B.C. Lt. Gov. Janet Austin presents the NDP government’s speech from the throne at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 12, 2019. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Lt. Gov. Janet Austin presents the NDP government’s speech from the throne at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 12, 2019. (Hansard TV)

Opponents, business group pan John Horgan’s throne speech

Pitch on federally regulated cellphone costs questioned

Premier John Horgan is showing a lack of direction with a throne speech that highlighted his desire to reduce cellphone rates and do something about scalpers snapping up live event tickets, B.C. opposition leaders say.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson noted that it was 20 minutes into the speech before the word “jobs” was mentioned.

“The premier himself admitted that people in this province are working two and three jobs and still can’t get ahead,” Wilkinson said after the speech was read to open the spring session of the B.C. legislature.

“There was nothing of any substance in this throne speech about how to make life better for British Columbians except a few token things like cellphone bills, which are purely federal jurisdiction, and an attempt to reduce the cost of concert tickets.

“This is a government that’s spent all its money already, that is running out of gas, and we’re gravely concerned because there are a lot of economic storm clouds on the horizon throughout the world.”

That view was echoed by Greg D’Avignon, president of the Business Council of B.C.

“Where is the future economic growth necessary to sustain families and communities across the province going to come from?” D’Avignon said. “As economic activity continues to shift away from frothy housing markets and debt-financed consumption, we need to redouble efforts to build ‘tradeable’ industries that can generate export earnings and support good jobs.”

RELATED: Throne speech promises action on money laundering

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver called the speech “a bit of a laundry list” of initiatives. He said he is pleased the NDP government is carrying on with its “Clean BC” climate and new technology plan, which the Greens used their balance of power to have a strong hand in.

“Although ironically, immediately following that, they start talking about LNG,” Weaver said. “Of course we’ve made it very clear to government that we have no intention of supporting any legislation this session that would enable the generational sellout embodied in LNG.”

One legislative change that will be needed is to fulfill Horgan’s promise to repeal the LNG income tax imposed by the Christy Clark government. But the LNG Canada project at Kitimat is years away from production of liquefied natural gas that would generate income.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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