New British Columbia Premier David Eby has been sworn in and immediately announced a $100 cost-of-living credit for residents on their electricity bills.
Eby has also established a BC Affordability Credit for low- and middle-income residents starting in January that will provide up to $164 for adults and $41 for children.
He said Friday that people and small businesses in the province are feeling the squeeze of global inflation and his government is focused on helping those most affected by the rising costs.
The one-time cost-of-living credit will be applied automatically to residents’ BC Hydro bills this fall.
The NDP government said in a news release that the Crown-owned utility is able to afford the credit due to market conditions that resulted in increased trade and domestic revenues.
The announcements came as Eby was sworn in as the province’s 37th premier at the Musqueam Community Centre in Vancouver, the first-ever swearing-in of a premier hosted by a First Nation in B.C.
Eby, 46, replaces fellow New Democrat John Horgan, who announced last June he was leaving office due to health concerns.
The premier said while B.C. is a wonderful place to call home, people are feeling uncertain about their futures and are worried about their families.
“I’m proud of the work done by John Horgan and our government to put people first. And there’s so much more to do. I’m ready to get to work with my team to deliver results that people will be able to see and feel in their lives and in their communities.”
Eby was led into the community centre by First Nations drums.
Before the swearing-in, he took part in a Musqueam blanketing ceremony, and was told to use it as a warm embrace from the community when he’s feeling frustrated or sad.
Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow welcomed the crowd gathered for the event, and thanked Eby’s wife, Dr. Cailey Lynch, and his two children, acknowledging that their father would be taken away to work on behalf of the province.
Joy MacPhail, the chair of the BC Ferries board and a former NDP cabinet minister, said that Eby is considerate, measured and open to innovative ideas. He’s fearless when it comes to bold action and is the person you want on your side, she said.
“I’m confident that David has what it takes to deliver the results that make this province better for every single one of us.”
Horgan told the crowd he never thought he would see the day that a B.C. New Democrat premier would be passing the baton to another New Democrat premier.
Horgan said when he became leader of the party, the first thing he did was turn to the tallest person he could find and pile work on his shoulders. Eby is six-foot-seven.
He said he piled even more work on Eby when the New Democrats took power.
“On this day, on the 18th of November, I proudly and unreservedly turn to the tallest guy in the room and say, congratulations Premier Eby, it’s going to be a great ride, we’ve done much, we have more to do.”
After taking the oaths of office administered by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin, Eby singled out Horgan, praising him for his record, including winning a majority government in 2020.
“I’m not as tall as I look, because I’m standing on the shoulders of John Horgan.”
The Canadian Press