Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon delivers the 2015 throne speech at the B.C. legislature Tuesday.

Premier defends stand-pat throne speech

Opposition leader John Horgan says Christy Clark government still obsessed with red tape despite Mount Polley dam failure

VICTORIA – The B.C. government presented a cautious preview of the coming year with its speech from the throne Tuesday, predicting a rural revival through industrial growth while lowering expectations for mining and natural gas exports.

Read by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to begin the spring legislature session, the speech announced the formation of a rural advisory committee to “provide independent and impartial advice on helping rural B.C. increase opportunities, manage growth and meet its full potential in communities big and small.”

Premier Christy Clark said the government has important tasks ahead, such as starting construction on the $8 billion Site C hydroelectric dam and revamping the education system to fill an anticipated skills gap.

“We’re sticking to the plan, and we’ve been successful with that plan,” Clark told reporters. “I know it doesn’t make great headlines in the newspapers, but I don’t think we want to change so we can help you get a news story.”

The speech referred to five new mines opening since 2011, but avoided mention of northeast coal mines that have closed due to low commodity prices that also threaten the operation of metal mines in B.C.

NDP leader John Horgan questioned Clark’s intention to keep cutting “red tape,” an obsession of the B.C. Liberals since 2001.

“They cut red tape at Mount Polley,” Horgan said of gaps in inspection that predated the collapse of the mine’s tailings dam last summer.

As the government continues to await investment decisions for liquefied natural gas facilities, the speech notes that LNG “could create 100,000 jobs and the revenues to eliminate our debt,” adding that exports are needed to maintain a gas industry that already employs 13,000 people.

Much of the speech touts earlier achievements, including the carbon tax on fuels and a settlement with B.C. public school teachers after a bitter strike last year.

The government confirmed it is about to table a third straight balanced budget on Feb. 17, and hinted at new spending aimed at expanding the economy.

The government also plans to launch a new “medal of good citizenship” to recognize those who donate their time and money to improve their communities.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read