The NDP are promising to provide drivers a rebate on any ICBC earnings during the pandemic, while the BC Liberals have pledged to hold a referendum on Surrey’s police transition. (The Canadian Press/Black Press Media)

The NDP are promising to provide drivers a rebate on any ICBC earnings during the pandemic, while the BC Liberals have pledged to hold a referendum on Surrey’s police transition. (The Canadian Press/Black Press Media)

NDP promise ICBC rebate as BC Liberals pledge to hold referendum on Surrey policing

The auto insurer saw a 37 per cent reduction in claims between April and June of this year

The NDP and the Liberals both released major promises on Sunday (Oct. 4), just short of halfway through the short provincial election campaign.

In a news release, the NDP pledged to return any profits earned by the Insurance Corp. of B.C. during the pandemic to drivers if the party was re-elected. The party said the rebate would come on May 1, the same time as they promise an average 20 per cent reduction in insurance premiums for the average driver.

The promise, released by Vancouver-Point Grey candidate – and former minister in charge of ICBC – David Eby stands in contrast to earlier statements from Eby and the auto insurer. In April, during the height of the pandemic, ICBC said it had been “directed by government to analyze the impact of the pandemic on our organization,” although there was no news of a rebate in the following months.

In a statement to Black Press Media in mid-September, just over a week prior to calling the election, Eby’s office did not commit to a rebate.

“If ICBC does end up with a surplus as a result of the pandemic, combined with money saving reforms we have already implemented, we have passed a law requiring that surplus must be used to benefit drivers,” he said. “It could be through a rebate, a capital build that helps keep future rates low, or some combination of the two.”

The auto insurer saw a 37 per cent reduction in claims between April and June of this year, compared to the same time in 2019, as British Columbians stayed home and fewer vehicles were out on the roads. That amounts to roughly $329.5 million in financial savings in claim costs.

In a social media post, BC Liberals candidate for Richmond-Queensborough Jas Johal said that the NDP should have announced an ICBC rebate months ago.

“Public and private insurers across North America returned money to drivers many months ago. The NDP holds on to the cash, calls an unnecessary pandemic election, and then wants kudos for promising to return the public’s money during an election,” Johal said.

On the other side of the political aisle, the BC Liberals pledged to hold a referendum on Surrey’s police transition if elected later this month.

The statement said a BC Liberal government would pause the transition process, provide accountability and transparency, and then hold a referendum on the issue. Surrey is currently in the process of transitioning from the RCMP to its own police force.

Shortly after the BC Liberal Party announcement, the BC NDP issued its own press release, saying the promise is “offensive to the City and citizens of Surrey.”

“This is a major violation of the relationship with a municipal level of government and an unwarranted interference in the affairs of the city of Surrey. The law makes it clear that this is a municipal decision. The role of the provincial government is to ensure public safety is maintained and that is what we will continue to do,” Port Coquitlam BC NDP candidate Mike Farnworth said in the release.

Last month, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum insisted repeatedly that the Surrey Police Service, to replace the RCMP, is a “done deal.”

The Surrey Police Service is expected to have 805 police officers, 325 civilian employees, and 20 community safety personnel.

In comparison, Surrey RCMP has 1,145 employees, 843 of which are police officers.

At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5th, 2018 it served notice to the provincial and federal governments it is ending its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force. The target date for the Surrey Police Service to take over from the Surrey RCMP is next April.

READ MORE: Questions raised over lack of driver rebate as ICBC reports $329.5M in pandemic savings


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC NDPBC politicsBC Votes 2020CoronavirusICBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP seeking driver of burnt out car found on HaHa Creek Road

Cranbrook RCMP are looking for the driver of a vehicle that was found on fire Monday

Starting in January of 2021, the RDEK will be removing yellow bins designated for glass collections. East Kootenay residents will be able to recycle their glass at one of the many Recycle BC depots across the region. (RDEK file)
Changes coming to RDEK glass recycling program

Starting in January 2021, glass will no longer be collected through the yellow bin program

Heather Smith has managed the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank for many years. File photo
Kimberley continues to support the Helping Hands Food Bank

Applications for grocery vouchers in lieu of Christmas hampers still being accepted

The view from the mountain cam at the top of the NorthStar quad on Friday, November 27, 2020. KAR file.
KAR outlines plans for safe ski season in Zoom meeting with Kimberley business community

The Kimberley Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom meeting on Thursday, Nov.… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Most Read