BC Liberals' throne speech ‘thin’ on poverty, says labour leader
The B.C. legislature opened for the spring session Tuesday with the Speech from the Throne but opponents said the agenda was short on substance. (PHOTO BC GOVERNMENT)
The British Columbia Jobs Plan was the featured sub-plot in the speech from the throne Tuesday, as an under-the-weather Lieutenant Governor battled a nasty cough while delivering the government’s agenda.
Judith Guichon’s speech was heavy on the plan, which has come under fire from BC Liberal opponents who argue the initiative is failing.
But the speech also touched on investments in skills training and hyped the province’s liquefied natural gas plans as the economic saviour, promising 100,000 jobs.
The B.C. Federation of Labour’s Jim Sinclair said the jury is still out on if Victoria will deliver on its promises of jobs training funding, but wasn’t as enthusiastic about the rest of the agenda.
“It was thin on details,” he said. “There was very little in that speech to deal with child poverty or make sure people have decent lives here.”
Despite the LNG and job training claims, last month Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said Temporary Foreign Workers would be brought in to fill immediate positions in the LNG field, which wasn’t mentioned in the speech.
Sinclair said such workers have “no rights” and should be brought in as immigrants if they are truly needed.
Iain Black, CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former BC Liberal MLA, supports the LNG plans.
“We like the fact that they’re repeating the fiscal responsibility mantra,” said Black. “There’s work to be done in terms of educating people throughout the province and with various different occupations.”
The speech also touched on transportation infrastructure plans for the province, and Black said the VBT wants to learn more about it.
Black said he wasn’t surprised the speech failed to mention the controversial transit referendum to be held by Metro Vancouver cities at the request of the province.
He said most of what there was to be said about the referendum regarding how to raise money for transit projects has already been said.