Edelman Public Affairs - BC Throne Speech & Budget
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Edelman Public Affairs - BC's Fall 2017 Legislative Sitting
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Notícias e política
What did the BC NDP accomplish in its first legislative session? Edelman Vancouver’s Public Affairs team weighs in on some highlights, what’s next, and how it all unfolded. To learn more about Edelman, please visit www.edelman.ca.
Edelman Public Affairs - BC's Fall 2017 Legislative Sitting
BC’S FALL 2017
DECEMBER 2017 UPDATE
The second session of BC’s 41st Parliament wrapped up on November 30th
John Horgan’s cabinet won’t break for the holidays just yet. Sixteen bills were
enacted since the NDP came to power this summer, a slower start compared
to the BC Liberals’ 25-per-sitting average. A number of burning files remain on
the Premier’s desk—namely, the government’s decision to go ahead with BC’s
multibillion-dollar Site C Dam project.
To give credit where it is due, Horgan’s steady approach to legislation this
fall saw his government deliver on major campaign commitments such as
reforming campaign finance laws—a key part of Premier Horgan’s promise
to get “big money” out of BC politics.
The next sitting of this parliament, which will require a more aggressive
push to satisfy the NDP-Green Accord, is set to kick-off in February with
the government’s first full budget, a new opposition leader to critique it, a
$10.7 billion energy project to manage, and, consequently, a more complicated
relationship with the BC Greens.
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Following the legislature’s November 30th
wrap-up, the NDP Caucus has been
burning the midnight oil in preparation for Monday’s decision on their most
contentious file to date: Site C. The government’s approval of the project will
undoubtedly fracture a large portion of the party’s base and strain relations with
Andrew Weaver and the BC Greens.
Premier Horgan, in what he said was the toughest decision of his career,
acknowledged that it was not based on whether the project should have been
started in the first place, but rather the impact it would have on BC taxpayers—
and that, he said, is “a price we’re not willing to pay.” Cancelling the project, the
government said, would put British Columbians on the hook for an immediate
and unavoidable $4-billion bill—with nothing in return—resulting in rate hikes or
reduced funds for schools, hospitals and infrastructure.
As part of the government’s new Site C Turnaround Plan, a Project Assurance
Board will be created to oversee future contract procurement and management,
project deliverables, environmental integrity and quality assurance to deliver
the project on time (in 2024) and on budget (now $10.7 billion).
The government will also establish a BC Food Security Fund—derived from
future Site C revenues—to support agricultural innovation in BC; start a
community benefits program to assist local communities with reaping the
benefits of the megaproject; and increase the number of apprentices and First
Nations workers hired onto the project.
“This government promised to be better than the B.C. Liberals. On this issue, the NDP government’s approach has turned out to be no
Andrew Weaver, MLA and BC Green Party Leader
“For decades, our province has benefited from reliable hydroelectric power. In fact, many resource industries in British Columbia today are built on this
competitive advantage, and many new industries, such as the burgeoning tech sector, stand to benefit moving forward.”
Ian Black, President and CEO, Vancouver Board of Trade
BC’s Attorney General, Hon. David Eby, led the legislative push in government,
introducing eight of the 16 government bills enacted, including the Electoral
Reform Referendum 2018 Act; the Lobbyist Registration Amendment Act; and
the Election Amendment Act.
There were also 11 Members’ Bills introduced, two from BC Liberal MLAs and nine
from BC Green MLAs, all of which rest in First or Second Reading until the legislature
sits again next year. One of which, Ridesharing Enabling and Increased Taxi
Occupancy Act will continue to weigh heavily on the governing NDP, who broke
their promise to bring ridesharing to BC before the end of 2017.
THE RUN DOWN
“We passed a number of key bills. We worked on a number of
initiatives that we laid out in our platform, and we have much
more to do.”
– Hon. John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
The largest victory for BC’s opposition—a positive decision on Site C—came
11 days after the session ended. In the house, interim leader Rich Coleman’s
BC Liberal caucus had repeatedly called upon the government to defend BC’s
resource-based economy, capitalize on existing energy and infrastructure
projects championed under their watch, and protect skilled-trades jobs.
Opposition attention will gradually shift to the future of their party and
the BC Liberal Party Leadership Election scheduled for February 1-3, 2018.
Former BC Liberal ministers Mike de Jong, Sam Sullivan, Andrew Wilkinson
and Todd Stone will continue jockeying for party endorsements alongside
newly elected caucus member Michael Lee, while former Surrey Mayor and
M.P. Dianne Watts, who recently became a BC Liberal member, looks to
emerge as a new voice for the party.
The leadership vote’s preferential ballot system—much like the proportional
representation model the NDP and Green caucuses hope to implement—
allocates the same number of “points” to each of BC’s 87 ridings, meaning
once again, name recognition in the Northern, Island, Interior or Metro
Vancouver areas alone will not be enough to decide the outcome.
“We’re in the midst of a very significant change in BC politics…
the fundamental question I believe in this race is: what kind
of leadership do we want for our province?”
– Todd Stone, MLA and BC Liberal Leadership candidate