B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix said his party still has a lot to do before it will release an election platform.
During a visit to Prince George on Thursday, Dix said the party needs more time to analyze the provincial budget released Tuesday and examine the province's fiscal situation.
"People may think my approach is too methodical," Dix said. "There's a whole series of things that I would like to do that we will do and there's a whole series of things I would like to do that we can't afford to do. Those are the things we're analyzing right now."
With an election set for May 14, the Liberals are calling on the NDP to reveal more of their plans.
"We certainly understand that work is underway and probably has been done by the NDP, it's time for them to share that with British Columbians," Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said in a phone interview from Victoria. "We continually hear criticism and not one detailed plan about how they're actually going to govern British Columbia."
Dix pointed to the Liberals campaigns in 1996 and 2001 when they were in opposition and said they didn't release a full platform until the second week of the campaign.
"The standard the Liberal party has set, which I know they're complaining about these days, is late April," Dix said. "I think [this year's NDP platform release] would be sooner than that."
Dix wouldn't commit to a timeline for when the platform will come out.
"We're working on it now and when we come close to the work being completed we'll let people know," he said.
Dix came to town to recommit his party's pledge to restore Science World travelling road show and take shots at the Liberal budget.
During a speech at Exploration Place, Dix said his party will bring back the B.C. Program for Awareness and Learning of Science (BC PALS) which was launched in 2005 but was cancelled in 2012. Dix originally made the funding announcement in Vancouver on Feb. 11.
"We're not trying here to re-invent the wheel - although we might learn about inventing the wheel," Dix said. "We're talking about something that's succeeded, we're talking about priorities."
The program, which Dix said needs a $1 million annual grant from the government in addition to money Science World gets from other sources. He said the provincial money would come from a reduction in the government's advertising budget.
The program brings some exhibits from Science World's Vancouver facility to 150 communities across the province.
"People comment that this is not a big program in terms of cost, but it's a big program in terms of outcomes," Dix said.
As former education minister, Bond said she understands the importance of the BC PALS program and said it was a tough decision not to renew it.
"We are working extremely hard to make sure that we can afford the kinds of programs that are being promised," Bond said. "So yes, it was a very difficult decision."
Dix also continued his criticism of the budget presented by the Liberals on Tuesday. The NDP claims the books aren't balanced because the government took $150 million worth of expenses that would have normally appeared in this year's budget and moved them into last year's budget and are relying too much on asset sales.
He also said the budget didn't do enough for skills training, which his party said will be a priority if it forms government.
"The idea of cutting training during a skills shortage and responding simply by bringing in temporary foreign workers is simply the wrong response," Dix said.
Bond pointed to investments in skilled training the government has made in recent years, like the expansion of the College of New Caledonia in 2009 and the creation of the Northern Medical Program.
"We have a track record of investing record amounts of money in post-secondary education," she said.