This week, my caucus colleagues and I returned to the Legislature for a brief two-week session before the Christmas holidays.
As this marks the first session since the provincial election, proceedings opened with the Throne Speech. Traditionally an opportunity for government to highlight its accomplishments and map out its goals for the coming months and years, this latest Throne Speech rang rather hollow in the House— and not just because only a handful of MLAs got to hear it in person due to the pandemic. Rather than presenting bold ideas to help British Columbians and our provincial economy recover, the NDP’s carefully-crafted speech failed to address the numerous concerns that families and small business owners are currently facing.
The government has also made it known that it intends to bring just one bill forward for debate this session, which will deal with a one-time relief payment for eligible British Columbians. There has been no indication that the government has any longer-term economic recovery plan, which is incredibly alarming. Where are the promised supports and stimulus for our ailing tourism and hospitality sector, and for small business owners struggling to stay afloat? Plans for the resource sector? Plans to attract investment? No plans apparently.
The government is also behind on delivering its Second Quarterly Update—and we’ve learned the new B.C. Finance Minister may delay delivering the 2021 provincial budget by weeks. For a
government that claims to prize transparency and openness, all we’re seeing are more and more information gaps.
What is clear is that John Horgan put our legislative progress on hold to trigger his snap election in the fall— and now shows little interest in doing any actual governing now that he’s secured
his majority government.
As members of the Official Opposition, we plan to use this brief Legislative session to hold the government to account and ask the tough questions British Columbians want answered. This
holiday season is going to bring some unprecedented challenges for B.C. families and it’s high time this government started using its time a little more wisely.