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

Revelstoke Grizzlies 8-0, playing at home on Saturday

The Grizzlies are 8-0 so far in the regular season after another… Continue reading

Election 2018: Second candidate for mayor joins the conversation

Darcy Wyonzek is running to be Revelstoke’s mayor

Mt. Begbie Brewery creates bread beer from food waste

The brew aims to raise food waste awareness and provide funds for the food bank

Okanagan College looks to reduce natural gas consumption

The college’s natural gas consumption has dropped 51.7 per cent in a decade

Near head-on collision near Revelstoke prompts RCMP to tell motorists to slow down

Quick acting by one driver likely saved many lives say RCMP

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Documentary series investigates missing North Okanagan women

APTN Investigates: Dark Valley airs Oct. 19

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

Dad files Charter challenge after B.C. bans kids from taking transit unsupervised

Adrian Crook is taking his fight to B.C. Supreme Court

B.C. VIEWS: Cast your municipal vote for sanity on homelessness

Thousands on waiting list while anti-capitalist bullies get priority

Police investigate alleged arson at Toronto hotel housing asylum seekers

Police believe the fire was started intentionally, but they have not spelled out a possible motive

Most Read