Housing affordability, transit, key issues in Victoria for new NDP government

There will be no summer vacation for Carole James and the NDP this year, as they’re getting set to form the province’s new government – the first change of political leadership in 16 years.

“It was an incredibly exciting day, a lot of anticipation and I think when we finally got the news that the lieutenant governor asked John [Horgan] to form government, I think there was both excitement and some responsibility – the weight of responsibility of the task that we have ahead of us,” said James, NDP MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill.

Last Thursday, Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon asked NDP leader John Horgan to form the province’s government, ending 16 years of B.C. Liberal rule. The decision came after the B.C. NDP and Greens defeated the Liberal government and leader Christy Clark in a vote of non-confidence in the B.C. legislature.

Now the real work begins for the NDP. The next steps are building a new government and choosing a new cabinet.

Horgan estimates it could take the rest of the summer to go through government transition documents, meet with deputy ministers and review Crown corporations such as BC Hydro and ICBC. The legislature may not be called for delivery of a new throne speech until after Labour Day, he said.

As for James, she’s happy to serve wherever Horgan chooses. Most recently she served as Opposition spokesperson for finance, and she previously was critic for Children and Family Development. James is also a former leader of the party, having served in that role from 2003 to 2010, when she was replaced by Adrian Dix.

Locally, James has a list of issues she wants to take aim at in government, with one of the more pressing ones being the lack of affordable rental housing in the city. She wants to see more units built, with a tightening up of requirements within the Residential Tenancy Act to protect tenants. The issue of “renovictions” – where landlords evict tenants temporarily or permanently to renovate or construct a new building, then rent out suites at a higher price – has been a problem in neighbourhoods such as Fairfield in recent months.

James also hopes to see an increase to income assistance, including a $100 monthly increase to people with disabilities, plus a $200 hike in their earnings exemption. She’ll also be working on finding opportunities to expand transit.

“I’m looking forward to the hard work ahead,” she said, adding it will be important to move quickly on the party’s agreement with the Greens, including the move to begin consultation on electoral reform and coming up with a related referendum question in a year.

“We’re (NDP and Greens) all close, we’re all Islanders, so we have the opportunity to build those relationships and focus on that agreement.”

– with files from Tom Fletcher,

Ashley Wadhwani


Just Posted

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Colwood Elementary gets new inclusive and accessible playground equipment

Parks and playgrounds on the West Shore have equipment for everyone

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read