B.C. Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin on Monday delivered a forward-looking speech from the throne, laying out actions the provincial government will take to tackle today’s biggest challenges and build a stronger, more secure future for everyone who calls B.C. home.
“Despite everything we’ve gone through over the past few years, British Columbians remain relentlessly optimistic about their province – and with good reason,” said Premier David Eby. “After all, it is the people of B.C. who got shots into arms, rebuilt highways after flooding, kept kids learning in schools and businesses thriving in difficult circumstances. Our government will build a stronger, more secure future with British Columbians, because there’s nothing we can’t accomplish or overcome when we work together.”
The speech focused on the issues that matter most to people with measures to help with rising costs, build more affordable homes, improve access to health care and mental-health care, and fight climate change, while training people for good-paying jobs in a cleaner economy.
While British Columbians have built the strongest recovery in the country, leading economists are predicting a global slowdown. The speech emphasized the important choices ahead to ensure security for people and families in the face of the likely economic storm.
“Some say we should respond to a downturn by pulling back, reducing services, or by making people pay out of pocket for private health care,” Eby said. “But that would only make many of our most serious challenges worse and pass down costs at a time when people can least afford it. There’s too much at stake right now to pull the rug out from under British Columbians. We couldn’t afford short-term thinking before – and we certainly can’t afford it now.”
Instead, the throne speech outlined the provincial government’s plan to carefully put last year’s significant surplus back to work for people and make investments that will pay off for generations to come. It also highlighted new laws that will be introduced to protect people who work hard and play by the rules: from speculators, organized crime and those who take advantage of the most vulnerable.
Highlights from the speech from the throne included:
* helping people with rising costs by introducing new measures targeted to support people hardest hit, including those with lower incomes and families with children;
* tackling the housing crisis by continuing to get tough on speculators, while launching a refreshed housing plan and increasing homes and services near transit hubs throughout the province;
* strengthening access to public health care after the pandemic by investing in new hospitals, a new medical school, better cancer care, substance treatment and recovery services, and getting internationally trained health professionals into B.C. clinics to provide care;
* making communities safer with actions to get violent offenders off the streets and new laws to crack down on gangs, money laundering and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images; and
* fighting climate change and building an economy for everyone by launching a new job skills plan, expanding low-cost clean-energy solutions, introducing a new pay-transparency law that moves B.C. closer to equal pay for equal work for women, and working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.