While Premier Christy Clark touts the government's jobs plan as her primary agenda item, the NDP and the Conservatives both say the Liberals are failing on the employment issue.
Clark was in Chilliwack last week in support of Chilliwack-Hope byelection candidate Laurie Throness, and to push the jobs agenda.
"Our government is in favour of economic development," Clark told reporters at IMW Industries on Wednesday. "We want to create jobs for families across the province."
Earlier that week, NDP leader Adrian Dix met with a retired seniors and two individuals who complained how difficult it is to find work in Chilliwack and Hope.
"This has been the lowest period of economic growth in my lifetime," Dix said.
When asked about Dix's comment, Clark said the NDP leader "wasn't good at math the last time he was in the Premier's office either."
"The last month for which we have statistics there were 8,000 jobs created in British Columbia," the Premier said. "I don't know where Adrian Dix comes up with this stuff. It's typical NDP math."
Clark was referring to February Labour Force Survey numbers, which saw 21,600 full-time jobs created from January to February in B.C., and 12,600 part-times jobs eliminated. The total increase was 9,100 jobs.
But when March employment numbers came out the next day, positive numbers were reported nearly everywhere but in B.C., Ontario and Quebec created jobs but B.C. lost 8,900 full-time jobs.
"Unemployment is up since Premier Clark announced her Jobs Plan in September," said BC Conservative leader John Cummins in a press release. "More people are looking for work. . . . B.C. was the only western province to lose jobs in March. We are falling further and further behind the rest of the west."
Both Dix and Cummins have the same message from very different points of view: the cost of living- MSP, Hydro, ICBC-for middle class families in B.C. is a serious problem.
Since the BC Liberals are the governing party, Throness says his party's tax-and-spending plan is available for all to see at www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca.
But both the New Democrats and the Conservatives have been tightlipped on how a government run by their parties would do things differently.
Dix has made a few promises that he says are fully costed, such as the $100 million post-secondary student grant program to be paid for by the reinstatement of a tax on financial institutions.
"The BC Liberal plan is there in black and white," Throness said in a press release. "What the NDP and BC Conservatives are asking voters to support is reckless. You wouldn't sign a contract to buy a new home unless you know how much it was going to cost-and how you were going to pay for it."
The fourth way
There is a fourth candidate in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection on April 19 as Port Coquitlam resident Lewis Clarke Dahlby entered the race for the B.C. Libertarian Party.
Dahlby ran under the Libertarian banner in the 2009 provincial election in Port Coquitlam and received 178 votes, or 0.88 per cent.
He also ran in the 2008, 2006 and 2004 federal elections in the Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam riding. Each time Dahlby received less than one per cent of the vote.
Libertarians generally favour little or no government power. The statement of purposes on the BCLP membership application says the applicant supports the party's purposes, including: "To foster and encourage the principle that no individual or group shall initiate the use of force or fraud against any other or as a means of achieving political or social goals."
A debate or two
The candidates have two chances this week to face off on the issues in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection.
First up is an invitation-only, allcandidates meeting at the Rotary Club on Wednesday, followed by a public meeting at Sardis secondary Thursday, April 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.
For advanced voting locations, April 11 to 14, visit www.elections.bc.ca.