The Old Guard faction of Comox Valley political activists has been trying for decades to create a cohesive voting block
Brennan Day and family | Submitted photo
BC Liberals Brennan Day: economic recovery calls for bold ideas and actions
As the youngest of the three Courtenay-Comox riding candidates seeking election to the provincial legislature, 36-year-old Brennan Day hopes his 15 years of experience in business management and the oil and gas industry will appeal to voters.
The BC Liberal nominee is also the most fiscally conservative candidate. During his 2017 campaign for a seat on Courtenay City Council, Day advocated for more responsible local government spending and lower municipal taxes.
It’s an approach to governing and economic prosperity that he says stretches back to his youth as a graduate of Highland High School.
“I, like many others my age, graduated high school after a decade of poor economic growth in BC. Career grade jobs were scarce in the Comox Valley, and I moved away like most for opportunities elsewhere,” Day told Decafnation in a telephone interview last week.
Now Day sees an even greater economic crisis that calls for bold ideas and action.
“We are effectively dealing with the worst economic fallout in generations. It is government’s role to maintain services and ensure we can rebound quickly,” he said. “My strong management background and international experience gives me a broad knowledge to rely on.”
Day believes the BC Liberal Party’s proposals to eliminate the PST tax and end the ICBC insurance monopoly are the kind of big ideas that will get the BC economy moving again.
ONE YEAR PST RELIEF
Day supports his party’s promise to eliminate the seven percent PST tax for one year and then bring it back at three percent for at least another year or until the economy fully recovers from the COVID pandemic’s economic impact.
“The PST elimination for one year gives lower-income earners the most benefit as a percentage, and encourages middle-income earners to spend on larger purchases,” he said. “Once the economy has recovered sufficiently, the PST will be restored.”
The two-year PST promise would reduce provincial revenues by about $10.8 billion, but Day says that won’t negatively affect government programs.
“The BC Liberals will not be looking to cut spending; we need to take bold action to give consumers confidence in the economy quickly to save our jobs and small businesses,” he said.
Day did not say how the government will balance its budget with such a substantial loss in revenue, although he said the PST reduction would allow businesses to reinvest and “get the economy moving again.”
ICBC: A FAILED SCHEME
Day believes his party’s plan to eliminate the ICBC monopoly on car insurance by opening the market up to private insurance companies will result in lower annual premiums.
“ICBC is a failed insurance scheme that’s not protecting anyone,” he said. “The goal was to keep rates affordable and protect victims, but ICBC is doing neither.”
Day says opening up the car insurance market is not an attempt to shut down ICBC as some opponents have suggested. They say private insurers will cream off the lowest-risk drivers, and leave ICBC with those who present the highest risk, including young drivers.
“We’re just forcing ICBC to be competitive,” he said. “That should bring down rates for everyone.”
And he says the NDP’s recent introduction of no-fault auto insurance has taken away the rights of catastrophically injured victims to seek higher compensation awards through legal action.
Day says that occupational therapists have told him it’s difficult and “troubling” to get care for seriously injured car accident victims.
“People have lost their advocacy under the no-fault system,” he said.
Under a public-private system, people could use the legal system to seek larger compensation awards than are currently allowed under ICBC’s no-fault plan.
PRIVATE CARE HOMES NEEDED
Day believes there is bi-partisan support and understanding of the need for more long-term care beds and a higher standard for quality care.
“But we need to be realistic,” he said. “We can’t rely on the public system alone. We need a dual system of both public and private facilities.”
The BC Liberals agree that more oversight is needed, Day said, because in some facilities the “conditions are reprehensible.”
That’s why he backs his party’s promise to spend $1 billion over the next five years to replace and upgrade existing facilities to ensure that “safe and dignified” options are available to seniors.
In the meantime, Day says his party will provide a $7,000 per year credit for home care to seniors who want to stay home as long as possible.
“With the sheer enormity of the demand for long-term care beds that we know is coming, the public process is too slow,” he said. “Private operators are needed because of the speed at which we need to build new facilities.”
NORTH ISLAND HOSPITALS
Day does not agree with the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s trend toward centralizing some health care services in Victoria. VIHA has eliminated onsite clinical pathology services in Campbell River and the Comox Valley.
“In hindsight, splitting the hospital between two communities wasn’t the best decision,” he said. “We need to treat the Comox Valley hospital as a regional hospital.”
Centralizing medical services may make sense in urban areas, but doesn’t best serve rural communities.
He thinks stronger advocacy within the provincial government is needed.
A MORE RESPONSIVE MLA
Day promises to be responsive to Comox Valley constituents and a strong voice in Victoria, something he believes has been lacking.
“I’m trying to run a positive campaign and not take shots, but our campaign hears almost every day that Ronna-Rae’s responsiveness has been less than optimal,” he said.
The feedback he’s received is that MLA Leonard is “generally not available … phone calls are not returned … And it’s not just from one sector of the community.”
“We need better vocal representation in Victoria,” he said.
Day says he was disappointed that agriculture wasn’t brought up during a recent Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce all-candidates meeting.
“It’s a huge driver of our economy,” he said. “But it’s been decimated by the NDP.”
He said dairy farmers have lost processing facilities and meat producers have difficulty getting cattle on and off Vancouver Island due to BC Ferries’ new regulations about live cargo.
Day said he’d work with the agriculture community on building the infrastructure needed “to get their products on our shelves.”
He also criticized the NDP’s Bill 52 and Bill 15, which were enacted, respectively, to stop monster homes on farmland and to prevent landowners from constantly applying to remove their land from the ALR.
He says Bill 52 had significant unintended effects here locally.
“Previously, secondary residences were permitted under ALR zoning for farm workers or family members; this blanket bill prevented this from being an option,” Day said. “Generational farming families are now no longer permitted to construct a secondary dwelling to house their family members or workers.”
The BC Liberals have yet to release a climate change policy ahead of the Oct. 24 election, but Day says it’s coming.
“The environment is not to be defended just by the left, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure we are making smart and strategic changes to preserve the natural beauty of the Comox Valley for our children.,” he said.
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OCT. 24 PROVINCIAL ELECTION INFORMATION
The 2020 provincial election takes place on Oct. 24.
Advance voting begins at various locations on Thursday, Oct. 15 and continues every day through Wednesday, Oct. 21. A schedule and list of polling stations are posted on the Elections BC website.
Candidates in the Courtenay-Comox riding are incumbent Ronna-Rae Leonard (NDP), Gillian Anderson (BC Greens) and Brennan Day (BC Liberals).
In the last election (2017), 66.89 percent of the riding’s 43,671 registered voters cast a ballot. The results were:
NDP Ronna-Rae Leonard received 10,886 votes or 37.36%
BC Liberal Jim Benninger — 10,697 votes or 36.72%
Green Ernie Sellentin — 5,351 votes or 18.37%
Leah McCulloch — 2,201 votes or 7.55%
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