VICTORIA, B.C. — Investments in housing and childcare got the biggest mentions in Tuesday’s speech from the throne at the BC Legislature.
The throne speech, delivered by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, announced what the government says is the start of the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history. The government also said it will introduce significant new measures to address the effect of speculation on real estate prices and to crack down on tax fraud and money laundering in B.C.’s real estate market.
“Making life more affordable for people is at the heart of this throne speech, and will be front and centre in next week’s budget,” said Premier John Horgan. “British Columbians have made their priorities clear. People are frustrated after years of rising living costs, dwindling services and neglect by the previous government. Our government will take concrete action to give people relief from excessive fees and rising costs to help make life better and make sure people have the opportunities they need to succeed. Access to affordable, safe and secure housing is the top concern for people in B.C. To tackle the housing crisis head-on, government will make the largest investment in housing in B.C. history and take swift and broad-ranging actions to reign in skyrocketing house prices.”
The New Democrats also focused on investing in childcare, one of the party’s major campaign promises curing last Spring’s election. The Throne Speech also spoke about the need for B.C. to build a strong economy, with good jobs, attracting investment, and for the province to become a leader in the low-carbon economy of the future.
BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, who signed a confidence and supply agreement with the NDP to prop up their minority government, said he was encouraged to see many of the two parties’ shared values in the speech. Though, he said he was cautiously optimistic about the exact details of how the government will act on its pledges. Late last month, Weaver tweeted that he would vote to bring down the government if the NDP tried to resurrect the BC Liberals’ plan to develop an LNG industry.
“The focus on housing and child care and early childhood education represent policies that we have heard are top priorities for British Columbians across the province,” said Weaver. “However, we await details in next week’s budget as to how these values will be implemented in government policy. British Columbians are facing an affordability crisis and they deserve to see a strong vision and bold action from this government. While I appreciate the government reiterating its commitment to take steps to meet our climate target, we must get beyond rhetoric. Our caucus’ role is to ensure that the days of politicians vowing to take action on climate and then doing nothing must end. Actions, not words, are what are required to meet our responsibility to the next generation. I look forward to working with Minister Heyman to enact a climate action strategy to meet our targets so that we can become leaders in climate action once again.”