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Chilliwack MLA wants next B.C. Liberal leader to create mountain monument

Laurie Throness makes 65 suggestions to whoever wants to replace Christy Clark
MLA Laurie Throness has released a 65-point list he’d like potential Liberal Party leadership candidates to consider. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)

MLA Laurie Throness isn’t running to replace Christy Clark, but he does have a few thoughts for whoever does.

On Tuesday, the Chilliwack-Hope representative published a 65-point list of “ideals” he would like to be considered by potential leaders of the BC Liberal Party.

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In his release, sent out through his private email address and posted to his social media accounts, Throness suggested he would endorse those who agree with his vision for the Liberals.

His ideas include excluding the right to die from palliative care, teaching children “to accept and cherish their body shape and biological characteristics just as they are,” and increasing support for independent schools “to provide … greater competition for our public system.”

Some proposals are no surprise, such as a completed highway between Harrison and Pemberton, while others are less conventional, such as “shape a mountain to create a globally-significant sculpture funded by the sale of stone removed, and use some of it to build public structures across B.C. that will last for 500 years.”

Throness said these 65 points are in addition to the party platform, and he feels a new leader “needs the space to refashion the policy agenda.”

“I’m not running for premier myself,” Throness said, “but I do want to have an impact on the leadership and the direction of the party.

”Beside the overall qualifications of good character, experience, intelligence, leadership style and other intangibles, I’m concerned about the party’s future policy direction, first in terms of the good of all British Columbians, and second, in terms of party unity.”

The Liberals will vote for a new leader Feb. 1-3.

65 policy ideas

Public Sector

1. Continue to balance the provincial budget, and pay down taxpayer-supported debt.

2. Complete the Site C dam.

3. Build a bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel.

4. Support and see the completion of the twinning of the TransMountain pipeline.

5. Stand up to public sector unions in order to control the cost of government.

6. Pursue other resource development opportunities in areas such as mining and agriculture.

7. Oppose proportional representation and MLAs designated by backroom Party officials, and support stable government with accountable, local MLAs.


1. Commission an expert study, to report within six months, on a phased reduction/abolition of the corporate tax, replacing that revenue with increased economic and job growth.

2. Commission an expert study, to report within six months, on ways to increase investment and productivity in BC’s economy, such as incentives to import equipment to automate production and alleviate future labour shortages.

3. Revisit the 2012 and 2016 reports on Business Tax Competitiveness, and take action in particular to address the administrative flaws of the PST.

4. Affirm the rule of law with regard to environmental assessment and review the assessment process to ensure both environmental protection and economic development.

5. Continue to pursue the promise of LNG by restructuring the business to compete directly with the U.S.

6. 93% of BC is crown land. Sell 1% of BC’s crown land (878,604 hectares) to British Columbians using a public process that ensures broadest-possible ownership and economic development. Use the proceeds to pay down provincial debt.

7. Find more industrial land in the Lower Mainland by negotiating arrangements with willing Indigenous peoples, and commit to transportation networks to access it.

8. Freeze the carbon tax for the foreseeable future, and preserve existing exceptions.

Crime and addictions

1. Hire at least one hundred new police officers to attack gangs and drug traffickers.

2. Legislate the goal of the Ministry of Health, and all provincial health authorities, to ‘cure addictions to drugs and alcohol’ rather than ‘helping addicts live positive lives.’

3. While continuing to save lives, emphasize and fund detox and long-term residential treatment programs (6-12 months, repeatable) leading to freedom from drugs/alcohol, rather than the long-term maintenance of habits at grave threat to human life and enormous public expense. Set a goal to treat 5,000 people at any one time.

4. Empower NGOs presently offering long-term treatment for addiction under the Assisted Living Act by providing more daily funding, creating a professional association to set standards, and following up with rigorous inspections to push out bad actors.

5. Under the Mental Health Act, commit prolific offenders addicted to drugs or alcohol to approved long-term recovery-based residential drug/alcohol treatment programs, where naltrexone can be administered daily to block cravings. Do the same for prolific offenders already in provincial custodial facilities.

Health care

1. Task a commission to examine the best health care systems in the world and make recommendations to emulate the best of the best - with everything on the table.

2. Pursue opportunities to contract out more health services to private entities at public expense, while increasing regulatory oversight and reporting requirements for them.

3. To reduce wait lists, develop regional centers of excellence that concentrate on specific procedures, like the Shouldice Hospital in Ontario, which only performs hernia operations.

4. Enact a Patient Guarantee through a website showing the availability of operating rooms. Allow doctors to book their patients for surgery anywhere in BC, help where needed with travel and accommodation costs, and reconcile accounts between health authorities annually.

5. Upon the allocation of a publicly-funded bed in a seniors residence, allow the senior to choose the institution, thus giving all institutions the incentive to compete for the senior’s choice through upgrades to living spaces and services.

6. To alleviate physician shortages, announce with several years’ prior notice that future billing numbers will be given only to doctors who wish to work full-time (in 2015/16, a third of 11,000 doctors’ MSP billings were less than half the average billing of $260K).

