On Wednesday, Health Minister Kevin Falcon said funding from his ministry would increase by 5.8 percent in this fiscal year and not a penny more. Even though the health system needs $360 million over and above that to keep up with demand. But, despite accusations to the contrary, Minister Falcon's announcement is actually consistent with what the Liberals said they'd do to protect that system.
In it's February throne speech, for example, the Campbell administration said there would be spending reductions in every ministry - except those delivering "health, education and vital social services." And, just like the government promised, there have been no health spending reductions.
Two months after that speech, the Liberals made "improving and protecting" health services part of their campaign platform. But they said they'd do that, in part, through a 5.8 percent increase in health spending and not a penny more. Nevertheless, many British Columbians likely though the government was suggesting more than that.
And, in the coming months, as government tightens its fiscal belt, I think we can also expect accusations the government has violated its promise to protect vital social services as the Liberals define what is and is not vital - keeping to the letter of their commitments but, perhaps, not their spirit.