Winter weather caused the traditional 15-gun salute and military inspection to be cancelled before B.C. Lieut. Gov. Janet Austin read the NDP government’s speech from the throne, Feb. 12, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. government aims to stop concert ticket, payday loan gouging

Throne speech promises cellphone bill relief, action on money laundering

B.C. Premier John Horgan set the agenda for his government’s spring session Tuesday with a throne speech packed with promises to hold down ferry and electricity costs, while promising legislation to regulate event ticket sales and payday lenders.

Canada’s high cellphone bills are another priority for the province, according to the speech read in the B.C. legislature by Lt. Gov. Janet Austin. But don’t expect relief right away; changes this year include improving “billing transparency” and doing another of the NDP government’s familiar consultation rounds, while federal law controls much of the wireless industry.

“Your government will give consumers the tools they need to get the least expensive possible service and encourage the federal government to deliver more affordable cellphone options for people,” the speech says.

New rules are on the way for live event ticket sellers, including a ban on mass ticket-buying software. Payday lenders will see a new cap on the fees they can charge.

The latest review of money laundering and its effect on real estate is to be completed, with recommendations the speech says “will provide a basis for immediate action to close loopholes and defend against criminal activity.”

Other goals for 2019 include establishing new Class A provincial parks and creating a Chinese-Canadian museum, along with an upgrade of the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. Land purchased on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, the Okanagan and Kootenays is to be given the province’s highest park protection.

RELATED: Opposition pans Horgan’s throne speech pledges

RELATED: B.C. minister fears money laundering in the billions

A freeze on B.C. Ferries fare increases for major routes and discounts on minor and northern routes are to continue for a second year.

The speech promises to carry on with rental market changes recommended late last year by an MLA task force. This could include legislation to prevent strata councils from banning rentals. Action is also promised to speed up new rental housing projects and deliver “more efficient and effective project approvals.”

In industrial development, the speech promises legislative action to advance the LNG Canada project. Before that massive project can begin operation, a dispute with dissident hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northwest B.C. on the key natural gas pipeline route has to be resolved, and the province must remove the liquefied natural gas income tax put in place by the previous B.C. Liberal government.

Mining is also promised help, including “more support for innovation in mining and mineral exploration, and promoting Indigenous partnerships.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Royal Roads University to host a Black History Month panel

Four speakers will discuss being of African heritage in B.C.

VIDEO: Friday night fire outside Saanich Staples

Witness says two employees helped put out blaze

Victoria non-profit empowers women escaping abusive homes with a fresh start

Organization’s gift certificate program helped around 400 women last year

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

Volunteers begin work on memorial garden for former Metchosin counsellor

Garden a fitting tribute to Moralea Milne, a champion of Garry oak ecosystems

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Most Read