7. Keep MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) out of palliative care, as per World Health Organization policy.


1. BC’s climate is changing. We can’t stop that, so emphasize adaptation to climate change and pollution reduction in BC over attempts to change global climate.

2. Manage recreational motorized traffic in our back country more aggressively in order to limit environmental damage and minimize noise and disturbance for local residents.

3. Create a program to help volunteer groups who wish to clean up garbage on crown land.

4. Ensure the long-term viability of wildlife in BC by increasing conservation efforts, and the number of conservation officers to reduce poaching.

5. Focus on flood control by acting on Fraser Basin Council’s Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy, ensuring that the Eastern Fraser Valley will not take the brunt of a future flood.

6. To help adapt to climate change, study desalination technologies using renewable energy sources, dispersing the brine over wide ocean areas.


1. While continuing to fully fund K-12 education, increase support for independent schools to provide more choice for parents, and greater competition for our public system.

2. Build modular K-12 schools with units that can be dismantled and moved to respond more quickly to demographic change, and multistory schools needing less land.

3. Require the creation of co-op education programs in every BC college and university, so that students can work their way through school without student debt.


1. Fund the continuum of emergency aid, shelter beds, residential addictions treatment, and affordable housing.

2. Take a province-wide approach to homelessness, including re-institutionalization of homeless with severe mental health conditions, and the creation of a province-wide registry for homeless people in order to locate and offer services and housing to them while not duplicating efforts between cities and regions. Make this information available to police.

Housing affordability

1. Provide more affordable housing in lower-cost areas of BC rather than in the GVRD, to maximize the number of low-income people who can receive assistance.

Indigenous Peoples

1. Empower Indigenous peoples to represent themselves in treaty negotiations, rather than incurring millions in legal costs that are later deducted from their treaty settlement, and streamline those processes to enable quicker resolution.

2. Offer incentives for Indigenous youth on reserve to engage in urban communities while retaining their identity, thus enabling them to receive more education, enter the workforce and enjoy all the benefits of BC’s economy.


1. Enact provincial legislation to protect home buyers, and to empower municipalities to protect rural communities, landlords, and urban neighbourhoods from problems associated with marijuana grow-ops.

2. Keep our supply-management system strong, while seeking out export opportunities to non-WTO/GATT countries.

3. Provide support for farmers who must vacate or manage land due to species at risk.

4. Farming is always more efficient and productive than hunting. Apply this model to the logging industry, providing incentives to adopt a model of farming trees instead of hunting for them.

Social issues

1. Ensure that financial options exist for parents who prefer private childcare arrangements over licensed childcare.

2. Commission an expert group to create a policy that would counteract societal aging by providing stable two-parent families with the assistance they need to have the number of children they would like.

3. Continue the policy of a free vote, on prior notice, for caucus members on any issue other than a confidence motion.

4. Teach children to accept and cherish their body shape and biological characteristics just as they are, no matter their gender expression.

5. Commit to pluralism and tolerance in BC, including the human rights, tolerance and full participation in society of people of good conscience who may disagree with changing sexual mores and concepts of gender.


1. Provide more managed recreational camping sites, and full service sites for large RVs, to attract more tourists to BC.

2. Shape a mountain to create a globally-significant sculpture funded by the sale of stone removed, and use some of it to build public structures across BC that will last for 500 years.

Transition to low-carbon economy

1. Stop subsidizing electric cars directly, but continue to fund the infrastructure needed to recharge them, thus providing the market with the incentive to develop the technology necessary to compete with fossil fuels.

2. Using BC technology, build a CNG fast-fill compressor network across BC with government support, thus providing further incentive for CNG conversion, using our abundant natural gas resources.

3. Negotiate standing offers with suppliers of low-cost CNG passenger vehicle conversions, and have BC Lotteries run a weekly CNG conversion lottery for them.


1. Widen the TransCanada highway to six lanes as far as Whatcom Road near Abbotsford, preserving space in between for future rapid transit.

2. Build the ‘Five Nations’ or ‘Sasquatch’ highway from Pemberton to Deroche, on the west side of Harrison Lake

3. Employ more noise reduction technology along transportation corridors.

4. Run competitions to introduce greater artistic design into transportation structures such as overpasses.

Other miscellaneous

1. Provide more help for those who want to represent themselves in court, rather than spending ever-increasing amounts on legal aid. Educate judges to become more helpful in this regard.

2. Limit the number of independent offices created by government, instead giving MLAs and public servants more responsibility, and requiring more transparency in return.

3. Ensure that all art purchased at public expense ‘demonstrates unusual skill’, as judged by a broad-based committee of distinguished artists.

4. Beautify our towns and cities, and increase public safety, by funding an infrastructure program to place overhead wires underground.

5. Enhance government transparency by creating more ‘default public disclosure’ policies with respect to government documents.

6. Limit the amount spent on government advertising in an election year to the average, by month, of the previous four years.


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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