Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon delivers the 2015 throne speech at the B.C. legislature Tuesday.

Premier defends stand-pat throne speech

Opposition leader John Horgan says Christy Clark government still obsessed with red tape despite Mount Polley dam failure

VICTORIA – The B.C. government presented a cautious preview of the coming year with its speech from the throne Tuesday, predicting a rural revival through industrial growth while lowering expectations for mining and natural gas exports.

Read by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to begin the spring legislature session, the speech announced the formation of a rural advisory committee to “provide independent and impartial advice on helping rural B.C. increase opportunities, manage growth and meet its full potential in communities big and small.”

Premier Christy Clark said the government has important tasks ahead, such as starting construction on the $8 billion Site C hydroelectric dam and revamping the education system to fill an anticipated skills gap.

“We’re sticking to the plan, and we’ve been successful with that plan,” Clark told reporters. “I know it doesn’t make great headlines in the newspapers, but I don’t think we want to change so we can help you get a news story.”

The speech referred to five new mines opening since 2011, but avoided mention of northeast coal mines that have closed due to low commodity prices that also threaten the operation of metal mines in B.C.

NDP leader John Horgan questioned Clark’s intention to keep cutting “red tape,” an obsession of the B.C. Liberals since 2001.

“They cut red tape at Mount Polley,” Horgan said of gaps in inspection that predated the collapse of the mine’s tailings dam last summer.

As the government continues to await investment decisions for liquefied natural gas facilities, the speech notes that LNG “could create 100,000 jobs and the revenues to eliminate our debt,” adding that exports are needed to maintain a gas industry that already employs 13,000 people.

Much of the speech touts earlier achievements, including the carbon tax on fuels and a settlement with B.C. public school teachers after a bitter strike last year.

The government confirmed it is about to table a third straight balanced budget on Feb. 17, and hinted at new spending aimed at expanding the economy.

The government also plans to launch a new “medal of good citizenship” to recognize those who donate their time and money to improve their communities.

Just Posted

Four charges approved in Saanich hit and run that left woman in coma

‘This was a significant crash that caused serious injuries,’ say police

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

Tour de Rock kicks off on Saturday morning

The 22nd annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock ride will take two weeks to complete

One-man Frankenstein show coming to Craigdarroch Castle

The Halloween special will kick off at the beginning of October

MISSING: Victoria man Cameron Johnston

VicPD are looking for a missing 36-year-old man

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

Most Read