payments to families without going through the legislature, Horgan said his first choice “is to recall the legislature, get this business done, and then move on.”

Still, he noted, “with governments, there is always a range of options available to decision-makers. If we have to amend the plan, then I’ll be… letting British Columbians know about it.”

As for how long getting payments to people would take once the process was actually in place, Horgan said finance officials have informed him that “once the dollars are appropriated, it won’t take very much time at all to direct deposit the money.”

During this fall’s election campaign, the NDP announced that if elected, it would provide a one-time $1,000 payment to families with an annual household income below $125,000 – with a sliding scale up to $175,000. The party also promised a one-time $500 direct deposit to single people earning less than $62,000 annually – with a sliding scale up to $87,000.

According to the NDP, the one-time payment is meant to help “ease the financial impact of COVID-19 for people in British Columbia who have been hit the hardest.”

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