Resource sector, rural B.C. excluded from Throne Speech: Peace River MLAs

Peace River MLAs feel rural B.C., and the resource sector were notably absent in the recent Throne Speech. 

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A wood paneled room with a Canadian and BC flag on either side of a black, leather seat.
The Throne in the BC Legislative Assembly (BC Legislative Assembly)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Peace River MLAs feel rural B.C. and the resource sector were notably absent in the recent Throne Speech

Delivered by Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin, the Throne Speech credited B.C.’s resource sector as a massive player in the province’s record-breaking revenue this year. 

Despite this, Peace River North MLA Dan Davies said the resource sector was barely mentioned in the Throne Speech, with some categories like oil and gas never being brought up. 

“A half a line about forestry, mainly talking about switching gears on what forestry looks like. A half a sentence on mining, basically saying, nope, mining’s going good. A half a sentence on farming, [with] no mention of the oil and gas sector.” 

South Peace MLA Mike Bernier also noted the narrow scope of an area the speech addressed, saying mentions of rural B.C. were rare. 

“It was really focusing on downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Island. So when I get my chance to speak to the Throne Speech, that’s what I’ll be hammering government on,” Bernier said. 

“They have to look outside the window and understand that there’s more British Columbia than just what we have down here.” 

Davies also mentioned he would be hammering the government on its promise to focus on rural roads and bridges in the address, particularly regarding the Taylor Bridge. 

For Bernier, the Throne Speech this year seemed like less of a map forward and more of a list of things that were wrong. 

“Usually, the Throne Speech is supposed to be about a forward-looking visionary document to say what government’s gonna do over the next 12 months,” Bernier said. 

“And this Throne Speech really didn’t do any of that.” 

Looking into the rest of the year, though, Davies said he and the BC Liberals would continue to do their job as the opposition. 

“Our job obviously as opposition is to make sure that we hold them to account and that they do things in the best interest of not just the Lower Mainland, but you know, Peace River North, and rural and northern B.C.” 

The NDP’s Throne Speech promised this year’s projected budget surplus of $6 million would go towards supporting B.C. residents in the face of an economic slowdown. 

The speech also rejected the idea that B.C. should respond to the upcoming slowdown by cutting services while some residents were still struggling after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The speech stated the upcoming budget would put focus on public healthcare, housing, and the cost-of-living crises.

The 2023 Throne Speech was delivered on February 6th, 2023, and can be viewed on the Province of BC’s Youtube channel

With files from The Canadian Press

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