B.C. plans ticket sale reform, poverty plan and trust restoration at legislature
Tuesday’s speech from the throne was delivered without the pomp and circumstance typically reserved for the day, as MLAs headed back to Victoria amid a spending scandal engulfing the legislature.
- WATCH: Throne speech from B.C.'s lieutenant governor
- Read the full throne speech on the province's website
While the day is usually filled with lots of pageantry, with the Esquimalt base closed due to snow, there was no band, cannons, or honour guard.
Once inside the chamber, as per tradition the Lieutenant Governor delivered the speech, which includes priorities for the government.
The 2019 speech also touched on hot button issues, promising action to curb money laundering, increased transparency at the legislature and the implementation of ride-hailing.
On money laundering, the speech states, "Your government will identify the structural causes of money laundering to hold accountable those who are responsible."
So far, the government has rejected calls to launch a public inquiry.
Last week, in an interview with CTV, Speaker Darryl Plecas said he believed elected officials had broken the law.
The throne speech acknowledged trust in public institutions was shaken and promised steps to address it.
The government also highlighted continued action on housing and child care affordability, new legislation to address indigenous rights, as well as consumer protections.
Some key promises include:
- speeding up approvals for rental projects,
- maintaining a freeze on ferry fares,
- crackdowns on payday loans and event ticket sales,
- increased transparency in cellphone billing,
- as well as help for university students to be detailed in the upcoming budget.
With two crown corporations struggling, the government says it will continue to take action to keep ICBC affordable.
The pledge comes a day after Attorney General David Eby said the public insurer was on track to lose more than a billion dollars this year after a similar loss the previous year.
"British Columbians are entitled to universally available, high-quality public auto insurance coverage at the lowest possible cost. Your government is determined to deliver," reads the speech.
A similar promise to protect BC Hydro ratepayers was also made.
The speech also revealed B.C. can expect new laws around access to universal childcare, and to address the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the upcoming legislature session.
A large part of the throne speech was dedicated to outlining actions the government is already taking including cuts to MSP premiums, and investments in education and healthcare.
Premier John Horgan is expected to address reporters around 3 p.m., and Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson is scheduled to give his reaction after that.