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

Princeton council hopes fresh storefronts will compliment the investment already made in the downtown gateways and bronze statue park. (John Moody photo)
New program promises money for Princeton businesses to improve their storefronts

The municipality plans to commit $100,000 over the next five years

Glass of whiskey
UBCO substance use clinic goes virtual

The clinic is adapting the way it provides services as the pandemic continues

Donate generously to Crisis Assistance and the Christmas Hamper campaign. Photo MCC
EDITORIAL: Princeton’s Christmas hamper committee needs CASH in 2020

Don’t hesitate to donate, just because it looks different under COVID

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staffer threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

In mid-July, the home of an Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was vandalized, with images including swastikas spray-painted on the house. Since that time, Summerland Mayor Toni Boot has been calling for community conversations about issues relating to race. (Summerland Review file photo)
Provincial funds available for Summerland conversations about racism

Money will not flow directly from province to municipality

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

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

The Okanagan Quality Life Society which usually gives tours of Okanagan Lake to seniors and shut-ins on its boat Heaven Can Wait has created a virtual tour video in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down the tours in 2020. (Morning Star - file photo)
Okanagan Lake virtual boat tours launched

Okanagan Quality Life Society normally gives tours on Okanagan Lake on its boat Heaven Can Wait

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre is kicking off a Light The Night fundraising campaign online to help with Christmas shopping for the public and fundraising for the popular Vernon attraction. (ABNC Photo)
Light the Night campaign boosts North Okanagan nature centre

Allan Brooks Society hosting online auction of 12 items; donations can also be made to help centre

Police service dog Fitz helped track and rescue a lost hiker and his dog in Kelowna. (Kelowna RCMP)
Okanagan police dog Fitz dies of cancer

Fitz recently helped locate a lost hiker in the Central Okanagan

Resident wants City of Salmon Arm to take action to eradicate rat population in town. (File photo)
Salmon Arm resident demands action to eradicate rats

City posts more information on social media, will consider more action at budget time

Most Read