Tetchy moments a feature in first BC election debate


New Democrat Leader John Horgan says he's not anxious about Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals attacking the economics of his campaign platform, which contains big promises including $10-a-day child care and eliminating bridge tolls.

Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Christy Clark took her campaign to Vancouver Island - territory traditionally seen as a NDP stronghold - where she said the region has a successful economic record because of her government's policies.

The NDP platform commits to balancing the budget this year and the following two years, but the party says it is concerned that the Liberals' pre-election budget does not reflect real needs in those years.

Horgan says in today's debate, he'll stick to ways his party would make life more affordable for British Columbians.

For his part, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver noted after the debate that "it's not my style to bicker and I find it frankly disrespectful and rude".

Clark went on to say, "I know this is going to be an ugly, mean, dirty campaign that's what the NDP have promised us again and again".

Weaver described the confrontations in Thursday's debate between Clark and Horgan as petty, saying afterwards the people of British Columbia deserve better.

"You're going to see, out of that $2.2 billion, a fair chunk of that going into new buses, into more transit service in places like Delta", she said.

"It is really hard for first time home buyers in this market to scrape together that down payment they need", said Clark.

Mental health and addictions prompted another sharp exchange, with Horgan repeatedly interrupting Clark.

As she has on the campaign trail, Clark hammered away at the Liberals central campaign theme of job creation and a strong economy.

Clark told reporters she and Horgan were colleagues in the B.C. legislature. He also said she is falsely claiming the NDP hasn't accounted for how it will pay for its platform promises.

Weaver condemned the Liberals for pushing forward with Site C, a hydroelectric megaproject in northeast B.C., as well as the government's promise of revenue from the liquefied natural gas industry, which has yet to develop. "We won't just let them hike taxes".

Weaver said Ottawa's plan to legalize is leaning toward large corporate providers, and he favours "craft cannabis" similar to local beer, as long as there is effective control to prevent minors from buying it.

Horgan also announced an expanded apprenticeship and trades training program to help fill the 96,000 jobs that would be created through new school, hospital, highway and home construction. "I think the people of Sooke understand that", he said.