B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)

B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

The B.C. Liberal Party is going to “take some time to look back” at the setbacks of the October election before launching into a leadership contest, interim leader Shirley Bond says.

Meanwhile, the 19-year veteran MLA for Prince George-Valemount is urging Premier John Horgan to continue working with opposition parties on the response to COVID-19 when the B.C. legislature convenes Dec. 7 for a session expected to last no more than two weeks.

The main business of the brief post-election sitting will be voting on spending authority for about $1.4 billion to send out COVID-19 aid payments to individuals and households with income up to $125,000 a year. Speaking reporters in a video conference Nov. 24, a day after being elected interim leader by the 28-member caucus, Bond declined so say if the B.C. Liberals will support payments of up to $1,000 for households and $500 for individuals, whether they have lost income due to the pandemic or not.

MLAs are being sworn in this week for jobs that currently pay $111,000 a year, which would make some of them eligible for the payments that were a key election promise from Horgan. With the province’s deficit already expected to be nearly $13 billion, B.C. Liberals must decide if they will vote against the measure, a formality as they face a 57-seat NDP majority.

They also will consider if they will take the money themselves, a subject Bond expects will generate “vigorous debate” in private.

“We are going to ask for specific details as the issue is presented, and I don’t think it’s something we should expect will simply be marched into the house and marched out the door,” Bond said. “When you’re talking about spending at that magnitude, let me be clear. We want to support British Columbians as well, we want to make sure that resources are provided to families and businesses that needs them, but there needs to be transparency, accountability, and that’s the kind of discussion we’ll have in the caucus room.”

RELATED: B.C. legislature resuming to vote on COVID-19 payments

RELATED: Latest COVID-19 restrictions ‘starting to show results’

On the pandemic response, Bond said the latest business restrictions announced by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s are an example of what the opposition needs to get to work on.

“We have restaurants concerned, we have churches that are concerned, we have live theatre companies that are concerned, and much of that relates to confusion,” Bond said. “This isn’t about criticism of Dr. Henry. We admire the work that she’s done, and certainly [health minister] Adrian Dix has done a capable job. Having said that, we have a role to play. I hope we can do that in a respectful but probing way, and I think you’ll see that emerge in the days ahead.”

Horgan’s cabinet is to be sworn in Nov. 26, as MLAs take their oaths of office, mostly by remote video conference. B.C. Green MLAs Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen were sworn in in person Monday, with strict limits on the number of people in attendance.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Flip City’s Elise Van Harmelen at the 2017 Langley Invitational at the Langley Events Centre. Flip City is one of 11 local sports groups getting COVID relief funding. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley sports clubs get COVID relief funding

The province is giving cash to groups hit hard by shutdowns

The first tree – a Sitka spruce – in the second phase of Fort Langley’s Memory Grove was planted on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 21. (Kurt Alberts/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Second phase of Memory Grove planted at Fort Langley

The first trees started going into the ground on Thursday, Jan. 21

B.C. MInisterial Order 425 and the list of permitted exemptions to wearing face masks in retail businesses and other public spaces. (B.C. Government website)
LETTER: Langley newspaper criticized for doing story on maskless encounter

Local letter writer shares opinion on video of unmasked man in grocery store

Two schools in the Langley School District have reported COVID-19 exposures. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Two Langley schools added to COVID-19 exposure list

Public Health will only contact those who were exposed

Jessica Simpson speaking to Langley Township council as a delegate in 2019. (Township of Langley/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Health privacy breach claimed by controversial Langley woman

Jessica Simpson is suing Fraser Health over an alleged breach in her health info

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read