NDP warns of summer subterfuge with B.C. legislature resuming

Horgan says "bogus" budget being pushed through "while people are at the beach".

NDP house leader John Horgan

VICTORIA – The B.C. legislature resumes with a brief throne speech on Wednesday and an updated budget Thursday that will be the focus of opposition critics in a month-long summer session.

NDP house leader John Horgan said the government’s plan is to push a “bogus” budget through “while people are at the beach,” and then continue the B.C. Liberal tradition of skipping scheduled fall sessions in October and November.

Horgan said the government’s target to limit health care spending growth to less than one per cent hasn’t been achieved since former premier Bill Bennett’s restraint program in the early 1980s.

“At some point the reality has to hit the road, and this is why, I believe, they have jammed us in here in July, rather than having a more thoughtful session starting in September, when their [spending authority] runs out,” Horgan said.

Finance Minister and B.C. Liberal house leader Mike de Jong hasn’t ruled out a fall sitting of the legislature. He promised “no surprises” during the rare summer sitting, which the government intends to wrap up by July 25.

De Jong said he will update resource revenues that have changed since the current budget was introduced in February, and independent economic forecasts that have downgraded projections for B.C. economic growth since then. A smaller surplus will be forecast as a result.

After a series of deficits since 2009, the February budget projected a surplus of $197 million for the fiscal year ending in March 2014.

That is to be reached with an increase in the corporate income tax rate from 10 to 11 per cent, a temporary 2.1 per cent increase in personal income tax above $150,000 a year, and a $2 per carton increase in tobacco taxes effective in October.

The government plans no new legislation in the summer session, or reintroduction of provisions for an election for B.C. senators and other bills that were left unpassed when the legislature adjourned for the May election.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Highway 1 closed east of Revelstoke, set to reopen at 7:30 p.m.

Highway 1 is closed east of Revelstoke near the west entrance to… Continue reading

Golden Rockets win one on the road

The Golden Rockets faced off against the Creston Valley Thundercats on the… Continue reading

Golden’s cannabis zoning public hearing closes without fuss

The Town of Golden hosted a public hearing to introduce cannabis retail… Continue reading

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Golden Sound Fest takes hiatus until 2020, unless funds can be raised

After a huge year for Golden Sound Festival, the festival coordinators have… Continue reading

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Most Read