Post BC Election – Thanks to Candidates
November 20, 2020
With the 2020 provincial election wrapped up, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate all of the candidates recently elected to serve. Congratulations to Premier-elect John Horgan and his colleagues on securing a majority government. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Honourable Carole James for her many years of service to British Columbia, most recently as Finance Minister. She has always been open to listening to our sector and provided a very steady hand on the financial wheel over the past four years. I am grateful for her work and support.
The Legislative Assembly has a substantial contingent of new MLAs with local government experience. The next Legislature will include 33 MLAs that have served as a Mayor, Councillor, Area Director or Islands Trustee representing 38% of the 87 electoral districts in B.C. – one of the highest percentages in recent elections.
The New Car Dealers of BC and local government work closely together on a number of issues that affect the local economy and the more than 30,000 people employed directly or indirectly by our members. I am proud of the partnership we have formed and look forward to working with those newly elected over the next four years.
The New Car Dealers are an important piece of the BC economy as we represent over 390 small businesses in 55 communities across the province. Our members generate about $16 billion in economic activity and account for 19% of total retail sales in the province. Our sector is also one that has seen a relatively quick bounce back since the devastating impact from COVID-19 earlier this year. BC’s New Car Dealers will play an important role in the COVID-19 recovery process. Dealers are a key driver in local and provincial economies, and it’s important we continue to work together to create positive economic growth in our province.
The partnership between BC’s New Car Dealers and government has been a productive one by making EVs more affordable through the CleanBC Go Electric Program; making policy and investment decisions that support a broader fast-charging network, and; ongoing education and public awareness for consumers and car dealers to ensure there is an understanding of the latest EV offerings and EV-related developments. The rebate program allows for EV’s to be more accessible, as we inch further to goals for even more EV’s on roads the province.
Another issue that we continue to work on with government is the issue of what constitutes a luxury vehicle. The luxury vehicle tax impacts many working men and women – particularly in rural and resource-dependent communities across the province. A pickup truck is a part of how many maintain their livelihood, yet a luxury tax is placed on all vehicles at the $55,000 and higher price-point. When the figure was established a number of years ago, it likely reflected the cost of what most would consider a high-end vehicle. But with new technology and inflation, all vehicle prices have risen. Seems strange to me you have to pay luxury tax on a $65,000 pick up truck but not on an $80,000 watch!
We also look forward to working with the new government on new issues that arise – most recently the proposed mobility tax in the City of Vancouver. While we recognize the need to address climate change – and have done so with a decade long support of the CleanBC Go Electric Program – the mobility tax is not reasonable for a city as expensive as Vancouver. In an ideal world we could all walk and cycle to work, but while those options are available to many around Greater Vancouver, others rely on their vehicles to get to and from their jobs. During COVID-19, people are driving more because they value their own personal space, and this shouldn’t come at a higher price.
Clearly, these issues require ongoing dialogue and collaboration with government. It’s a partnership that has proven productive and of benefit to members and consumers alike, and it’s one we will continue to support and contribute to. I look forward to working with the newly elected MLAs on continuing to strengthen our relationship and provide important input from our members. The NCDA is committed to working with the new government to help enable a strong economy, of which dealers are a powerful, driving force.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at email@example.com
Dealer Members with New Car Dealers Association
We represent more than 390 New Car Dealers throughout British Columbia.