VIDEO: Throne speech piles on PST cut, other promises

VIDEO: Throne speech piles on PST cut, other promises

NDP, Greens still preparing to defeat B.C. Liberals

HAPPENING NOW: Premier Christy Clark to address media after throne speech in the B.C. legislature.

Posted by Victoria News on Thursday, June 22, 2017

Premier Christy Clark’s last-minute embrace of child care, banning corporate and union donations and cancelling bridge tolls has only hardened the resolve of opposition MLAs to defeat the B.C. Liberal government at their earliest opportunity.

“It’s a question of trust,” said B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, whose three-member caucus has signed an agreement to support an NDP minority government. “Do you trust the B.C. Liberals when they are swinging like a pendulum?”

NDP leader John Horgan described Clark’s policy reversals as an “NDP throne speech,” after Clark added a $1billion child care expansion plan to the government’s agenda.

The throne speech adds a host of new promises to those already announced in recent days, including reducing the provincial sales tax to offset $5-a-tonne carbon tax increases that would begin annually in 2019.

The throne speech confirmed the political donation restriction plan, adding a promise to “ban funding to a provincial political party from a federal political party,” a measure aimed mainly at the NDP. The restrictions would also ban foreign donations and extend to local government elections.

The speech also promises a third referendum on electoral reform, after changes were voted down by the public in 2005 and 2009.

The child care promise includes 60,000 new spaces over four years, 150,000 spaces with full or partial subsidies, and grants and bursaries to train 4,000 new early childhood educators. The latest financial results show a larger surplus than forecast, the speech says.

Other promises in the speech, most of which were promises of the NDP or Green Party:

• a poverty reduction strategy focused on children

• a $100 a month increase in income assistance rates, and introduction of basic income support for youth aged 18 to 24 who are leaving government foster care

• a 30 per cent increase in RCMP drug enforcement officers to deal with opioid trafficking that has led to record overdose deaths

• a minister of state for mental health and expansion of services

• a 50-per-cent cut in Medical Services Plan premiums

• feasibility studies for new transit service to Maple Ridge, South Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Squamish, a promise to “pursue” light rail for the South Island, and transit improvements for Nanaimo, Kelowna, Kamloops and Prince George

• elimination of tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges and acceleration of the timetable to replace the Pattullo bridge

• doubling the Rural Economic Dividend program

As the house reconvened to elect former forests minister Steve Thomson to serve as speaker for as long as the B.C. Liberal government lasts, Horgan said he is confident the NDP can put up their own speaker and govern effectively.

He said once the B.C. Liberals lose a vote, he takes over as premier and names an NDP cabinet, it would likely be late August or early September before he can complete the transition of government and call the legislature again.

The first likely opportunity for a vote of non-confidence in the throne speech would be Thursday, June 29. Horgan said he will make a motion of non-confidence on Monday, but that would require unanimous support of all 87 MLAs.

BC Election 2017

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, says the municipality’s fire halls have responded to more fires than usual this spring. (File photo)
Dry weather, wind leads to more brushfires this spring in North Cowichan

‘Be safe. Be fire smart. Be situationally aware.’

This Earth Day, Cowichan Valley residents are being asked to clean up where they are. (File photo)
Cowichan ‘Clean Where You Are’ campaign starts on Earth Day

Take a bag, one glove, long tongs, and go pick up!

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Canadian driver Paul Tracy pulls out of the pits during the morning session at the Molson Indy in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, July 26, 2003 (CP/Richard Lam)
Vancouver is considering hosting a Formula E race using electric cars

The race would be part of a three-day event focused on climate and sustainability

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chart from the April 20 B.C. budget shows sharp dip in real estate sales early in the COVID-19 pandemic and the even steeper climb since late 2020. (B.C. government)
Hot B.C. housing market drives property transfer tax gains

B.C. budget boosts tobacco, sweet drinks, carbon taxes

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

B.C.’s 2021 budget is trending in the right direction to support farmers, says the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
BC Fruit Growers’ Association gives thumbs up to provincial budget

BCFGA general manager said budgetary investments put farming industry on a good trajectory for recovery

Some Saanich firefighters have expressed concerns about first responders in the Island Health Region not being prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as an outbreak at a fire station would make service delivery a challenge. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Some Island firefighters not prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine despite working on frontlines

Saanich members express frustration, department calls on Island Health to take action

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

Most Read