Trevena says Throne Speech doesn’t inspire

Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon opened the fifth session of parliament last week with her Speech from the Throne, which traditionally addresses issues in the province the government plans to take on going forward. In an election year, the Throne Speech also generally sets the tone for what the governing party’s platform will be for the upcoming election.

Guichon said the government “is taking action” on the opioid emergency, “and is ready to do more.”

She also said the government “will continue to work with municipalities to encourage greater supply of housing, including building more units, and creating smarter, greener communities, connected by transit.”

But the thing that has caught people’s attention, was the assertion that “the government is now in a position to take a further step to ease the financial burdens on its citizens,” because the “government’s plan to control spending, balance budgets, and pay down the debt has resulted in growing surpluses,” and the indication that they will be providing “financial relief to taxpayers” in the coming budget.

The Liberals will be looking for a fifth consecutive mandate from the people of B.C. this spring, but North Island MLA Claire Trevena says last week’s Throne Speech didn’t do anything to inspire the people of B.C. to let them have it.

She certainly doesn’t think a vague promise of a possible tax rebate of some kind is going to be enough.

“The thing about a Throne Speech,” Trevena says, “in a regular session, is that it’s a chance for the government to say, ‘this is what we’re going to do in the next few months,’ and in a pre-election one, well, we’ve got five weeks of debate we’re supposed to fill, so we’d like the government to say what they plan on doing and secondly it should be a chance to lay out their platform. Are they so bereft of ideas that they have nothing to say except ‘look out for the budget, because we’re going to give you a tax cut?’ That’s what it feels like.”

And the money that may or may not be coming back to the people of B.C. was theirs to start with, Trevena says.

“It’s money from the MSP increases that everyone’s been paying and from ICBC increases and the BC Hydro costs that everyone has seen increasing. That’s where the money has been coming from.”

Overall, she sees the Throne Speech as just one more signal that the government has no more plans for the future of B.C.

“There’s nothing in there that says to people, ‘we have a vision for this province. We know what we want to do. We know that there are people being left behind and people are being left out, and we want to bring them in and make sure that everybody can live a good life in B.C.’ and that isn’t there from this government.

“The people of B.C., if they’re looking at their choices in the coming election, will look at the Liberals and see they’ve run out of ideas,” she says.

“There are so many things that need to be done in this province,” she continues. “Whether it’s access to Internet, the cost of electricity, there’s a serious crisis in seniors’ care, there’s a crisis in funding education in the province, there are many things in the forest sector to help regenerate that industry – there are many, many things the government could take on and inspire people with to create a vision for the future, but instead, they’ve just said, ‘nope, we’re great. Everything’s just fine.’

“To me, it shows they’ve been in government far too long.”

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