(Files by Brody Langager-MyPGNow)
Rising gas prices, a lack of housing, and blowback from economic sanctions placed on Russia.
Those are just some of the topics addressed by Premier John Horgan today (Thursday).
He started by condemning President Putin, calling his regime belligerent and unlawful.
“I also want to acknowledge that British Columbians are prepared are ready to open up their hearts and their homes to refugees, as we have in previous events like this, whether it be Syria, Afghanistan, and many, many other hostile intrusions by nefarious governments that have put regular people at risk and displaced them from their homes.”
There’s no word yet on how many people BC will be housing from Ukraine.
In terms of the rise in gas prices coming not just from the Russian invasion, but from the federally imposed mandate, Horgan said that it isn’t the taxes that are the problem.
“Those taxes go to building our roads, to providing our transit, to making sure that our infrastructure is as modern as it can be. And having come through the atmospheric river this past fall, I think people understand better in the past how fragile our infrastructure is, and how important it is to make those investments.”
Horgan added that he also supports the economic sanctions placed on Russia.
“The only way to change a brutal dictator’s mind is to make it extremely uncomfortable for him to continue on the same course that he is on.”
With the COVID-19 public health orders being reviewed for March 14th, Horgan was asked if he was worried about orders being relaxed too quickly, or that some orders may have to be kept in place.
“What we have been trying to get through to people is everyone has a different level of comfort. We’re two years into the COVID pandemic, and we find ourselves with more tools than ever before.”
He added that he, as someone who just wrapped up cancer treatment, would continue to wear a mask in social situations where he doesn’t know people.
Housing was an issue that was brought up, and a rising problem across BC.
Horgan said the pandemic made it hard to get more housing online, and that municipalities need to accelerate their process of getting homes built, but until then, scarcity will cause the prices to go up.
“More people came to British Columbia in the past year than have come internationally, and from other provinces since the early 1990’s. That’s contributing to the housing challenges, that’s contributing to other costs that we are all being exposed to.”
Horgan also addressed street violence and safety, and said the pandemic has caused an increase in mental health challenges.
“We’re working with law enforcement, we’re working with communities. The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions is doing what she can to provide more comprehensive care, or complex care for those who frankly, shouldn’t be in the community. They should be getting 24 hour care.”
He added that BC will be creating more complex care facilities across the province.