B.C. Lt. Gov. Janet Austin presents the NDP government’s speech from the throne at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 12, 2019. (Hansard TV)

Kootenay East MLA says throne speech ‘an opportunity missed’

Speech doesn’t have much detail on growing the provincial economy, says Tom Shypitka

Despite running into travel difficulties with flights and an unexpected road trip due to a massive snowstorm, Tom Shypitka was able catch a livestream of Tuesday’s Throne Speech while on the ferry to Vancouver Island.

However, the Kootenay East MLA says he wasn’t impressed, after having a chance to review the transcript.

“It was a real snoozer,” Shypitka said. “It was disappointing and an opportunity missed.”

Shypitka, with the B.C. Liberal Party, says the throne speech is an opportunity for government to showcase a vision and a plan for the future, but argued that Tuesday’s speech was light on details.

“I think this government is so on the edge, they can’t push anything forward with any kind of contention, because they’re afraid of losing government,” Shypitka said, referencing the confidence and supply agreement with the New Democrat Party and the B.C. Green Party, which enables majority status in the legislature over the B.C. Liberals, who are in opposition.

The speech hit on a number of topics touting the government’s action on affordability issues over the last few years, such as cutting Medical Services Premiums by half, and eliminating them entirely this year, a $7 billion investment over 10 years for housing announced last year, and a $1 billion investment over three years for childcare.

READ: B.C. government aims to stop concert ticket, payday loan gouging

Further topics included a $900 million investment announced last year to build, expand and upgrade schools, hiring more teachers, addressing the opioid crisis and tackling mental health and addictions issues.

Shypitka lamented a lack of detail on natural resource-based issues, which form a major part of the East Kootenay economy.

“There is nothing there about growing this province, there’s nothing on tourism,” Shypitka said. “I’m the mining critic; there was nothing on mining and keeping us competitive and how we can use our competitive advantage to be world leaders and responsible global leaders, there’s nothing there. No plans on the forest industry.

“The only thing they mentioned about oil and gas was about LNG Canada, which they probably pumped their chest on, came off the backs of a lot of hard work from the B.C. Liberal government for 16 years and, quite honestly, something they fought, and now they’re taking credit.”

A $40 billion Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project was approved last October in Kitimat, after years of navigating through provincial and federal regulations.

The Throne Speech also addresssed reconciliation, noting that the province will be introducing legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this year to bring provincial laws into harmony with it.

Given the last two wildfire seasons have been the worst on record, the Throne Speech noted the govenrment has invested $50 million over the next three years for wildfire prevention for First Nations and local governments.

In a news release, B.C. Premier John Horgan took aim at the previous B.C. Liberal government while highlighting action that the NDP has taken over the last year and a half.

“People deserve the opportunity to build a good life in the communities they call home, with housing and child care they can afford, quality public services, like health care and education, good jobs and a better future,” said Horgan. “For years, choices were made for the few at the top, while life became more difficult for everyone else. Our government is making different choices and working to build a better B.C. for everyone.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Council approves metal eagle sculpture at Harmony Park

A metal sculpture of an eagle will soon adorne Harmony Park alongside… Continue reading

2020 BC Curling Championships underway in Cranbrook

The 2020 BC Curling Championships are underway at Western Financial Place in… Continue reading

Cranbrook grappling with shortage in childcare spaces, educators

It’s no secret Cranbrook is in crisis when it comes to the… Continue reading

Kimberley/Cranbrook entertainment listings

Pictured above: The cast of Cranbrook Community Theatre’s “The Fighting Days,” which… Continue reading

Cranbrook Bucks sign first player to team

The Key City’s newest hockey franchise has begun to take shape as… Continue reading

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read