Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 

 

Editorial

Throne Speech in a Nutshell

Schools, infrastructure, housing, drug treatment
Staff/Website photos

 

 

olly Fox and W.P. Kinsella were  mentioned in the Speech from the Throne Tuesday as being among those who've passed on and made invaluable contributions to the province.

 

According to the Liberals, BC has the lowest taxes for middle-class families and they'll be making "record investments while not raising taxes." They boast of the best fiscal record with a triple-A credit rating with four consecutive balanced budgets. After all the millions and millions of  dollars the Liberals have thrown around BC over the last year in the run up to the general elections, there is still approximately a $2 billion surplus—all of which came from taxpayers and proof positive that British Columbians have way overpaid taxes.

To their benefit, the Liberals say they've added 500 new addiction beds and more than 7,300 community mental health beds with plans to create more than 20 overdose prevention sites by March.

The Liberals say that they've spent $1.7 billion in seismic upgrades to 160 schools over the last two years. According to their plan, $1.7 billion will be spent over the next three years with plans to hire 1000 new teachers to deal with the approximately 10,000 new students in BC over the last two years.

Their game plan is to invest $10 billion for new hospitals, highways and roads, and other projects such as the Surrey LRT, Broadway subway and the George Massey Tunnel replacement project.

Also cited in the speech was the Site C dam will provide "clean and affordable power" and how the project has created approximately 1,900 (short-term) jobs and 33,000 person-years of employment over the life of the project.

There was also mention of a new office of "Crime Reduction and Gang Research" despite a decline in gang-related murders they'd like to see more "gangsters" behind bars.

The Liberals also say that they've created 5,000 units of affordable housing, but there is no mention of people living on welfare who are paying high rents without any rent controls, and the government has allowed landowners a 2% annual increase that amounts to approximately $20/mo. all while welfare rates remain static. What this means is that landlords are sneakily on a welfare system of their own while tenants and the government are paying off their mortgages through exorbitant rental rates.

In five years, the government developed a B.C. tech strategy, including a $100 million fund so that teachers can introduce sixth grade students to the basics of coding. However, in grade six, students should be learning cursive writing, not typing skills on keyboards.

Nowhere in the Throne Speech was the fact that British Columbians pay the most for their food than any other province. Americans who visit say "I don't know how people can afford to eat here." For example, a jar of peanut butter is $8.00 in a corner store. This is one of the reasons that 80,000 kids go hungry despite the fact that the government says they've been lifted out of poverty.

They also say that B.C. supplies half of Canada's softwood lumber exports to the US, and a value-added pulp and paper industry. But nowhere in the speech was there any plan to replace trees which are natural carbon sink. There was no mention of plans to replant those taken and deal with the hundreds of square miles of dead trees due to beetle kill. Instead they are relying on the private sector to fill in the gaps.

They take pride in announcing a plan to rejuvenate the mining industry in BC. This means that it can all be shipped out raw, therefore short-changing British Columbians on jobs in that sector.

The Liberal government plans for a 43 per cent increase in seafood revenues. This is why you  pay $30 for 4 small slices of farmed salmon and nowhere in the speech is word of actually reducing salmon farms.

The government wants to start selling liquor in grocery stores. Another way to create and maintain alcoholism and destroying families by making it more available.

The Liberals have signed-off already on a deal with Kinder Morgan over their pipeline by hooking the company for only $1 billion over the next two decades. There is no mention of what happens after that. They say they'll invest "every penny of that in projects brought forward by community groups throughout our province to protect and enhance our environment."

"We must stand strong on our principles of open and fair trade for all British Columbians and especially the 60,000 workers in our forestry sector."

"Believe in our citizens, not dogmas, doctrines or ideologies. Create jobs so that British Columbians can build a future. And protect this magnificent place we call home for future generations."

Although government representatives for Standing Committees haven't been chosen yet, their focus is listed below:

1. Aboriginal Affairs
2. Education
3. Finance and Government Services
4. Health
5. Public Accounts
6. Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills
7. Crown Corporations
8. Children and Youth

* Please note that these comments are based on a Legislature draft only.

 

 

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