VICTORIA – Today, the B.C. legislature debated a motion to support the 2010 “net-zero” mandate, which recognizes the Province cannot afford to fund new wage increases.

Unfortunately, the NDP decided not to recognize reality, and ignored the motion. Instead of using the opportunity to assure taxpayers that they support fiscal prudence and balanced budgets, the NDP opened the door to increasing wages at the expense of hiking taxes.

“The NDP has refused to heed the lessons of Greece, Italy, and now even Ontario,” says Chilliwack MLA John Les. “A $2-billion wage hike for the BCTF is neither affordable nor fiscally responsible. We’ve seen what happens when government spending goes unchecked for too long.”

Under Adrian Dix, the NDP has refused to take a position on whether the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation should accept the net zero mandate that has been accepted by virtually all public sector unions.

“During the debate this morning, every member of the NDP was asked whether they supported the net-zero mandate to control spending in these uncertain economic times. No one answered. We are still waiting,” said North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite.

Soaring debts and deficits in Europe and the United States illustrate the need to spend responsibly and keep debt under control. The financial markets have zero tolerance for governments who do not meet their fiscal plan.

It’s time for Mr. Dix and the NDP to state publicly whether they agree with the BCTF’s suggestion that government should raise taxes in order to fund a $2-billion compensation increase for teachers in B.C.

“People are losing their jobs in other jurisdictions because of government overspending which causes subsequent layoffs. We are seeing layoffs of teachers. Our government wants to protect teachers’ jobs. By staying with the zero mandate for all unions including the BCTF, we are focusing on the good work each public sectors employee does for our citizens,” says Thornthwaite.

Under the BC Liberals, B.C. has earned a triple-A credit rating, the lowest personal income taxes in Canada (up to $119,000), low debt, and is committed to balancing the budget by 2013/14.