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

VIDEO: Humpback whale plays with a log near Comox Harbour

On Dec. 2, Lifeforce Ocean Friends found a four-year-old humpback named “Lorax”… Continue reading

Seasonal favourite comes to the Sid Williams Theatre

Many of us can remember a favourite Christmas gift - what is… Continue reading

Unity Comox Valley hosts serenity service in Comox Thursday

Do you have mixed feelings about the holidays? Unity offers a special… Continue reading

UPDATE: RCMP involved in crash south of Courtenay Saturday night

An RCMP member was involved in a three-vehicle collision on Highway 19… Continue reading

Mental health advocate’s journey with dissociative identity disorder sparks conversation

Coast Mental Health Courage to Come Back Awards nomination deadline Jan. 31

Ice wins home tournament

The Isfeld Ice senior boys basketball team won its annual invitational tournament… Continue reading

B.C. lumber industry trade mission still has high hopes for China

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson cut short trip after Japan, Korea stops

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Most Read