Stressing ‘people first,’ the NDP government delivered its much-awaited Throne speech today.
“The problems facing people today are the result of past choices, where only a few benefited while families fell further behind,” said Premier John Horgan, in a statement. “Our government will focus its decisions and actions on making life better for people to help families get ahead.”
Premier Horgan said that this is a critical and unique moment in B.C.’s history, as two parties come together with a shared commitment to make sure government acts on the priorities of British Columbians. As well, the government is fully committed to a new partnership with First Nations and all Indigenous communities, and will embrace the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“This is a foundation for progress that has not been seen before in this province,” Horgan said. “We will build on this foundation with renewed energy, hope and optimism to deliver a government that works for all British Columbians.”
The throne speech sets out three priorities for B.C.:
1. Make life more affordable for British Columbians. With action already taken on removing bridge tolls, helping reduce poverty by increasing income assistance and disability rates, and making university and college tuition free for former children in care, the government will move this fall to:
- Make housing more affordable by closing fixed-term loopholes on leases to close the door on unfair rent increases and increasing the stock of affordable housing around the province.
- Establish a fair wages commission with the goal of delivering a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
- Fixing significant problems at ICBC and BC Hydro, while containing costs for British Columbians.
2. Improve services for British Columbians, with action being taken in the coming months to:
- Restore proper funding to schools to give students the resources and supports they need to succeed.
- Promote and protect quality public health care, including tackling B.C.’s overdose crisis and expanding treatment for people living with addictions.
- Get people moving by providing people with disabilities access to the transportation supports they need, including an annual bus pass for those who want one, and working with communities and the federal government on new transit and transportation projects.
3. Help build a strong, sustainable economy, where all British Columbians share in the benefits of the province’s resources, innovation and talent by:
- Continuing to sustainably support traditional industries, including forestry, mining, agriculture and aquaculture, as well as natural gas development.
- Moving to make B.C. a world leader in engineered wood products and value-added resource innovation.
- Delivering a new capital investment plan that will focus on building new schools, hospitals, roads and more, and helping to create well-paying jobs throughout the province.