Just hours ahead of this afternoon’s throne speech, NDP leader John Horgan spoke bluntly about his thoughts on Premier Christy Clark’s speech yesterday.
“You can’t erase a 16-year record of increasing costs for people, reducing service for those very same people, continuing to take massive amounts of corporate money, continuing to exist as a government that was detached from the people of this province. You can’t change after an election, you have to change before an election… I believe they no longer represent and reflect the values of this diverse and dynamic province.”
The Liberals will present the throne speech today at 2 PM.
Horgan began this morning’s conference with “this afternoon, we’ll get a glimpse at the NDP throne speech,” speaking to Clark’s recent change of heart in many policies.
“We’re going to hear from the Lieutenant Governor, she’s going to read a speech that has no connection whatsoever to the record of the BC liberals, no connection whatsoever to what the BC Liberals ran on in the last campaign and it is our intention at the earliest opportunity to seek a confidence vote, dismiss the government, and move on to put in place the government will work for people,” says Horgan.
Clark announced plans to eliminate corporate donations, drastically improve child care, and invest putting more money into the environment during a BC Liberal Women’s Lunch Wednesday. She also said this speech will mention new policies of eliminating big money from politics.
“Everything I’ve heard from the Liberals we’ve campaigned on, so I have every expectation on big money: for example, we will be moving quickly, upon forming a government and recalling the legislature, we will move quickly to ban big money and politics in British Columbia.”
The biggest takeaway from Clark’s Wednesday speech was her announcement to invest $1 billion into childcare. Although she didn’t share too many details, she did predict the money would mean 73,000 more child care spaces over four years, serious service subsidies, and 4,000 bursaries for aspiring workers.
“Child care was something that we not just campaigned on but talked about for the past 18 months,” says Horgan, “It’s critically important to families and the economy and now the BC liberals support that position, that I’m hopeful then that should get the opportunity in the weeks ahead to form a government that they will give their full support to a child care plan that will make life more affordable for people in BC.”
Despite the Liberals tabling a balanced budget, Clark says the new money was found in recent surpluses thanks to the strong economy.
The Liberals’ top priority after resuming the Legislature Wednesday was to name a new Speaker of the House, a position Kelowna-Mission MLA and former Forests Minster Steve Thompson was appointed.
Horgan calls Thompson a “quality guy” and a “man of the highest integrity.”
“I’m not convinced that he doesn’t take this responsibility very, very seriously, not as a week-long adventure but a commitment to the entire parliament.”
He adds a man of Thompson’s caliber is “ideal for this uncertain time that the Liberals want to create.”
Moving forward, Working together
It’s the first time in over 50 years the province has a minority government. Horgan believes the MLAs can make this work, even if it means collaborating with other party members.
“Anyone who suggests that the House will not work doesn’t want the house to work. We have 24 new members; they’ve all come here excited about making life better for people in their committee, whether they’re Liberals, Greens or New Democrats, and the House will last as long as the members want it to last.”
“Often times, people say, before an election, ‘I hope we get a minority because then they’ll have to work together,’ well we’ve got that. I’m anxious, the Green caucus is anxious, and I bet they’re so goodly number of Liberals, who are anxious to do that as well.”
One thing both Clark and Horgan could agree on, British Columbians do not want another election.