Fall sitting starts for B.C. legislature with housing a key focus

Click to play video: 'B.C. Conservative leader takes swipe at SOGI education program'
B.C. Conservative leader takes swipe at SOGI education program
The fall sitting of the B.C. legislature has started, with four official parties now in the chamber. The session began with a fiery exchange after B.C.Conservative Party leader John Rustad took a swipe at the SOGI program in the province's schools. Richard Zussman reports and Keith Baldrey has more on why the opposition held a standing ovation for the premier – Oct 3, 2023

British Columbia politicians are back in the legislature for the fall session, and the seating arrangement looks a little different.

The Conservative Party of B.C. now has official party status, complete with a nearly $400,000 annual budget, after former BC United MLA Bruce Banman crossed the floor last month to join John Rustad.

Click to play video: 'Focus BC: Return of the fall legislative session'
Focus BC: Return of the fall legislative session

The Office of the Clerk has said it appears to be the first time four parties will be represented in B.C.’s legislature with “official status,” but not the only time four parties have had MLAs in the legislature.

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Housing will be a key focus this session, with government house leader and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon promising new legislation to address permitting and zoning challenges, strengthen enforcement of short-term rentals and deliver more small-scale, multi-unit housing.

Premier David Eby said last month that his New Democrat government would also bring in new rules this fall allowing secondary and basement suites in every community in the province.

The government says other legislation on the way will improve emergency management, support victims of crime and update international credentialing.

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