Premier Christy Clark and B.C. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon meet at the B.C. legislature for presentation of the government's throne speech Tuesday.

VIDEO: Pre-election throne speech hints at tax cut

Premier Christy Clark names David Emerson new US trade envoy, promises more addiction treatment beds




Premier Christy Clark’s pre-election throne speech promises the BC Liberal government’s fifth straight balanced budget, while providing “financial relief” to taxpayers and increasing health and education funding.

Surplus government revenue provides the means, says the speech, read Tuesday by B.C. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to open the last session of the B.C. legislature before the May 9 provincial election.

“That money belongs to you,” the speech says, taking credit for growth in the technology and tourism industries as well as provincial spending control for B.C.’s nation-leading job creation. Recent surpluses have mainly been driven by increased population growth and income taxes, most of which has taken place in the urban southwest.

Taking questions from reporters after the speech, Clark wouldn’t specify what kind of tax relief is coming in the Feb. 21 budget, but she ruled out sending cheques out to individuals.

“What you’re going to see in the coming weeks is a contrast in the legislature between those who’d like to take the surplus and grow government, make it bigger, figure out how they can spend your money better than you can, and those of us who believe that when we have a surplus, it means we are taking too much money from people in their taxes,” Clark said.

The speech opens with a warning about “a weak global economy, [and] the rising tide of protectionism in the United States and Europe.” Clark has named a new trade representative to Washington DC, former federal cabinet minister and Canfor CEO David Emerson.

“We are very fortunate to add his experience and expertise to our softwood lumber team as we stand up for B.C.’s forestry workers,” Clark said in a statement.

In health care, the government promises to meet its commitment to add 500 new addiction treatment beds by the end of March. Health spending will continue to grow in the budget to be revealed Feb. 21, reaching $19 billion by 2018.

The government repeats its commitment to add more teachers in response to a 15-year court battle over class size, decided in favour of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation late last year.

NDP leader John Horgan said with 80 days to go before an election, a vague promise to give people back some of their own money doesn’t address the deficiencies of the BC Liberal government.

“We all know that every day is Valentine’s day when you’re a donor to the BC Liberal Party,” Horgan said. “Unfortunately British Columbians today received a chocolate box with an IOU in it.”

Just Posted

Firefighters come to the rescue of Langley stroke survivors

Hope After Stroke receives major infusion after Cruise-In donation falls short of expectation.

Cloverdale banker shares his love of swing dancing

Cloverdale’s Phillip Kunz shows dancing newcomers how to get into the swing of things

Woman charged in Abbotsford mall stabbing served time for 2001 killing

Victim in Edmonton killing was stabbed eight times with kitchen knife

Trial date scheduled for man charged with killing Abbotsford officer

Oscar Arfmann slated to go to trial in New Westminster in January 2019

All welcome to go on Whoo’s Hoot Owl Prowl in South Langley

Evening event focuses on owls at Campbell Valley Regional Park

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read