Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Throne Speech brings shout out for Prince Rupert as NDP Government recounts accomplishments; prepares path to election call of the fall

The British Columbia Legislature resumed its work on Tuesday, the call for Members first to dissolve the old session at the noon hour. 

Wth the 4th session of the 42nd prorogued and left for the history books, it was on  to 2 PM to take in the presentation of Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin as she delivered the government's views of the state of governance in the province.

The Speech from the Throne with served to introduce the final session for the 42nd Parliament was one part victory tour of past NDP government works, mixed with a preview of an election campaign ahead.

The speech telegraphed some of the measures that the government has planned in what will be a very active few months in Victoria, with some 20 bill expected to make it to the finish line before the spring session ends on May 16th.

The main focus for the 41 minute address to accentuate the positives, among them:

"The B.C. government’s actions are working: 74,000 mostly private-sector jobs created last year; a 30% year-over-year increase in new rental homes registered; 700 additional doctors now practising in family medicine in B.C.; a 75% decrease in stranger attacks in Vancouver; and hundreds of thousands receiving help from cost-of-living measures, like free prescription contraception. 

The throne speech also shared stories of people who are being helped by measures taken over the last year to increase the supply of affordable homes, improve health care with more family doctors and better cancer screening, add new addiction treatment beds, and cut the cost of child care for families."

Infrastructure Assistance to communities also made for a portion of the address, including some words for Prince Rupert. With the Lieutenant-Governor speaking to the assistance towards the city's infrastructure issues from 2023. 

Something likely to have had Mayor Herb Pond nodding along from his seat in the gallery for the Speech on Tuesday.

"Just over a year ago, Prince Rupert had to issue a state of emergency, and crews worked through the holidays after a major line break threatened the community’s water supply.  

Today, your government is helping the city replace crucial sections of its aging water-distribution system to ensure people there have safe drinking water."-- Lieutenant-Governor Janet Austin in Tuesday's Speech from the Throne 

The blueprint towards the fall election was also part of the commentary from the Lieutenant Governor, the notes reflecting the themes we are likely to see take prominence through the Spring  and summer on the way to the October 19th election.

From those key elements, the narrative for the 2024 election seems cast, with the Premier observing following the Speech of the choices that British Columbians will have come the fall.

“In this time of global uncertainty and turmoil, we face some important questions.” 

Will we be a province where people are driven apart and left to face tough challenges alone? 

Or will we continue to be a place where people take care of each other and build a better future together? 

If we reject division and bring people together to solve problems, our brightest days are ahead of us.” -- British Columbia Premier David Eby

British Columbians will learn more about the NDP government's plans and how the Eby Government will finance it all on Thursday, that is when Finance Minister Katrine Conroy will deliver the 2024 Budget.

With the Government's talking points now established and relayed through a statement following the speech from the Throne, the next few days will bring responses from the Opposition Parties, who will also be staking out their turf for the election to come.

The full text of the Speech from the Throne can be reviewed here.

The full ceremony and the Lieutenant Governor's  address can be viewed here.

More notes from the Legislature can be explored through our archive page.  

How the provincial media and political pundits view the speech can be reviewed later tonight through our political portal D'Arcy McGee


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