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

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

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read