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B.C. throne speech 2017: 14 things the NDP say they’ll do in government

NDP set to table first throne speech in 16 years
What can we expect from the BC NDP's first throne speech? Political columnist Vaughn Palmer has a preview.

B.C.’s NDP government delivered its first throne speech in 16 years on Friday.

The speech reiterated many of the promises the party made during the election campaign, but a few pledges were absent.

Coverage of the BC NDP on Globalnews.ca:

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1) Election finance reform

NDP Leader John Horgan waves during a campaign stop in Penticton, B.C., on Saturday May 6, 2017.
NDP Leader John Horgan waves during a campaign stop in Penticton, B.C., on Saturday May 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The BC NDP reiterated a pledge to eliminate corporate and union donations in provincial elections. It also pledged to limit individual donations so that only B.C. residents can give money.

2) Fixed elections

NDP Leader John Horgan greets supporters before speaking during a campaign rally in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday April 23, 2017. A provincial election will be held on May 9.
NDP Leader John Horgan greets supporters before speaking during a campaign rally in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday April 23, 2017. A provincial election will be held on May 9. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The BC NDP has also pledged to fix provincial election dates starting in the fall of 2021, and then hold them every four years.

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3) Electoral referendum

B.C. political leaders Christy Clark, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan partake in an election debate moderated by Jennifer Burke.
B.C. political leaders Christy Clark, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan partake in an election debate moderated by Jennifer Burke. Global News

The government plans to hold a provincial referendum on proportional representation by November 2018.

4) Lobbying reform

An exterior view of the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria on August 26, 2011.
An exterior view of the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria on August 26, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The NDP government also wants to make it so that former lobbyists can’t benefit from public service. In the NDP’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with the BC Greens, the parties pledged to introduce a multi-year prohibition on lobbying for ex-senior public office holders.

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5) Renting

Vancouver rental market vacancy real estate
Rental sign in Vancouver. Global News

The NDP have pledged to close fixed-term lease loopholes in an effort to stop “unfair rent increases.” They have also pledged to increase Residential Tenancy Branch supports for both renters and landlords. There was no mention of a $400 renters rebate that was mentioned during the provincial election.

6) Child care

Daycare in B.C.
Daycare in B.C. Global News

The government has pledged more child care spaces, to train more early childhood educators (ECEs), though there were no details on a timeline for this. There was no mention, however, of the party’s $10 a day child care plan. It did, however, mention a universal child care program.

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7) Housing

A sold sign is pictured outside a home in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.
A sold sign is pictured outside a home in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Jonathan Hayward/CP

The NDP has promised a “comprehensive housing strategy” that would increase supply and examine ways to curb speculation. Details on this strategy are still to come.

8) Poverty

A woman walks past a man sleeping on the street in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
A woman walks past a man sleeping on the street in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Darryl Dyck/CP

The government has promised a legislated poverty reduction plan, but details on this have yet to be revealed.

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9) Education

A crosswalk outside Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014.
A crosswalk outside Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. CP

The NDP government’s first budget will take the step toward restoring educational funding. The government has already announced that it is eliminating tuition fees for adult basic education and ESL, and that it is ending post-secondary tuition for children in government care.

10) Wages

The vast majority of Canadians would feel the pinch of having to pay an extra $130 a month in interest payments on their debt.
The vast majority of Canadians would feel the pinch of having to pay an extra $130 a month in interest payments on their debt. CP Images

The throne speech promised a “fair wages commission” that would be established with the goal of delivering a minimum wage of $15 per hour.

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11) Transit for people with disabilities

Vancouver Skytrain Translink
A majority of those surveyed said they preferred SkyTrain fares based on distance or the number of stops or stations passed to the current system where prices are determined by zone boundaries. Global News

The NDP government has pledged an annual bus pass for commuters with disabilities that will be available again in January 2018.

12) ICBC and BC Hydro

Damaged vehicles are seen at the ICBC Lower Mainland Salvage Yard, in New Westminster, B.C., on Friday August 11, 2017.
Damaged vehicles are seen at the ICBC Lower Mainland Salvage Yard, in New Westminster, B.C., on Friday August 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The NDP has pledged to “fix” issues at ICBC and BC Hydro. This comes amid news that the insurance provider is seeking a 6.4-per-cent increase for basic auto insurance from the B.C. Utilities Commission. The speech did not mention a previous NDP promise to freeze BC Hydro rates that was made during the election.

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13) Health care

St. Paul's Hospital Vancouver Emergency
St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver. Global News

The NDP government has promised to reduce and then eliminate Medical Services Plan premiums. No word on a timeline for when this will happen.

14) Post-secondary debt

The University of British Columbia.
The University of British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The government will consider ways to reduce post-secondary debt for students. No details were available on how this will be achieved.

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