Lt. Governor Janet Austin takes oath to serve as the Queen’s representative in B.C., April 24, 2018. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Lt. Governor Janet Austin takes oath to serve as the Queen’s representative in B.C., April 24, 2018. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

B.C. throne speech predicts ‘better days ahead’ with COVID-19

Premier John Horgan vows health care, child care support

The B.C. government is promising to “ramp up investments” in child care and transportation projects to help the province recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, after a round of relief payments to all but the highest-earning B.C. families to begin rolling out by the end of the year.

“Already we can see signs of better days ahead, as science and research lead the way with new treatments and vaccines,” Lt. Gov. Janet Austin said Dec. 7, delivering the speech from the throne to open a brief session of the B.C. legislature. “Preparations are underway for when a vaccine is available. The focus will be distributing it to British Columbians quickly and safely, beginning with those most at risk.”

The speech listed the B.C. government’s measures to date since the pandemic took hold in B.C. early in 2020, including the expansion of senior home staff and infection control measures through the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

“Your government will ramp up investments in transportation infrastructure, which will stimulate growth during the recovery period and benefit British Columbians through shorter commute times and greener transportation,” said the speech, written by the premier’s office to set out priorities for 2021. “Expanding child care and early learning is another strong economic development policy. By creating jobs and allowing more parents to go to work, it counts as strategic economic infrastructure as much as roads and highways.”

RELATED: New speaker takes charge as B.C. legislature resumes

RELATED: Another $1.5 billion in COVID-19 payments ‘prudent’

The speech confirms that the NDP majority government will put an estimated $1.5 billion in new borrowing to a vote to pay across-the-board relief of $1,000 for families earning up to $125,000 and $500 to individuals who make up to $62,000, with a “sliding scale” of payments up to $170,000 per family or $87,000 individual income.

A throne speech statement from Horgan adjusted the top family income for the benefit from $175,000 in the NDP’s fall election platform to $170,000, and promised further business aid.

“Government will also take significant steps to assist small- and medium-sized businesses in weathering the economic storm caused by COVID-19,” the statement said. “New tax maeasures will reward businesses for hiring, and help them grow and become more productive by making it easier for them to invest in equipment and machinery.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Nelly and Jens Heyduck hold samples of their Ahoy Bags made from discarded sails. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet’s Ahoy Bags up for two Small Business BC Awards

German-Canadian wife and husband team transform old sails into one-of-a-kind beach bags

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht man by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht on Feb. 27. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘Police have killed more TFN members than COVID has,’ First Nation demands transparency in Tofino RCMP shooting investigation

Julian Jones, a 28 year-old Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation man was shot and killed by police on Feb. 27.

Blue Crush Concierge co-owners Ashley Wells and Erika Greenland, pictured here following COVID-19 social distancing alongside their dogs Hank and Lady Bird, are up for two SBBC awards. (Photo courtesy of Erika Greenland)
Three Tofino companies up for Small Business BC Awards

Tofino Kombucha, Blue Crush Concierge and Surf Sister all received nomination honours.

Fish and Loaves Humane Society volunteers Bobby Burns, left, and John Enns, right, receive Volunteer Recognition Awards from acting mayor Duncan McMaster during the free food hand out at the Tofino Legion on Feb.24. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino Fish and Loaves volunteers Enns and Burns cheered for community service

“He’s a very conscientious and hard-working, giving volunteer.”

Ucluelet CAO Mark Boysen has resigned his position and is heading south-Island. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet CAO Mark Boysen resigns

Mayor Mayco Noel says he and his council “completely caught off guard”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read